Tag Archive: employee_relations

Small Business School in 3 Steps

Small Business School in 3 Steps

Small Business School in 3 Steps. Small Business School in 3 Steps My daughter is finishing high school soon, and like all seniors, her head is everywhere but the school she currently attends. Senioritis is in full bloom throughout the land, and graduation is soon to arrive.


It took a long time and a lot of work for her to get to this place, and I am reminded that there have really been two sets of requirements that she has faced the past four years: first, the minimum requirements needed for graduating, and second, the requirements needed to get into a university. Small Business School in 3 Steps


In that regard, she is not very different from many small business owners. New small business owners and new students have a few things in common. It takes both of them some time to find their footing and become independent. To take the analogy a little further, for the entrepreneur there are also basic graduation requirements as well as advanced study requirements.


Any small business owner who wants to graduate from novice to pro needs to take and pass the following “courses:” Small Business School in 3 Steps


1. Profitability basics: This may seem obvious, but in reality it’s not. People start businesses with all sorts of dreams and aspirations, but it is safe to say that concrete, realistic profitability plans are not always part of the equation.


Maybe these folks want to create a great product, or maybe they want to pursue their passion every day. Whatever the case, it can be a rude awakening that the entrepreneur not only has to come up with a great idea, find a location, get funding, name the business and get started, but he or she also has to begin making a profit, pronto. Small Business School in 3 Steps



Profitability entails:

  • Learning how to price one’s services appropriately,
  • Sourcing products at a good price,
  • Selling, and
  • Upselling


2. Math for non-majors: There is a lot of math to master when you are a small business owner. You have to get a handle on taxes, spreadsheets, budgeting, inventory, buying and selling, profit and loss statements and other basic accounting skills.


3. Marketing 101: As I have said before, the only way new clients find you is via your consistent marketing efforts. As a result, the only way you will be around for the long haul is if you have a basic understanding of how to get your name out there and get people to remember it. Marketing is an extremely important element to master.


What if simply graduating from small business school is insufficient and you have higher aspirations? Then you will also need to pass the following “upper division-level courses:”


1. Labor law: Many small business are content to be one-person shops — indeed, most small businesses in this country are solo endeavors. But if you desire to keep growing, you will need to hire people at some point, either employees or other independent contractors. So, in this “course” you will need to master:


  • Interview techniques,
  • Hiring, and
  • Firing


Pull Quote May 7.png2. Advanced advertising: Doing the same old thing when it comes to your advertising strategy is fine, but it will get you the same old results. If you want to stand out to customers, you will need to show your advanced advertising competence. This “course” is always evolving, but currently the curriculum involves the following: Web 2.0, social media and mobile marketing. Small Business School in 3 Steps


3. Philosophy 200: In this advanced entrepreneurship course, you will be asked to articulate a vision for your business. Your vision must be based upon your core competencies, your company culture, your business values, the essential products and services you offer and your dream for the future of your company. You will also be asked to engage vendors, employees, customers, investors and the public at large in this vision. Small Business School in 3 Steps


7 Tips for Kicking Off the Summer Season

7 Tips for Kicking Off the Summer Season7 Tips for Kicking Off the Summer Season

7 Tips for Kicking Off the Summer Season. While nothing is certain in business, one thing is almost assured: The summer will bring change. For some small businesses, summer is their busy season; for others, it marks the slower time of year. But whatever the case, almost every business should look at summer as a special time of year and plan accordingly.


Here then are seven tips to help you, regardless of the nature of your business:

1. Hire smart: We have all been there – the day when the restaurant fails to plan accordingly, and everything takes too long. It is a missed opportunity for the restaurant: dazzle the customers with great service and tasty food, and they will be impressed and come back time and again. But miss the mark, and customers are unlikely to return. 7 Tips for Kicking Off the Summer Season


Multiply that several-fold, and that is the case when you run a business that gets busier over the summer but isn’t adequately staffed to account for the extra demand. Big mistake. 7 Tips for Kicking Off the Summer Season


If your business picks up in the summer, now is the time to jump on the hiring process or hire those summer interns. These two sources of help – seasonal workers and interns – are key to making your summer both profitable and enjoyable.


2. Take a break: Just as your customers are coming and going, so too should you and your staff. In another article I wrote recently, I shared some creative ways to handle vacation policies and time off. The important thing is that you plan ahead so that everyone leaves the summer season feeling rejuvenated, not exhausted. And the only way to do that is to get everyone on your team some much needed time off. 7 Tips for Kicking Off the Summer Season


Click here to read more articles from small business expert Steve Strauss


3. Take advantage of summer events: The plethora of outdoor festivals, fairs and other similar events is a huge opportunity for many small businesses. If you have a business that lends itself to selling at these sorts of festivals, this may be a new profit center that you never considered. But even if your business is not the type that can sell at the artisan food and crafts fair, for example, your business can still take advantage of the good feelings that come from being associated with such an event by advertising or sponsoring part of the program. In addition, you can use these celebrations as an excuse to close shop early for the day and go have some fun with your employees. 7 Tips for Kicking Off the Summer Season


4. Partner up: There is likely an association – formal or informal – of businesses similar to yours in your region. It would behoove you to see if they are promoting your industry or city this summer and then hop on the bandwagon. Chambers of commerce do this, and getting your chamber to recommend your business can be a huge boon. Similarly, there may be a local tourism board, restaurant association or concierge group that you can tap into as well. Getting on their list is a smart way to get referral business. 7 Tips for Kicking Off the Summer Season


5. Check in: Summer is a great excuse to get in touch with old customers and let them know what is new right now. Maybe you have made some upgrades to the business this year, or maybe you are planning some summer sales. Whatever the case, updating your existing customers is a good way to get on their radar again. 7 Tips for Kicking Off the Summer Season


The next two tips are for those businesses where summer is not their busy time of year.


6. Take on a new project: If you have time to spare right now, then use it wisely:


  • Update your website
  • Clean out the stockroom
  • Paint or freshen up your business in other ways
  • Prepare a new advertising campaign
  • Organize the office
  • Launch an e-newsletter

 Should You Embrace March Madness in the Small Business Office? 7. Learn something new: As a small business owner, there is never a shortage of new things to learn, whether it is mobile marketing, social media, accounting, etc. If summer is a slow time for your business, use this time is to learn something new that can help you when business picks up again in the fall.  7 Tips for Kicking Off the Summer Season