Outsource Your Selling

I’m writing to offer you a no charge e-book on the subject of Sale Reps. (I’m not selling anything.) In my talks over the last 30 years to Entrepreneurship MBA classes, my mentoring and my 16 start-ups, I’ve been struck by the almost total lack of Selling teaching. Also, the lack of emphasis in existing businesses on […] Read more »

Risk – Smart Entrepreneurs Avoid and Manage Them

A Google alert steered me to an article called “Beating the Odds When You Launch a New Venture” that had just come out in the May issue of Harvard Business Review, authored by Clark G. Gilbert and Matthew J. Eyring. It was one of the best pieces Iʼve ever read about entrepreneurs, their attitudes, and management of risk. They said that entrepreneurs arenʼt cowboys—theyʼre methodical managers of risk. I thought their concepts applied equally to small and big business. I contacted one of the authors, Clark Gilbert, to discuss his ideas and decided I wanted to share his thoughts with my small business friends. The result is my interview. Read more »

Licensing Can Work for Small Businesses Too

Normally the subject of licensing would not appear in a Bootstrapping context because there usually is an up-front cash payment and a guarantee associated with securing a license. These two factors can be substantial with a high visibility license, such as Mickey Mouse, NFL football, Nike, Armani, etc. However, I bring it up here for […] Read more »

Building Trust

The single most important thing you can do in starting and building a business is to get people to trust you. Trust needs to be earned and takes time, although you can lose it in a second. Telling people to trust you doesn’t cut it. In fact, when people I just meet tell me to trust them, my antennae is up to watch my back. The benefits of being trusted are enormous. People have confidence in those they trust. Read more »

Numeracy – Thinking in Numbers

Managing Your Numbers is Essential for Growth 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 […] Read more »

Mentors – Free Small Business Consulting

One of the best ways to start and grow a small business is to get expert advice. I’m not referring here to paid consultants, a luxury that most early stage and small companies can’t afford. (When you can afford the right ones, by the way, they can be an excellent investment.) Instead, I’m referring here to getting a mentor of one kind or another. Read more »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

Where Not to Look for Money — And Where You’re More Likely to Find It

Entrepreneurs can save time and angst by looking beyond banks and other mythical sources of startup capital. One of the major obstacles entrepreneurs face in starting a business is raising the money they need. It can be the most time-consuming, frustrating and disheartening factor in launching a new venture. Save yourself some energy and angst by not looking to sources that conventional wisdom would suggest as logical places to find startup capital. Instead, focus on more realistic prospects. Here is a list of places you shouldn't be looking for money, followed by where you're more likely to find it. Read more »