Tag Archive for 'small business advice'

Flex your spirit to your business’s advantage

Do you know what a jet fighter is? If you said airplane, you’re only half right. In the strict nomenclature, a jet fighter is actually a weapons platform. Its job is to deliver ordinance to a target, not to fly the pilot around.
In that sense, the human body–this vessel of protoplasm we drive around — is not really what a human is. It’s actually a delivery platform for the will of our spirit; the true life force that is who we really are.
One of the things I have observed about humans is that we often don’t understand, and therefore tend to under-employ, the power of our spirit. We seem so obsessed with the body that we don’t spend enough time contemplating the presence and power of the spirit.

Someone once told me how little of our brain’s power we actually use. I don’t remember the percentage, but I do remember it was astonishingly low. I wonder if there is a connection between under-usage of the brain and limited awareness of the spirit.

Author and philosopher, Colin Wilson, wrote, “We possess such immense resources of power that pessimism is a laughable absurdity.” The power he’s talking about is that of the spirit.

Pessimism can’t be overcome by our bodies. Dealing with frustration and overcoming disappointment are both tasks performed way above the pay grade of protoplasm. If you are a small business owner you either already understand this, or are acquiring that understanding a little more every day.

I’ve been a small business owner for a long time and have observed others far longer. I can’t imagine how any of us could do what we do without a strong spirit. The challenge is to become more aware of our spirit and flex it, like a muscle, to our advantage.

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

Entrepreneurs: Keep climbing toward success

In a former life, whenever I felt deficient in my ability to meet a particular challenge, one of my mentors would say to me, “This is no hill for a climber,” followed immediately by, “and you’re a climber.”
Today, whenever I’m feeling deficient in my ability to meet the challenges of my small business, I say these words to myself, “This is no hill for a climber and I’m a climber.”
In an even earlier life, growing up on a farm, we had an old two-ton Studebaker truck. This was a brute of a truck, with a very special feature: one really low gear. My dad called that gear “grandma.”
Whenever we had a heavy load to haul and a steep grade to climb, Dad would say, “Put it in grandma.” In “grandma” that old truck wouldn’t go more than a couple of miles an hour, but it would pull or haul anything, anywhere. Even when the pulling got really tough that truck might jerk and buck, but it never stopped pulling.

Small business owners have a special gear similar to the one on that truck. Our “grandma” gear is made up of the cogs of grit and determination, and the sprockets of courage and passion.

Four reasons you should take a vacation from your business

Could you use a vacation?

Of course you could and most of us know time away gives any leader a better perspective. But polls show less than half of small business owners are likely to take off a whole week for vacation.

Perhaps this is a better question: Could your business use a vacation from you?

Of course it could. Your absence will reveal organizational weaknesses that need attention as well as strengths you may have overlooked.

Regardless of your motivations, here are four ideas to consider to help you take more time off.

1.  Define success.
Webster defines success two ways: 1) a favorable outcome; 2) gaining wealth and fame.
Embracing both definitions as having equal value will help you recognize that living long enough to enjoy the fruits of the second definition—with your loved ones—must be part of your success definition.

2.  Hire quality.
Taking time off requires being able to leave your business with a team that’s trustworthy.
If you’re not comfortable with the idea of leaving your baby in the care of others, your instincts are probably good, but your hiring practices may not be. Part of your interview process should determine whether a prospect is the quality of individual you would trust with your company in your absence.  By the way, this is one of the best times in history to acquire high-quality talent.  It’s a buyer’s (hirer’s) market.

3. Delegate.
If you’ve already assembled that trustworthy team, their usefulness is limited by your ability to delegate.  Delegating isn’t easy for entrepreneurs; you’ve done all of the jobs, and you know how you want them done. But there’s an old saying that successful delegators embrace, “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”  If you cringe at the thought of how things won’t be perfect in your absence—get over it.

4. Leverage technology.
No one has to be completely unplugged anymore. There’s plenty of affordable technology that can serve as your security blankie by helping you “mind the store” without actually being there. And if you practice, no one will notice that you checked email on your smart phone while rolling over to tan the other side.

Finally, if you’re not intentional about living a balanced life—that includes vacations—you may accomplish the “wealth and fame” part of success, but the big celebration may involve others toasting you posthumously.

Write this on a rock …

Give yourself—and your business—a vacation.

VIDEO: Your future business success is tied to mobile

Your small business success is tied to mobile. In this New Age of the Customer®, it’s more important than ever to prepare for the moment of relevance.

Your future success is tied to mobile from Jim Blasingame on Vimeo.

Balancing the ideal and the real in business

As entrepreneurs, you and I are the visionaries of our organizations — the creators of the dream and the energy and spirit behind its fulfillment. As operators of the businesses we’ve created, we are the steady hand, the voice of reason, the challenge master and the bull’s eye where the proverbial buck stops.

"Create. Operate. Have fun."

"Create. Operate. Have fun."

The great French writer, Victor Hugo could have been talking about us when he wrote, “The human soul has still greater need of the ideal than the real. It is by the real that we exist, it is by the ideal that we live.”

In our role as an entrepreneur, we have “greater need of the ideal”, which is our vision, our passion. As the operator of a business, “it is by the real that we exist,” which are the operating fundamentals we must practice.

We must be able to move successfully between these two dimensions as we create, operate and grow our businesses successfully. Too much ideal and we have no critical mass. Too much real and we have nothing new, too little excitement and probably not much fun.

The ideal and the real: Create - operate - have fun.

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

Until Next Time: “Just get out of our way!”

Over the past several years, a lot of people have had their hands out for help from the government; from GM, Chrysler, and AIG, to all of the big banks. Then there are the unions that rely on government defense for their very existence. Big corporations make billions of profits doing business with the government. And the number of Americans accepting financial welfare-type support from the government is at an all-time high.

But there is another group of folks out there that is about half the number of welfare recipients, who produce over half of the U.S. economy, and signs over 70 million paychecks every week: small business owners. So last week, during National Small Business Week, we asked this group in our online poll this question, “Do you think the government supports small business?”

A whopping 2% said, “The government is very supportive of small business.” And less than one-in-ten said, “The government should do more to help small business.” But those small business owners who believe the government should just “Get out of our way” came in at 89%.

What if every sector of America-and I’m not talking about the truly poor who really need our help-felt the same way small business owners do? I would like to see what that looks like, wouldn’t you?

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

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