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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 Much Should Small Business Owners Pay Themselves?

Small Business Training CoursesThe holiday season is of course about giving and the holiday spirit. It’s a time of year when most are less concerned about themselves and more concerned about their families, the spirit of giving, and being thankful.

As we enter a new year, however, it is also a good time to reflect on the risks and rewards that we all experience as small business owners. Most entrepreneurs have a strong passion and belief in their businesses, but too few are reaping the rewards that they hope or expect to see. In fact, in our ongoing survey of small business owners, we find that most are not only concerned about having enough cash to sustain their businesses over time, but we also find that most are dissatisfied with the level of personal income they are making from their efforts.

This may not be surprising on the surface, but it is a bit concerning since most entrepreneurs start businesses to create wealth for themselves and their families. This is typically not the only reason for starting a new company, but it is an important one. Combine this desire with the level of risk that entrepreneurs face – whether it be risk of financial duress, legal issues, or the possibility of failure – and there is clearly a disconnect between what entrepreneurs should be earning and the pay they actually take home for themselves.

So what’s the right answer? Unfortunately, there is no single answer for all entrepreneurs since every small business is different, but here are four questions you should ask to determine the “right” amount to pay yourself: (more…)

Five Things the SBA Doesn’t Teach You About Running a Small Business

Small business administrationThe Small Business Administration is one of the first resources that come to mind for many small business owners looking for guidance or help. And for good reason, since the promise of government-backed loans and free advice sounds like a pretty good deal.

Having run multiple startups and grown them to become multi-million dollar entities, however, I can tell you that the guidance provided by the SBA just barely scratches the surface of what business owners and entrepreneurs need to know to be successful. To add insult to injury, most small businesses are denied SBA loans, and according to data published earlier this month, the SBA is continuing to cut back on their government-backed loans to small businesses. In other words, the SBA means well, but the resources they provide leave much to be desired.

So how are small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs like us supposed to carry on? The good news is that there is a wealth of information and lessons to be learned from entrepreneurs that have actually been in the trenches and run their own businesses. Below are five things that the SBA was never able to teach me, but are critical lessons for any entrepreneur: (more…)