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How To Start a Small Business: Begin with Purpose and Vision

Mountaintop Two People“Action without vision is only passing time, vision without action is merely day
dreaming, but vision with action can change the world.”

This is a famous quote from Nelson Mandela that really emphasizes how important it is for your business to have a clear vision that you can act upon. It also emphasizes how, if you do things the correct way, you can use your small business as a way to change the world. And hopefully this allows you to create wealth for you and your family along the way. (more…)

Becoming a Successful Small Business Owner in Africa

africa-businessThere is no dеnуing the fасt thаt opening a business – no matter how big or ѕmаll – саn bе very сhаllеnging. Yоu hаvе to lооk аt ѕоmе factors to determine hоw well уоur business will реrfоrm. There is plenty of public information regarding American entpreneurs and small business ideas, but some tend to overlook the importance and appeal of some of Africa’s economies.

Wise реорlе dо rеѕеаrсh bеfоrе ѕtаrting a buѕinеѕѕ whiсh iѕ very important. Thеу lооk аt the dеmаnd of whаt thеу are offering and оftеn trу to ѕееk аrеаѕ with minimum соmреtitiоn or аrеаѕ thаt are easy to penetrate. (more…)

What’s Better: A Franchise or Your Own Small Business? 

risk-rewardWhen it comes to small business ownership, there are many options to choose from. You can begin your own business without any preparation or you can browse a huge number of establishments and business openings, in essentially any field you need.

Truth be told, there are such a large number of various open doors and options accessible, that it’s occasionally hard to make sense of which is the best to pursue. When you decide you’d like help starting a small business, despite everything you have to comprehend the contrasts amongst the establishments and business openings, it is important to choose which is appropriate for you. Of all small business ideas, this may be one of the more difficult to decide. (more…)

Small Business Ideas from the Steve Jobs School of Business

steve-jobs

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, is one of the most successful entrepreneurs the world has ever seen. He is also a good role model and source of small business ideas for young entrepreneurs who are thinking of building a startup.

Regardless of whether you are running a  small business or a large one, the rules to small business success remain the same. Entrepreneurs can always follow Steve Job’s methodologies and ways to get success in their startups. Let’s have a look at those fundamental principles that made Steve Jobs successful: (more…)

Why Small Business Owners Sometimes Shouldn’t Listen

Small Business TrainingStarting, managing and growing a small business requires quite a bit of listening. Small business owners need to listen to customers, spot trends, solicit input from employees, and watch for regulatory and financial warning signs along the way to small business growth. Entrepreneurs without the ability to recognize these inputs and synthesize them into their strategic and day-do-day decision making often ultimately fail.

At the same time, there are times when it is important for small business owners to disregard inputs they hear from various sources. After all, there is a difference between detractors and non-believers versus those that are providing constructive feedback on how to make your small business more successful.

Here are three important scenarios where listening can be less helpful and more of a liability: (more…)

How and When an Incubator Can Help Your Startup or Small Business

Startup IncubatorsIncubators are an important trend in the startup world. Especially in technology hot spots such as San Francisco and New York, select small businesses take parts in these startup communities as a way to gain contacts, mentoring, infrastructure, and education to guide them on their journeys to small business growth.

While incubators can offer advantages to participating startups, they are not for everyone. In addition, although much media attention is given to startups permeating the startup community, they are not critical to the success of startups and small businesses. Just as is the case with any hot trend or topic with media buzz, it is important to understand the reality of incubators.

Here are a few important things to keep in mind when considering whether or not your startup or small business should pursue involvement with an incubator: (more…)

The Case For Small Business Growth

Small Business GrowthIt is every entrepreneur’s dream to create a business that creates increasing success, money, and impact on society over time. In fact, most small business owners we work with have an innate and often times unspoken desire to succeed, grow, and enjoy the perks that come with that small business growth.

Beyond individual small business owners’ desire to enjoy success, though, we often times forget about the bigger picture benefits of small business growth. As it turns out, there are three distinct and compelling reasons why every entrepreneur should aim for sustained increases in their small business revenue and success: (more…)

Why Perseverance is the #1 Ingredient for Small Business Success

Small Business SuccessIt is a well-known fact that hard work, dedication, and perseverance are all important to small business success. At the same time, however, few people ever explain the tangible and specific reasons why perseverance is so important to attaining your small business goals.

For example, in the classic book Think and Grow Rich, author Napoleon Hill examines how focus and desire can lead to business and professional riches. While the author does a good job of explaining the connection, here again, there is very little offered in the way of tangible ways that this focus and desire will help your small business succeed.

On the other hand, much has been written about other variables that commonly contribute to success. Popular business gurus and academics have analyzed all financing, education, leadership traits, and a spectrum of other small business success factors at length. However, none of these variables are nearly as critical as the more simple and universally accessible trait of perseverance.

Other than stating how important perseverance is, most business authors, gurus, and advice from the Small Business Administration gloss over this important topic. However, it is extremely important to understand exactly how perseverance will translate to small business success and help overcome the various obstacles that you face as an entrepreneur.

Below are the three ways that perseverance will help you on your way to small business growth and success: (more…)

Small Business Lessons from Celebrity Apprentice

Small Business LessonsIt’s not often that a reality show can provide meaningful small business lessons for entrepreneurs and business owners. There is one exception to this rule.

In addition to the antics of Donald Trump and celebrities as diverse as Flavor Flav, Gilbert Gottfried, and Donald Trump, several years of the TV show Celebrity Apprentice have brought many lessons for small business owners and entrepreneurs. Even though the show is well-scripted and staged for a reality show, it still provides several takeaways that we can apply to our small businesses: (more…)

Three Key Roles You Need to Fill As a Small Business Owner

Small Business ManagementIt’s no secret that owning, managing, and growing a small business can be tough work. Being a successful entrepreneur requires quite a bit of hard work, cash, ingenuity, and perseverance.

One of the primary challenges of entrepreneurship is the fact that small business owners need to possess so many skills and wear so many hats in order to realize sustained small business growth. On the one hand, they are required to be the visionaries for their new business or startup, while at the same time they are required to be a detail-oriented executor who can rally his or her organization to get things done effectively.

This is one of the key reasons why so few entrepreneurs are successful at the various stages of small business growth, beginning with the startup phase all the way through sustained growth and, if things go well, becoming a large organization. While entrepreneurs such as Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg provide case studies of those that can adjust and make the transitions through the various phases of growth, the reality is that most small business owners don’t have the personality types, skills sets, or interest in doing so.

Regardless of which phase your startup or small business may be in, there are a number of key roles that you need to fill as a small business owner. The skills and focus required for each of these roles are varied, which is just one reason why managing a small business can be so difficult.

According to the book The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber, there are three key roles that small business owners must fill on a day-to-day basis: (more…)

Finding the Best Sources of Financing for Your Small Business or Startup

SBA loansWe all hear the common refrain regarding small business and startup finances: cash is king. As existing and aspiring entrepreneurs, we hear this so often simply because money can be so scarce during the early stages of a startup, as well as phases of high growth later in the startup’s lifecycle.

Just to add some tangible data to this discussion, I thought I would take a look at some preliminary results from our ongoing survey of small business owners. In the study, we are polling several hundred small businesses and startups to learn more about their risks, costs, profits, success factors, and a number of other variables. (Take the brief survey here and earn a chance to win a $250 American Express gift card).

Of the several dozen responses we have received so far, we found that each and every one of them – in other words, 100% of the businesses in the study – cited “managing cashflow” as a big concern and challenge for them. We suspect that this challenge may be at least partially amplified by the fact that credit is tighter for small businesses now than it was before the financial crisis of 2008. To add insult to injury, the US Small Business Administration (SBA) is cutting back on their government-backed loans in recent years as well.

So we wanted to hear what readers of our blog think: what sources of cash have you used to support your business, if any? Take the poll below and view the summary of results from other entrepreneurs.

In the meantime, we’ll dive into each of these sources of financing in more detail in a blog next week. Stay tuned. We’ll also cover this topic in our free online Small Business Boot Camp training course, so register or learn more here if you haven’t already.

Burn Bridges Behind You to Ensure Your Small Business Success

Small Business SuccessIt’s no secret that most small businesses fail within the first five years of their existence. Of those that do make it through those early years, most of them fail in the next five years after that. In other words, although entrepreneurship can result in tremendous rewards, it is by no means a cakewalk.

This brings up an interesting question: why do so many small businesses fail? Based on our experience running our own startups and looking at our research of small business success and failures, the answer is much simpler than most believe. It is simply because the owner of the company gives up.

Now, don’t get me wrong – most entrepreneurs don’t give up easily. However, they often times find that small business ownership requires a lot more work, patience, and financial commitments than they had thought, which leads them to revert back to their Plan B.

The most successful entrepreneurs, on the other hand, burn all the bridges behind them. They don’t look back. They don’t even consider that their business may fail. They don’t keep a Plan B in their hip pockets in case things don’t work out. In other words, they burn all the bridges behind them and fully commit to their startup’s success – and eventually translate that success into small business growth. (more…)

Tips to Jumpstart Your Small Business Marketing Plan

MarketingRunning a small business has its share of challenges. Developing a marketable product or service, finding a marketing niche, and creating demand are just a few of the challenges that small business owners face. However, a good small business marketing plan is a good first step in overcoming these small business challenges.

But what exactly does it mean to “create a good marketing plan”? Obviously, it needs to be effective and fit within the constraints of your budget. But beyond that, creating a marketing plan can be like navigating a no man’s land.

Here are just a few tips to help create tactics that can make for an effective marketing plan for your small business: (more…)

Three Things You Need To Know for Small Business Growth

Small Business GrowthIn this brief video, we outline three important components of small business growth:

  1. Developing a viable product or service
  2. Marketing and selling that product or service
  3. Scaling a company to meet demand for that product or service

Unfortunately, too many small businesses and entrepreneurs struggle with the #3 component. (more…)

The Five Scariest Parts of Running a Small Business

Small business training coursesFor most of us, starting a company is the epitome of the American Dream. By fusing our passions, visions, and identified opportunities in the marketplace, starting a small business is the culmination of years of hard work and dedication.

However, running a small business can also be gut wrenching and downright scary at times. Cashflow, economic turmoil, employee issues, and a host of other variables – often perceived to be outside of our control – all threaten to undermine the fun and rewards of starting a company. According to the US Small Business Administration (SBA) and other sources, most small businesses fail in their first one to two years of operation.

But having your eyes wide open to these various risks is the best way to overcome them. Below are five of the scariest aspects of running and managing a small business: (more…)

Top 10 Songs to Inspire Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs

Top10Starting and running a small business can be a tough challenge. Most of the time, we have the will and internal drive to handle the strategic and day-to-day challenges, but there are times when we could all use a good motivational boost.

Here are our top 10 classic songs to inspire entrepreneurs and small business owners: (more…)

How To Increase Your Small Business Growth

Small Business GrowthThe many small business owners and entrepreneurs I’ve worked with over the years have different reasons for being in business. Some are looking for aggressive small business growth to enable an exit strategy in the not-too-distant future. Others want to create a lifestyle business, allowing them to work independently without the hassles of employees or overly complex operations. Still others want to create an asset that they can pass on to their kids or grandchildren.

Since there are a multitude of reasons why entrepreneurs start businesses (I’ve only listed a handful of them above), there is no one-size-fits all strategy for managing growth. Academics, self-proclaimed small business experts, and even the US Small Business Administration often prescribe generic solutions that aren’t good fits for all organizations. These ill-advised strategies can often create more harm than good, much like fitting a square peg into a round hole. (more…)