2 New YouTube Videos to Help Small Business

On September 13, I was invited to speak to the Entrepreneurial class of Professor Danny Warshay at Brown University. Professor Warshay taped the session, and I have edited out two segments to make my YouTube debut on offering practical tips to Small Business that are within the ability of all entrepreneurs. Here is the description […] Read more »

15 Attitude Attributes for Entrepreneurial Success

Knowledge, skill, talent, and to some extent, resources are important success components for Small Businesses. However, many competitors have equal or more of these components than you. The key to overcome competition and attain absolute success is mental, which is reflected in one’s attitude and is totally controlled by the individual and requires no cash. This holds true in most human endeavors besides business like sports, the arts, politics, etc. How many times have we seen the underdog team or player win over the more talented opponent? The difference is attitude. Read more »

MISTAKES CAN BE A POSITIVE

Everyone makes mistakes at one time or other. Some more than others. The question is how does one deal with their mistakes? Many get depressed, defensive, and overly cautious. A better response is to use every mistake as a learning experience. Delve into the why’s it was made and the how’s to avoid them again, all the while keeping your head up and maintaining your energy level. Read more »

WHEN to SAY NO to a CUSTOMER

They're your business's lifeblood, but that doesn't mean you have to be a push over. All customers, especially buyers in business-to-business transactions, have a responsibility to their pocketbook, which you, as the provider of services or goods, need to understand. The customer's goal is to get the best deal they can. In pursuing their agenda, customers may cajole push or even demand the best deal possible. Sellers shouldn't take this personally. The customer is only doing his job. But, as important as it is to satisfy your customers, there are times when the right thing to do is to say no. Read more »

WHEN HIRING A CONSULTANT, BEWARE OF . . . .

At some point in the growth or even start-up of your company, you may want to hire a consultant to educate or guide you. You may rightly want the consultant for their expertise in myriad disciplines like advertising, management, a specific industry, social media, branding, etc. Read more »

ASKING FOR A RAISE?

A great number of people would rather visit their dentist than ask their boss for a raise that they believe they deserve and is overdue. I believe that everyone in this situation should summon up their courage and ask for it. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Here are some thoughts that may help you do so successfully. Read more »

INTUITION—USE IN DECISION MAKING?

One of the big questions about decision making is the intuition versus science balance: how much should you go with your gut and how much should you depend on information that has been gathered systematically? My answer is that intuition should be used as often as possible. I’m well aware that there are many people who feel that “your gut” is the same thing as “your emotions” and therefore should not to be trusted. But it seems to me that if you’re working in a realm you’ve very familiar with, your gut is based on the sum total of your past experiences. Read more »

Managing Your Numbers Is Essential for Growth

It takes more than quarterly meetings with your accountant to know what is going on. Do you want to do everything you possibly can to ensure the survival and growth of your company? Of course you do. Well, one of the most essential skills that you can bring to your company is understanding, tracking, and using certain numbers. This numeracy--thinking in numbers--is a vital, vital skill. Read more »

Energy – An Important Entrepreneurial Attribute

One thing I’ve noticed, in my conversations with entrepreneurs over the years, is the incredibly high energy levels most of them possess. It would be interesting to find out whether they’ve always been that way, or whether they started working at higher energy levels as the amount of fun and reward in their lives began to increase after they started their own business. I’m convinced that, within reason, physical activity generates more energy than it consumes. Read more »

ACCEPT CRITICISM GRACIOUSLY

I believe that a strong attribute of a successful entrepreneur is to accept criticism and to do it graciously so that the person offering it will give it again. Sounds simple enough, but a great number of people just can’t do it. They get angry, petulant, standoffish, etc., and resent the person offering it. The opposite should happen as most people offering it like you and are doing it to help you. In fact, it may be uncomfortable for them to do it. Those receiving the criticism should thank them. Read more »

BREAK-EVEN ANALYSIS – How It Helps You Judge Risk

This is a tool that is sometimes overlooked, even though it is easy to use and gives you valuable information in a number of different contexts. The break-even tells you in dollars or units what amount of sales you need to achieve in order to recoup all your fixed costs or investment. I am always amazed, when I visit MBA classrooms, at how few students take the time to make these relatively simple calculations. Are you trying to decide whether to proceed with a new product introduction? Are you trying to understand exactly where costs stop and profits start for your company? Are you trying to decide whether to buy a company? In all of these cases, the break-even analysis should be your tool of choice. Read more »

Write Your Business Plan in 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 »

HOW BUYERS DECIDE WHO TO BUY FROM

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. Here’s a sampling of some of the non-rational reasons I have observed buyers employ in their buying decisions. Read more »

THE MISSION STATEMENT–Good For Small Businesses Too

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 »

Don’t Overlook Your Suppliers

Don't overlook your suppliers--they are hidden assets and can help your business grow. 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 business owners seem to get this supplier issue backwards. They think that because they write the order, they're in the dominant position and can exploit it with unreasonable demands, including personal perks. Let's get this right--you need good and reliable suppliers. When you find them, treat them like gold. Read more »

FIGHTING BACK AGAINST CREDIT CARD FEES

I recently attended an SBDC Small Business seminar and was surprised to discover how many small businesses were financing their businesses via credit cards. I understand the difficulty of securing money for start-ups and the passion of pursuing one’s dream to have their own business move them to the desperate act of securing high multiple credit cards to get started. I don’t understand this tactic unless you have cash flow to pay off the card balances. If you don’t, you will severely damage your credit ratings. Be that as it may, if you are going this route, be aware of the high charges awaiting you if you are late in paying your bills. Read more »