Tag Archive for 'new year'

Resolve to overcome your fears and achieve your dreams in the new year

One of the greatest sins is the unlived life.

That’s the title of my favorite section in one of my favorite books, Anam Cara, by my late friend and favorite Irishman, John O’Donohue.

John says that the more we postpone the dreams of our hearts the more we are in danger of an unlived life.  “We should never allow our fears or the expectations of others to set the frontiers of our destiny.”

In that same theme, I also like this New Year poem by Lillian Gray.

New Year’s Thoughts


Let us walk softly, friend;
For strange paths lie before us all untrod,
For New Year, spotless from the hand of God,
Is thine and mine, O friend.


Let us walk straightly, friend;
Forget the crooked paths behind us now,
Press on with steadier purpose on our brow,
To better deeds, O friend.


Let us walk kindly, friend;
We cannot tell how long this life shall last,
How soon these precious years be over past;
Let Love walk with us, friend!

Let’s find a way to forge John’s firm admonitions and Lillian’s soft encouragements into an alloy for living in the New Year.

Thanks for being part of my community. I’ll see you on the radio and the Internet.

Some thoughts on having faith

As we move into the New Year, I encourage you to contemplate your capacity to have faith, and how faith manifests in your life. Not just religious faith, which is important to many of us, but faith in yourself and faith in others.

August Wilhelm Von Schlegel said, “In actual life, every great enterprise begins with and takes its first forward step in faith.” How many things have you accomplished in your life where, regardless of your research and experience, the first forward step was taken in faith?

Awareness of faith can be very exciting. William Newton Clark wrote, “Faith is the daring of the soul to go farther than it can see.”

Exercising faith can be very powerful. Sherwood Eddy once observed, “Faith is reason grown courageous.”

Faith can transcend mere facts, and can actually be a lever for reason. Blaise Pascal believed that, “Faith is a sounder guide than reason. Reason can go only so far, but faith has no limits.”

Have faith and take that first step. Have faith and dare to go farther. Have faith and be courageous. Have faith and leverage reason.

Have faith in yourself, and when you do, anything is possible. Because, after all, you’re a small business owner.

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Small business success fundamentals for 2012

Don’t worry – this column isn’t about resolutions; resolutions are optional.

This is about fundamentals that have served businesses since humans decided to trade with each other instead of taking what we wanted by force.

Focusing on these ten fundamentals will help you have the maximum opportunity to find success in 2012.

  1. Cash is still King. Managing the relationship between accounts payable and accounts receivable is as essential to survival for your business as breathing is to you.
  2. Declare war on excess inventory. Don’t let one piece of inventory spend a night under your roof unless it’s turning or paid for.
  3. Convert non-performing assets to cash. What things were worth last year has no bearing on what they’re worth today, and they will be worth less tomorrow. If it’s not being used, cut it loose.
  4. Employees spend most of your cash. Ask them to identify ways to find efficiencies and maximize margins. Install these into the new year’s budget and operation.
  5. Review all operational steps and eliminate, or fix, inefficiencies. My friend, Michael Stallard, recommends the four “Ws,” “What works, what doesn’t, what do we stop and what do we continue.”
  6. Outsourcing is a best practice. Call a planning meeting and ask this question about every task in your operation: “Must this be done in-house?” Everything that does not directly “touch” a customer is a non-core competency and a candidate for outsourcing.
  7. Keep your banker informed about business opportunities AND challenges. The title of the shortest book ever written is “Loan Officer Courage.” An uninformed banker is a scared banker and you’ll never get help from a scared banker.
  8. Success burns cash. Prepare a financial projection that anticipates at least 10% growth in sales this year. See how that impacts your cash requirements due to increases in inventory, A/R, etc., and start thinking about how you will fund this growth (see #7, above).
  9. If you don’t have a banking relationship with an independent community bank, start one this week This is not a banking alternative – it’s a small business financial fundamental.
  10. Every customer and prospect has expectations that are changing faster than ever before. Keep asking what they want and deliver what they say. Remember, you get to decide what you do; customers decide how you do it.

Focus on the fundamentals, plan for success and grow your small business in 2012.

I talked more about these 10 business fundamentals today on my radio show. Take a few minutes to download or listen now.

Four more 2012 success fundamentals with Jim Blasingame

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Small Business Advocate Poll: New Year Resolutions for 2012

The Question:
It’s 2012 - a brand new year. Will you make any New Year’s resolutions?

67% - Yes - wish me luck.

33% - No - why bother; they never last.

Jim’s Comments:
The only thing more annoying than people who ask you if you made any New Year Resolutions are people who ask how you’re doing with keeping them.

Since being annoying can sometimes be kinda fun, we asked this question last week: “Will you make any 2012 New Year Resolutions.”

I won’t say my faith in humanity was restored merely by the fact that two-thirds of our respondents said, “Yes, wish me luck.” But it does make one feel better that apparently, hope still springs eternal for most folks. The other third who said, “No, why bother,” represent the pragmatic, or the logical, possibly the fatalistic or, dare I say, dark side of our audience.

However hopeful or resigned you are about the New Year, let’s have a good 2012 together.

I’ve talked about smart small business resolutions for the new year with several experts in the last couple of weeks. Click here to see our library of podcasts on resolutions and small business goals and listen or download the ones you like.

Also, leave us a comment on your business goals for this year.

Check out more great SBA content HERE!

Take this week’s poll HERE!

Have faith in yourself, small business owner

As we continue the holiday season and move into the New Year, I encourage you to contemplate your capacity to have faith and how faith manifests in your life.  Not just religious faith, which is important to many of us, but faith in yourself and faith in others.

August Wilhelm Von Schlegel said, “In actual life, every great enterprise begins with and takes its first forward step in faith.” How many things have you accomplished in your life where, regardless of your research and experience, the first forward step was taken in faith?

Awareness of faith can be very exciting. William Newton Clark wrote, “Faith is the daring of the soul to go farther than it can see.”

Exercising faith can be very powerful. Sherwood Eddy once observed, “Faith is reason grown courageous.”

Faith can transcend mere facts and can actually be a lever for reason. Blaise Pascal believed that, “Faith is a sounder guide than reason.  Reason can go only so far, but faith has no limits.”

Have faith and take that first step. Have faith and dare to go farther.  Have faith and be courageous.  Have faith and leverage reason.

Have faith in yourself, and when you do anything is possible.  Because, after all, you’re a small business owner.

Check out more great SBA content HERE!

Spring clean your business in December

One of the best ways to give your future the maximum opportunity to be successful is to make sure each new year begins with as little baggage from the past as possible. So, what grandmother used to do after a long winter, businesses need to do in December. Instead of spring cleaning, let’s do some December baggage elimination. Here are a few places to start.

Eliminate stuff: Even if you’re not a pack rat like me, you’ve accumulated stuff you don’t use anymore. If you’re not using it, sell it, give it away, or throw it away.

Digital graveyard: Don’t say you don’t have one. Whether it’s an old PC, monitor or printer – even if it isn’t broken – if it hasn’t been used recently it’s occupying valuable space. Sell it or call a computer recycling company.

Retool the team: The only thing worse than firing someone is letting an unproductive employee hold your team back for another year. The timing may seem insensitive, but it’s just an unfortunate coincidence that the holiday season coincides with December cleaning. You owe your productive people the most effective organization possible, which often means you have to let the unproductive ones do that elsewhere.

ABCDs of customers: Segregate customers into four groups, from the most profitable As to the least profitable Ds. Worship the As, cater to the Bs, encourage the Cs and teach the Ds about self-service. Customers who demand more commitment from you than they’re willing to reciprocate should be allowed to join your unproductive employees elsewhere.

ABCDs of inventory: As with customers, categorize inventory from the most profitable As to the least profitable Ds. Stock lots of As, some of the Bs, maybe a couple of the Cs, but never let a D spend one night under your roof unless it’s paid for. Remember, profitable inventory management means just-in-time, not just-in-case.

Scrub accounts receivable: Take the hit, and write off uncollectable A/R this year so you can start January with a clean list. A/R write-offs that are later collected become gravy for the new year, otherwise they’re tax deductions this year.

Each new year deserves to have the maximum opportunity to be successful, which means it shouldn’t be saddled with the baggage of last year’s obsolescence and bad decisions. By taking these steps you’ll be proving to yourself – and your banker – that you have the discipline to make critical decisions for which successful managers are known.

Don’t wait for spring. Start December cleaning today.

Recently on The Small Business Advocate Show, I talked with Patricia Sigmon, founder of LPS Consulting and author of Six Steps to Creating Profit, about how to wrap up this year and give the new year the maximum opportunity to be successful. Click here to download or listen.

Check out more great SBA content Here!




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