Why Small Business Can Succeed in a Tough Economy

In many of my blogs and articles, I’ve emphasized that the key to starting and maintaining a successful small business is to find, sell, and satisfy customers. If you can do this, I believe there are lots of opportunities for new start-ups and growth, despite the condition of the economy. I read a story this week in the New York Times that illustrates this concept clearly. I have reproduced it in its entirety. Read more »

Pricing For Profit

One of the most important aspects of launching and growing a successful product is correct pricing, one of the major components of profits. The right price gets you an order and maximizes your chances for reorders. The wrong price—on the low side—leaves valuable profits on the table. The wrong price--on the high side-- may decrease your orders, your chances for getting reorders, and invite competition. This may not appear to be a Bootstrap strategy. It is included because a high percentage of businesses do not give enough attention to this important profit element. They too quickly determine price by their costs or by what competition or perceived competition is doing. The result is that profits are left on the table, or more succinctly, you are depriving yourself of precious cash...your life blood. Read more »

The Game of Monopoly: A World War 2 Hero

In all my years in the toy industry, I never knew about the following story and the role of Monopoly in helping Prisoners of War escape in World War 2. It is a fantastic tale and exemplifies Entrepreneurial thinking at its best. Entrepreneurship is a way of thinking, not a particular type of person. In this case there was Need: Find a way to help captured airmen escape. Knowledge: The key Knowledge factor was discovering that the International Red Cross Care Packages for POW’s could include games and pastimes. The Opportunity : To supply the POW’s with special Monopoly sets as set forth in this story which I’ve verified is true from multiple sources. Read more »

U.S. Embassies: An Out-of-the-Box Entity to Help a Small Business

The United States has an embassy in almost every country in the world. You can go to the State Department website www.state.gov for a list of all the countries and the contacts there. The Embassy is an out-of-the-box entity for a Small Business source. My personal story in utilizing a U.S. Embassy was when I had my watch company and acquired a license for an Elvis Pressley watch. I had noticed earlier that many retailers sold musical Mickey Mouse watches, and my research showed that these watches were made by Seiko, which owned a patent on the musical part of it. Seiko was a Japanese based company. Read more »

Cash Free Ideas to Beat Competition

Competition for customers in most industries is extremely intense. This is exacerbated if the customer is a large one and your product is not particularly unique or patent protected. Your customers are also in a high pitched battle with their competitors. This can be seen in your everyday life. Look at the competition in cars, retail stores, food stores, homes, computers, music, etc., for your dollar. This extends into the industrial sector and personal services. Here are some non-cash ideas to help your small business better compete. Read more »

A Perfect Gift for Small Business Entrepreneurs

Small Business blogs were my first encounter with social media. The goal was to share my hard earned knowledge with existing and wannabe Small Business managers to ease their path to entrepreneurial success. If successful, I was hoping that they would then consider buying my book, Bootstrapping 101. However, I was warned not to sell my book in the blogs. I have followed that advice for some 90 blogs. Now, I would like to blatantly try to sell you on purchasing it for yourself or someone else who fits the bill. Why? Read more »

Entrepreneurs-Time To Be Thankful

Whether you’ve had a difficult year in this current environment or have been one of the fortunate ones and prospered, it would serve you well to pause and take stock of all the things you should be thankful for. Be thankful you are in your own business and your own boss. Millions of people aspire for the same. Be thankful for all your customers without whom you would have no business.... Read more »

Writing Business Plans-Anyone Have a Pencil?

The smartest entrepreneurs plan on growing and are prepared for change. I have a few words of advice for first-time entrepreneurs, as well as seasoned business owners looking to hit a new stage of growth. My advice is this: write your business plan in pencil. I realize this may be difficult for all you non-golfers, but doing so will illustrate two important principles. Read more »

Buying Decisions-Rational?

After decades of personal selling and observing others sell, I am convinced most buying decisions are based on emotions rather than on a rational basis. The ratio of the two motivators varies with the individual buyer and the circumstances at the time, but clearly the seller must always be aware of the emotional component of the decision process. Having the best product, service, price, warranty, etc. does not ensure a sale. Read more »

The Mission Statement – For Small Business?

The mission statement is something very different from the business plan. Mission statements set the moral and human goals to which your company is supposed to aspire. In many cases, they also state higher order business goals, such as a corporate commitment to maintaining an annual compounded rate of growth of a certain percentage. Mission statements are most often associated with large corporations—an effort to get thousands of people to pull in the same direction across a far-flung corporate empire. But I think a mission statement is a good thing for a small business as well, and it’s something that should be developed at the outset. Read more »

Factors: How They Can Help Small Business

Factors finance $120 billion in receivables, yet most start-up and small businesses are not aware of them. Business schools rarely acknowledge them. However, they can alleviate your cash flow problems. They can loan you or advance you money against your receivables and in some cases against your inventory. In other words, your receivables are an […] Read more »

Customers – Find and Satisfy Them and Prosper

The No. 1 need for business success is a customer. That’s pretty obvious, so why am I telling you this? It may be obvious, but most companies seem to quickly forget this essential fact. Small and Start-up companies desperately need customers to begin their journey to profits and sustainability. Many large Fortune 1000 companies forget the customers that made them successful. Read more »

Boredom Spurs Creativity

Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert and celebrated Humorist wrote the below article this past week in the Wall Street Journal. In his inimitable style he focuses on the positive relationship of Boredom to the flourishing of Creativity as it relates to business . I thought I would share this gem with those who have not seen it. For those who have,enjoy again. Here it is in it's entirety: We've won the war on boredom! If you have a smartphone in your pocket, a game console in the living room, a Kindle in your backpack and an iPad in the kitchen, you never need to suffer a minute without stimulation. Yay! ... Read more »

A TWITTER CZAR for Elected Officials applies to members of both parties.

In a recent post on the importance of good listening, I received a comment from Jeff Hahn, who agrees with my premise on how listening can improve your business success and your personal relationships. Jeff wanted to extend the premise to our elected officials operating out of Washington, DC. The more I thought about it, the more I realized how right Jeff is. Read more »

You Don’t Know? It’s Very Okay To Admit It

Success or knowledge in one area or endeavor does not automatically ensure the same in others. I have never met anyone who knows everything about everything. No one can know it all although many think they do. I’m sure you’ve met some of them. However, when many people are asked a question and they don’t know the answer, it is difficult for them to say the simple words “I don’t know.’ Read more »

Suppliers Can Be Key to Your Growth

Suppliers can be a critical component of your growth and survival. Your approach to suppliers needs to be part of your strategic plan, since almost every company, whether product or service oriented, is dependent on suppliers. Many people seem to get this supplier issue wrong. They feel that because they write the order, they are in the dominant position and can exploit it with unreasonable demands upon their suppliers, including personal perks. Please let’s get this right! You need good and reliable suppliers. When you find them, treat them like gold. Work as hard on building a supplier relationship as with any other one. Read more »

There Is No Entrepreneur Gene

The use of the words Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurism keep growing as more and more people strive to be entrepreneurs with their job creating ability. This was not always the case. Not so long ago, Entrepreneurs were described in such unflattering terms as shiftless, unfocused, shady, money-hungry, sharks, quick-buck artists, unreliable, shoot from-the-hip operators, and so on. There are many words and titles that have different meanings to different people. This can unwittingly hinder good communications and create misunderstandings. So, let’s define Entrepreneurship so we can all be on the same page. Read more »