Small Business Wisdom Submissions

Small Business Pearls of Wisdombulletin-board-2

Need some Small Business wisdom & inspiration?

Browse below for some of our favorite Small Business Wisdom
submissions in each of the four main categories!


Financial

You’re ready to start your new business. You’ve done your homework – you’ve analyzed the competition, you’ve tallied up all your operating expenses, and you are ready to go! But are you?

Depending on the type of business you are running, you may need to come up with a significant amount of capital just to get started. Once you’ve looked at the costs for any technology you need, employees (salary, benefits, taxes), supplies, insurance and fees, etc…..double it. At least. No matter how well you plan, there are always those unexpected surprises. Look at those who started their businesses in 2008 – when the economy tanked and gas prices rose, and the financial uncertainty closed purse strings that previously would have been a safety net. It takes time to grow a new business, often 2-3 years, and you’ll need to make sure you have the funds to get you through until your profits start consistently showing up. Assuming you’ll be able to get a loan, a grant, or an investor doesn’t make good business sense. Starting a new business gives you enough to worry about – you don’t need financial anxieties to keep you awake at night!

As Warren Buffett said, “In the business world, the rear view mirror is always clearer than the windshield.” Plan well and the road ahead will be smooth sailing!

By: Janet Neal
www.thesuperbwoman.com


Marketing

While you may have ultimate dreams of market domination, I would suggest first focusing on niche domination.
Exploiting niches where you can offer a competitive advantage over the existing players provides the cash-flow and platform to scale upon into other niches in the market.
Finding relevant niches that can offer a type of synergy with each other can get you a lot farther, a lot more quickly than unrelated niches.

By: Brian Gluck
www.projectorscreen.com


Operations

Be Responsive! One of the biggest complaints customers have in dealing with large companies is that they can’t get a fast or a straight answer. Responsiveness is something that will differentiate your small business or service. When customers or potential customers make an inquiry or a complaint, get back to them and acknowledge the message as soon as you can. This is what smart phones are for – to keep up with your calls, messages and emails. If you don’t have an answer, say so. Tell them that you will respond soon with a definitive answer, price, or plan. People will notice and tell others how easy you are to work with.

By: Deborah R. Herr
www.deborahherr.com


 Human Resources

HIRE SLOW, FIRE FAST

Determining what specifically your needs are and then interviewing for the right fit are often things that people do too quickly… or without enough thought. We often hear after the fact “I hired my friend, or I built the job around Susie”.

When figuring out job specs in a small company, think about what you (and your current employees) like to do best and are good at – then think about what pieces take longer than they should or those you dread doing. Those are potentially the tasks to put into the new job and find someone who Likes doing those things to be a compliment to the current office mix. Consider things like:

  • full time or part time (can it be filled with 2 part time people vs. 1 full-time, giving you back up?
  • can the person work from home or do they need to be in the office?
  • what is the market compensation for this job and how much can I afford to pay?
  • do they need any special skills, experience or certifications?

Then interview people for the job and make sure they fill the top requirements of the job, don’t settle quickly to have a warm body in the seat. Take your time to get the right person that will fill your needs and fit with the culture of your organization. ** We suggest you look for people who are used to working hard and willing to do whatever it takes – small companies don’t have the luxury of having narrowly defined roles.

Finally, if you have someone in a role that isn’t working out, make the break quickly. Many times we hear – “they’re my friend, they’re trying so hard, I just hate hurting people, they need this job”… all excuses for procrastinating a very hard conversation. In the end, our golden rules when firing are:

  1. Be honest, but brief about why it isn’t working
  2. Always treat the person with respect in a way that preserves their dignity.

Here are ways we suggest doing that when possible to help them feel valued and preserve dignity:

Allow them some control in the process:

  • give them notice time to start interviewing,
  • if cordial, allow them to tell the rest of the team and stage their exit
  • give some severance compensation to tie them over for a little while and have them sign a release

Don’t pack them up and march them out the door, let them clean up and finish out the day/week and transition (this helps them feel they were valued, but it’s just not working).

By: Laura Osborn
www.CrothersHRConsulting.com