Category Archives: Management Issues

How big do you really want to grow your business?

by Kelly Deis of SoundPoint Consulting

Should you grow your business? It is a simple question with an assumed answer. The answer, of course, is YES! But, I am not sure it is quite so simple.

Before you invest your hard-earned money and time, think about what you want to accomplish and why. Then, carefully consider your options.

Decide to Grow

We have all heard horror stories of businesses that over-extended, only to lose it all. If your expansion strategy is not well conceived or executed, it could be a costly misadventure, both in terms of money and focus on the existing business.

If your business is well-established, has a loyal customer base, is reasonably protected from the competition, profitable and affords you the lifestyle you have sought (both in terms of discretionary income and time) then think hard before you take on an expansion strategy. Understand your goals – both financial and personal, before moving forward.  Continue reading

Are you ready to lead?

How good a leader are you? If a recent survey of small business owners by The Alternative Board (TAB) is accurate, it seems that most small business owners are feeling pretty confident.

In fact, a whopping 95 percent of entrepreneurs polled believe their leadership skills are “above average.”

That doesn’t mean there’s no room for improvement, however.

When asked to identify the top areas in which they need to improve their leadership skills, entrepreneurs in the survey say:

  • Holding others accountable — 67 percent
  • Tending to my team’s development — 51 percent
  • Delegating to others — 41 percent
  • Demonstrating a strong vision — 41 percent
  • Communicating clearly — 40 percent

Continue reading

When you’re in business, it’s always Day 1.

leadershipI read with interest how Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, described his philosophy around “Day 1.”When asked what Day 2 looked like he described it as “Day 2 is stasis. Followed by irrelevance. Followed by excruciating, painful decline. Followed by death. And that’s why it is always Day 1.”

Personally, I love this approach. I mentioned it recently to a group of entrepreneurs in the Emerging Leaders class here in Seattle and it seemed to fit in perfectly with what they are working on. They have all been in business for 3 or more years and are now creating new strategic growth plans for their businesses of the future. In order to do this without all the “constraints” that experience and beliefs dictate are “true,” we have to look at it as Day 1, and then consider – what will you do differently?

Think of it like Groundhog Day. You get to keep doing it over and over again but with a different template, different knowledge, and a different environment. If you were recreating your business, what would Day 1 look like now? Who’s to say you can’t give it a try?  Continue reading

The who, what, when and why of non-disclosure agreements.

businessman signing contractYou put a lot of time, energy and effort into your business. With so much invested, doesn’t it make sense to protect what you worked so hard to build?

Various ways exist to do that, such as choosing the right legal structure for your business, installing security software on your computer, getting business insurance, etc.

And don’t forget having an NDA!  Continue reading

Are you an entrepreneur or a business owner?

by Kelly Deis of SoundPoint Consulting

Have you ever wondered what distinguishes an entrepreneur from a business owner? Maybe not.

But if you are a business owner, it behooves you to know the difference and to be comfortable with who you are.

Obviously, all entrepreneurs are business owners. But not all business owners are entrepreneurs. What is the difference?  Continue reading

New study finds majority of small businesses unprepared for cash crisis.

Neva Peterson founded a bookkeeping and consulting business in Las Vegas five years ago, mainly on a shoestring budget, working alone from a home office.

Before the first year ended, she’d grown Neva Knows Business enough to sublet office space, and hire a part-time employee. That employee worked more hours as Peterson brought in additional clients. Soon, it was time to hire again. Business was flourishing, but there were occasional cash shortages when Peterson needed to make payroll.

“Small-business loans are so hard to get,” Peterson says. “It’s practically like donating an organ, you have to jump through so many hoops. And, meanwhile, the clock is ticking.”  Continue reading