When it comes to the economy, don’t listen to the media, politicians, or friends working at big companies. Listen to other small business owners. And from what I’m hearing, many are still hurting. Here are 5 tips worth considering…
5. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit” – Aristotle
If you work for a small business, manage a small business, or if you own a small business and have not watched the show “The Profit” on CNBC you are missing a GREAT education. Marcus Lemonis — google him. He grew a billion dollar empire from scratch and helps turnaround failing small businesses with his own money. But his “People, Process, Product“ mantra is simple and to the point. Simply put: 1. Set the standard of excellence for your people, hold them to it & treat them with the utmost respect. 2. Evaluate every business process and find ways to streamline them. Look at your product and/or service offerings with a fresh eye. Ask your employees for their opinion on how they could be improved. Do it. And, please. I beg you. Turn on your TV & find “The Profit” on demand. Watch every episode you can. It’s the BEST small business content ever–anywhere.
4. “The unexamined life is not worth living” – Socrates
The unexamined expense is not worth spending. Look over every expenditure your company makes. Tighten up expenses. Infuse each department with discipline and with every ounce of efficiency possible. Incremental savings add up and they’re the key to profitability–or the key to staying afloat until things turnaround.
3. “Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily” – William of Ockham
Chances are if you’ve grown a little or a lot, over time you might have let your belt out a few notches and lost your edge on some aspect of your business. William of Ockham was an English Franciscan friar who took a vow of poverty. That may be a bit extreme, but the sentiment is spot on: Don’t allow “project creep” into your business and don’t expand unless you have a real fleshed-out plan to fund it.
2. “Life must be understood backward. But it must be lived forward” – Soren Kierkegaard
Those who don’t learn from past mistakes are bound to repeat them. Enough said.
1. “The greater the difficulty, the more glory in surmounting it” – Epicurus
While this applies to achieving any goal in life, is there a quote that better articulates the plight of the small business owner? We put everything at risk in an attempt to do something great. Professionally speaking, I don’t know of a harder task than launching and growing a business. I also don’t know anything as rewarding.
American exceptionalism is built on, among other things, liberty, egalitarianism, and individualism. A foundation we cannot take for granted. There is no better place on earth for an entrepreneur with a dream. Hold onto yours by doing all things necessary to keep advancing towards your goals, or to live to fight another day.
The small business life can’t be lived in isolation, partner up (AND watch “The Profit”–you’ll thank me)!
Dan Gallo, The Small Business Lifer
Managing Director, The Allasso Group, 203 858-9780