Tag Archive for 'Small Business Advocate'

Celebrating milestones

If you will permit me, today I would like to talk about a couple of milestones of which we’re kind of proud.
On Monday, November 17, 1997, I began broadcasting The Small Business Advocate Show for two hours Monday through Friday, and ever since that first day the program has been nationally syndicated. This week we’ll celebrate our 18th anniversary and the beginning of our 19th year on the air.
In January 1998, we began simulcasting our show on the Internet, which makes us one of the pioneers of Internet streaming. We’ve been archiving our show since 1999, including multiple on-demand streaming options. In 20o7 we added the ability to podcast all current and archived interviews.
This Monday will be my 4,672nd live broadcast since we began — including all the holidays (next week I’ll broadcast my 19th consecutive live Thanksgiving Day show). Since that first broadcast, I’ve conducted over 18,600 live interviews with small business experts and entrepreneurs. When you hear me talking about making sure that you’re passionate about the business you start, if you didn’t already, now you know I practice what I preach.
From the beginning, my primary programming goal was to focus on the fundamentals that are important to successfully starting, operating and growing a small business, and to make all of the things we do available to you for free. On that last note–the free one–I must say thanks to our outstanding corporate partners, without whose support the free part would not be possible. I especially want to thank our Presenting Sponsor, Insperity, for their abiding support for more than eleven years. When it comes to supporting small businesses, Insperity truly does practices what it preaches.
For my work on behalf of you over the years, I’ve received a number of national awards from organizations such as the U.S. Small Business Administration, FORTUNE Small Business magazine, TALKERS magazine, the American Chamber of Commerce Executives, the Association of Small Business Development Centers, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, and New York Enterprise Report.
Also this week, we’re celebrating the 16th anniversary of this publication, The Small Business Advocate NEWSLETTER. This week’s edition, Volume XVII, Issue 1, represents 832 consecutive weekly issues since 1999. Thanks for being a loyal subscriber.
Finally, thank you for your support, comments, many words of encouragement and especially the honor and privilege of being your Advocate. I’m already looking forward to the rest of our journey together. More than anything else, I want you to know how proud I am of you as a small business owner and what you have accomplished.

Nothing I do as The Small Business Advocate is about me–it’s all about you, my heroes, small business owners, regardless of where you live on planet Earth.

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

Four kinds of Vitamin C prevent professional scurvy

For centuries, prolonged service at sea resulted in sailors contracting a malady called scurvy.  Those so afflicted bruised easily, had joint pain, gum disease, tooth loss — you get the picture.

By the mid-18th century, researchers discovered that eating citrus fruit, like lemons and limes, would prevent scurvy. We now know the active ingredient in this “remedy” is vitamin C in the ascorbic acid found in these fruits. Ascorbic literally means “no scurvy” in Latin.

One of the maladies often found in business owners is a condition I call professional scurvy. This kind doesn’t cause your teeth to fall out, but symptoms do include high levels of negative energy, low levels of performance and an easily bruised ego resulting in an unfortunately high business failure rate.

The good news is, like the seagoing kind, professional scurvy can be cured with vitamin C — actually four kinds of professional vitamin C.

1.  Vitamin Courage

Challenges ignored turn into ugly problems that can bruise a business. But facing challenges with courage reduces the negative impact and provides a chance to morph them into opportunities.

Courage is being brave AFTER you’ve had time to think about it.  Catch challenges early so you can administer a dose of Vitamin Courage.

2.  Vitamin Confidence

Thomas Edison is alleged to have said failure is successfully identifying what doesn’t work. Pure success tends to build ego, which in high concentration can be professionally dangerous. But success alloyed with failure actually builds confidence, which is essential for long-term performance.

Vitamin Confidence in business is nothing more than faith in your ability to sail around present and future challenges, as well as seize opportunities that come your way.

3.  Vitamin Character

Contracts are the transactional laws of the marketplace. But like the relationship between captain and crew, it’s character that counts, not legal words or signatures on paper.

Those who demonstrate high levels of Vitamin Character —like doing the right thing even if the contract doesn’t require it — have no difficulty finding customers or crew.

4.  Vitamin Credential

This one is critical because courage without skill is the definition of foolhardy; confidence without resources is what Texans call “all hat and no cattle;” and character without knowledge is a well-intentioned commitment that may not be kept.

All the best intentions won’t help you succeed if you don’t acquire Vitamin Credentials — education, skill, experience and resources — that can back up your business plan and commitment to deliver.

Write this on a rock….

Prevent professional scurvy with regular doses Professional Vitamin C.

Jim Blasingame is author of the award-winning book, The Age of the Customer: Prepare for the Moment of Relevance.

Entrepreneurial Telekenesis

Have you ever seen someone who moved objects with their mind, or bent a spoon by merely concentrating on it?  Telekinesis, as defined by Webster, is the power to move an object by psychic force alone. Mind over matter.

The idea of telekinesis has fascinated humans for millennia, including this human. Like me, you probably have a healthy level of skepticism about such claims. But what would you say if I said you are capable of telekinesis?

If you have ever done any physical training, you know that your body constantly sends messages to your brain that it’s ready to shut down. When that first dissenting word from your leg muscles hit your brain did you obey, or did you send back a message that those muscles would just have to tough it out? Sometimes one side of your brain, the side focused on your goal, has to have a word with the other side, the one that is a close friend with comfort.

At some time in our lives, most of us ran, jumped, cycled, lifted, swam, etc., at performance levels beyond which seemed possible to us in the early stages of training.We learned that building strength and endurance requires our body’s comfort to become subordinate to attaining a goal we had set. What is that if not mind over matter?

As small business owners, we perform a kind of entrepreneurial telekinesis every day. We accomplish things that marketplace pedestrians would say are impossible. And if you think I’m using the term telekinesis too loosely, what else would you call it when a small business owner defies the marketplace, the competition, and conventional thought by not only surviving, but actually thriving? Your entrepreneurial mind has the potential to defy the odds, the gravity of the marketplace, and matter, as we know it.

Will is an intangible force created by another intangible, desire. As you desire to move your business forward, whenever the matter is weak, you compensate with will. Mind over matter.

But don’t try this on spoons.

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

RESULTS: With Mother’s Day coming up, how much did your mother influence your life?

The Question:

With Mother’s Day coming up, how much did your mother influence your life?

24% - My mother was the most influential parent in my life.
54% - My mother was very influential in my life.

16% - My mother was only somewhat influential in my life.
5% - My mother was not a factor in my life.

Jim’s Comments:

It was good to see that almost eight-of-ten of our sample were significantly influenced by their mothers.

I used that word - influence - on purpose in this week’s question about our mothers. I’ve never doubted my mother’s abundant love, which obviously influenced my life. But some of the ways she influenced me was how she showed up, her work ethic, and specific times when love wasn’t exactly in my definition of how she was “influencing” me, if you know what I mean, and I think you do.

Happy Mothers Day to those who gave us life, and loved us even when we weren’t loveable. And happy Mothers Day to those who aren’t our biological mothers, but chose to love and care about us anyway. In addition to my mother, Virginia, who just turned 91, this week I’m also thinking about three aunts who were nothing less than my guardian angels - Kathleen, Reba and Addie - who now are real angels.

The Blasingame Translator for Small Businesses and Banks

Once upon a time, a storm caused two ships to sink in the same area. All on board were lost at sea, save one from each ship, and those poor souls were alive only because they swam to a small island nearby.

As luck would have it, the two men hauled themselves up on the beach at the same time and within sight of each other. But survivor’s elation soon became pensive as they realized that each spoke a language unknown to the other

Immediately both men had the same unspoken thought, “I don’t know this man or the language he speaks, but if we’re going to survive, we have to find a way to communicate and work together.”

In many ways, this tale actually plays out every day. But instead of on the high seas, our story takes place in the marketplace. And instead of mythical shipwreck survivors, our real life players are small business owners and bankers.

Like the survivors in the first story, the excitement of the latter-day castaways about their future prospects turns pensive when they both realize that: 1) they need each other in order to be successful; and 2) they don’t speak each other’s language very well, if at all.

With so much common interest and so little mutual understanding, can these two create a successful survival story? Absolutely, but only if they have the Blasingame Official Translator for Bankers & Small Business Owners. Here are a few examples of how the Blasingame Translator works.

For small businesses to understand banker, they must:
1. Identify their banker as a success partner and their business’ best friend.
2. Stay close to their banker when things are going well, and even closer when things aren’t going so well. 3. Believe that an uninformed banker is a scared banker, and a scared banker cannot, and will not, behave like a partner.
4. Pay attention to what motivates and impresses a banker, like attention to detail.
5. Understand pertinent bank rules and regulations, so you don’t ask for something that can’t be done. 6. Reward banker loyalty with small business loyalty.

For bankers to speak small business, they must:
1. Understand Blasingame’s 1st Law of Small Business: Starting a small business is easy, operating a successful one is not.
2. Understand Blasingame’s 2nd Law of Small Business: It’s redundant to say, “undercapitalized small business.”
3. Understand Blasingame’s 3rd Law of Small Business: A small business is not a little big business.
4. Explain bank rules and regulations, and recommend services and products.
5. In the credit scoring process, always find a way to give small business owners credit for character, past performance and best efforts.
6. Reward small business loyalty with banker loyalty.

Write this on a rock … To avoid becoming marketplace castaways, small business owners and bankers must speak each other’s language.

RESULTS: What is the greatest challenge to your business success?

The Question:

Which of these is the greatest challenge to your business’ success over the next 3-5 years?

23% - National and/or local economy
43% - National/state/local politics/policies, like taxes, regs, dysfunction
21% - Organizational deficiencies, like capital, talent, size, technology
5% - Big competitors and globalization
8%-  Internet competition

Jim’s Comments:

As you can see, when it comes to future challenges, only one-fifth of small business owners think their own internal issues might be holding them back. All the rest believe their greatest challenges lie outside their four walls

Two concerns representing two-thirds of our respondents, the economy and the government, are outside of the control of a small business, with the exception of their political involvement and their marketplace efforts. But the other three, including internal issues, are within the realm of a small business owner’s influence.

  • You can improve their own capital, systems and people;
  • You can realize the Big Boxes are more of a problem between your ears than on Main Street; and
  • You can accept the fact that the Internet isn’t going away and add that component to your traditional strategies.

I’m going to have more to say about this in an upcoming Feature Article. So stay tuned.





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