Tag Archive for 'small business radio'

Three myths small business owners tell themselves

Want to be your own boss? Good for you. But that’s the definition of someone who is independently wealthy, not a small business owner. When you own a small business, you’ll have many more bosses than when you were an employee.

Are passion and persistence enough to succeed as a small business owner? Clearly, they’re important, but what about those difficult days – when payables exceed receivables, on payroll Friday, when customers are the most difficult, when an employee becomes part of the problem? You’re going to need more than passion – you’re going to need management fundamentals

Do you think a business plan is passé? Well, if you think a business plan is just something to write down, print out and put on a shelf, don’t waste your time. But if you understand that a business plan you create, organize and use as a critical management tool, then it’s becomes passé on the day that success becomes passé.

Recently, on my radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, I talked about these three topics, with one of the founding members of my Brain Trust, Tim Berry. Tim is the world’s guru on business planning and the founder of Palo Alto Software, the makers of Business Plan Pro.

Each of these “myths,” as Tim calls them is in its own short podcast, so you can listen to each topic separately. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to listen and learn. And of course, please lever your own comments.

Myth 1: You can be your own boss

Myth 2: Passion and persistence are enough

Myth 3: A business plan is no longer necessary

Courage is a synonym for entrepreneur

One of the most powerful words in the English language is courage; it’s also a characteristic unique to humans.

The reason courage is a uniquely human trait is because it is typically demonstrated for something other than self - a cause, a country, another human - which is abstract thinking, also unique to humans.  And courage usually manifests itself after the courageous has had time to think about it.  Someone once said, “Courage is fear that has said its prayers.”  If you’ve had time to pray, you’ve had time to change your mind.

Courage is certainly not unique to entrepreneurs, but it is a characteristic very much in evidence in the entrepreneurial world.  And the abstract that we’re willing to fight for is our vision.

When you start a small business you demonstrate courage. When you persevere in the face of entrenched paradigms and small-minded naysayers, you demonstrate courage. And what about failure?  If you fail - nay, when you fail - and then persevere, welcome to the rarified air of the courageous.  Since you can’t fail if you don’t try, only the courageous can know failure.

You don’t have to be an entreprneur to be courageous. But you can’t be an entrepreneur without having courage.

Recently on my radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, I talked with my friend and Brain Trust member, Dave Anderson about leading with courage. Dave is president of Learn To Lead and author of several books, including How to Run Your Business by THE BOOK. Please take a few minutes to listen to what Dave has to say about courage, and, as always, leave your thoughts. Listen Live! Download, Too!< >< ><–>

Acquiring a small business: Should you buy stock or assets?

Acquiring a small business that is already established in the marketplace and has customers coming in the door is an excellent strategy that serves two different purchasers:

1. A start-up gets a jump-start on small business ownership by not having to start from a blank sheet of paper.  The existing location, customer list, even the phone number, has real value.

2.  An established business can use the growth-by-acquisition practice to provide an accelerant to augment the more deliberate organic growth.

Either way, both buyers have to take the same steps in making such an acquisition, including the due diligence, which includes making the decision of whether to purchase the company by buying the stock or allowing the existing business to dissolve and merely buy the assets.  Both have their own particular merits, but in the main, buying assets is typically the more likely choice.

Recently, on my radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, I talked about how to make the “stock versus assets” decision with one of the resident attorneys in my Brain Trust, Cliff Ennico. We discuss specific examples of when you should buy just the assets of a company and when you should buy the stock. We also talks about when to incorporate and when to use a limited liability company (LLC).

Cliff Ennico specializes in legal and tax issues for small businesses and is a popular instructor at eBay University. He is a frequent contributor to Entrepreneur magazine and the author of The ebay Seller’s Tax and Legal Answer Book and Small Business Survival Guide.

I hope you’ll take a few minutes to listen to my visit with Cliff, and be sure to leave your own thoughts. Listen Live! Download, Too!

Steve Forbes reports on current economic conditions

After all these years - since 1997 and thousands of live interviews - I still love doing my talk show every weekday. But there are some days that are the best, including the three or four times a year when Steve Forbes joins me on my show. I have a great deal of respect for Steve’s knowledge, wisdom, experience and world-view, but I especially appreciate the fact that, as Confucius encouraged, Steve is in reality what he appears to be.

Not long ago, I had such a visit with Steve on my radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, and he talked about the economy, the progress of the recovery, politics and public policy.  Steve is a pathological optimist when it comes to the American spirit and his faith in Main Street small business owners, like you.  But he has a healthy skepticism about the leadership ability of the political class.

Steve has been a member of my Brain Trust for a long time, but he makes his living as President/CEO of Forbes and Editor-in-Chief of Forbes. His new book is, How Capitalism will Save Us.

I hope you’ll take a few minutes to listen to what this world-class leader has to say. And if you have any thoughts you want to leave, I’ll make sure they get to Steve. Listen Live! Download, Too!

Small business retailers competing in the 21st century

Every day, small business retailers feel they’re fighting a war on two fronts: 1) being bludgeoned by the Big Box anchored around the corner, while 2) simultaneously being mugged by an online competitor floating around untethered in the clouds of cyberspace.  So how do small traditional establishments go to war with these two formidable opponents?  The answer is short and sweet: They don’t.

Here are a couple of quick points about defending your traditional retail small business:

1.  Prospects of your small retail business are the least likely prospects for a Big Box. The feeling that makes customers prefer the comfort of customization and connection to being overwhelmed by size is so compelling that they will choose you and pay the price you have to charge to fulfill this strong emotion. But you have to deliver on this emotion with the offense of value instead of acting defensively - like being seduced into a price war. Remember, the price war is over, and you lost.

2.  These same prospects are increasingly demanding that the companies they do business with provide them with online capability.  Small brick-and-mortar retailers don’t have to conquer the e-commerce world, but they do have to have a presence there.

In summary, you can beat the Big Boxes primarily by just not trying to be them. But the only way to stay competitive with the online assault is by incorporating an online strategy with your traditional model, which means a website at a minimum - at least e-shopping, if not an e-commerce component - plus the methodical collection of customer contact information, serving a periodic connection strategy to stay top-of-mind.

Recently, on my small business radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, I talked about the future of small business retail with Darlene Quinn. Darlene is a journalist, the author of Webs of Power and a member of my Brain Trust.

I hope you’ll take a few minutes to listen to our conversation and be sure to leave your own thoughts about small business retail in the 21st century. Listen Live! Download, Too!

The small business ownership transfer challenge

One of the primary reasons most small businesses aren’t prospects for venture capital is because of incompatible thinking regarding the exit strategy. VCs expect to get their money back within a few years (less than 10 but closer to five) while a business founder typically thinks of running the business until he or she gets tired of it and/or retires.

Regardless of exit strategy goals, all business owners must think about how they’re going to exit the business they founded: selling to a new owner, going public, handing the reins to family members, or as in way too many cases, simply going out of business. But sadly, as much of a certainty as it is that a founder will exit the business, most fail to plan for this inevitability.  And the result of this failure to plan an exit often results in an expensive and painful scenario for the owner, and in the case of health problems or death, the family.

But all of this inefficiency, pain and brain damage can be prevented with a strong resistance to floating down that river called denial, plus some forethought and planning.  If you’re having trouble making this happen, your problem can be fixed by talking to professionals who know how to hold your hand and get you on the right ownership transition track, regardless of which exit scenario is most likely to be in your future.

Once you’ve come to grips with your ultimate departure from the business, you can start to accept that the way your business is operated and structured when you show up each day - let’s say, in the middle of your ownership tenure - will be different from the way it will look on the day you convey the business to the next holder of the keys, whether an arms-length sale or a family transaction.

Recently, on my small business radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, I talked about the process of planning for the orderly and successful transfer of ownership of a small business with a member of my Brain Trust, Dr. David Gage. David is a leader in the field of business mediation, a founder of BMC Associates and author of Partnership Charter: How to Start Out Right with Your New Business Partnership (or Fix the One You’re In).

Take a few minutes to listen to this conversation and be sure to leave your own thoughts, including any business transfer stories you might have. Listen Live! Download, Too!

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