Picture it. You have a swell idea or product that could turn the world on its head and put a stop to climate change, end world hunger, and bring peace to the Middle East. Where do we sign?
Don’t start writing your Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech quite yet, friend. Because at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how good the idea is if nobody knows (or cares) about it.
Enter Brand Awareness.
What is it?
Brand awareness is simply what makes people aware of your very existence and helps set you apart from your competitors. It’s your opportunity to present your products or services in such a way that makes them easily recognizable to customers, as well as establish your authority or expertise.
Why is it important?
It establishes trust with your customers and influences their decision-making processes. The better brand awareness you have, the more valuable your business is. Cha-ching! When you think of dish soap or sneakers or search...
All businesses have many moving parts and pieces that contribute to or detract from their overall success. Profit margins, supply chain and inventory issues, customer relations, inflation, funding, cash flow, and competition are just the tip of the iceberg.
If you don't want to sail a sinking ship, you need to keep your ear to the ground (or deck, maybe?) on each and every one of these. But for today, we're going to focus on three areas that are all interconnected and can significantly impact your business -- for good or for bad.
Recruiting and Retaining Dedicated Employees.
Developing Good Customer Service.
Burnout: exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
If you're an entrepreneur or small business owner, you probably don't need the dictionary definition of the word; it's a reality you're all too familiar with. Starting a business -- and keeping it operational -- is no small feat. Elon Musk describes it as "eating glass and staring into the abyss. If you go into expecting that it's going to be just fun, you're going to be disappointed. It's not. It's quite painful."
So, why do people do it? What makes entrepreneurs take the long, hard path with no shortcuts and no guaranteed success? Why the hell would someone choose to take "the road less traveled" when there are plenty of other safer, less tumultuous options out there? I know Robert Frost claimed it made all the difference, but to what end?
Because you want something more. Because you don't want to settle....
If your decision-making skills closely resemble a squirrel trying to cross the street, keep reading.
As a small business owner, you are confronted daily with (what feels like) thousand-and-one decisions -- many of which you don't even realize you're making. But even though you're getting a ton of practice, there is always room for improvement. Effective decision-making is one of the most powerful tools business owners have to drive action; cultivating this skill should not be overlooked.
The process of decision-making falls into two broad categories: Intuitive and Rational. Intuitive decisions rely on a "sixth sense" or "gut feeling." They tend to be more emotional-based and influenced by a person's mood. These types of decision-makers are looking for an outcome that feels right. Meanwhile, rational decisions are based on data and facts. It's a more black-and-white approach that has little regard for the emotional consequences and prioritizes an outcome that makes...
"When you stop growing you start dying."
This cheerful little quip (credited initially to William S. Burroughs) is a poignant reminder for small business owners that becoming stagnant isn't an option if you want to be successful. And that's the goal, right? If you want to create long-term success - not to mention survive the competition - you can't rest on your laurels or settle for the status quo. You need to be proactive.
One of the ways you can do this is by increasing the value of your business. This can lead to better profit margins, happier employees, more satisfied customers, and scalability - which means you can continue operating for years to come (or at least as long as you'd like).
You can add value to your business in various ways, some of which are entirely free while others require a bit more time or money. Below we've listed seven areas you can focus on today to get started.
Review the Current SOPs
Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), when done well, are...
Owning a business is a dream for many. And by purchasing one that’s already up and running, you avoid the headaches, stress, and risk of starting one from scratch. It’s sort of like adopting a teenager instead of a newborn. You already have a pretty good idea of what you’re getting into.
But like teenagers, there’s an element of the unexpected and still plenty of mistakes you can make. To help you navigate this new territory, here are 7 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a Business.
Mistake #1: Not understanding why the business is for sale.
Seller motivation is always one of the first things you should look into. There are plenty of legit reasons why someone would want to sell their business. They might be planning a cross-country move, want to explore a new industry, or are simply ready to retire. It could also be because it’s hemorrhaging money, they’re having trouble retaining employees, the production costs are too...
Making the decision to buy a business is a big one, especially for first-time buyers. And it's also very exciting - the idea of being your own boss, taking those first steps to entrepreneurship, or generating more income are all appealing goals.
In that excitement, however, it's important to remember that the actual business acquisition process can be pretty lengthy. (This isn't one-click Amazon ordering.) There are a lot of steps to get you to the finish line, including research, market analysis, due diligence, securing funding, and negotiating contracts. Managing your expectations from the starting block will keep you from getting discouraged along the way if it ends up taking longer than you initially imagined it would.
There's no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, but on average, you can expect it to take anywhere from 6 - 12...
We’re all familiar with the old adage, “You don’t know until you try.” It’s the argument that parents around the world make every evening at dinner to convince their children they’ll like those oddly shaped green things on their plates. And it’s what we tell ourselves when we’re working up the courage to take a risk, like finally ordering The Dirty Shirley (worth it) or sinking a bunch of funds into Voyager (big whoops).
When it comes to buying a business, it’s usually recommended you look within the industries you’re familiar with. Logically and logistically, this makes perfect sense. You already know the ins and outs of operations, what the markets look like, the challenges, the trends, the competition, and so on. Overall, it tends to be a smoother transition.
But what if you find a really sweet deal on a business you know nothing about? What if you’re bored with running a laundromat when what you really want...
Becoming a business owner through acquisition can be a smart move to avoid the hassles and headaches of launching your own startup. With so many new businesses failing within the first five years - not to mention the time it can take even to turn a profit - starting from scratch is risky business, sans a dancing Tom Cruise.
That’s not to say that acquiring an existing business is a cakewalk; it will come with its own set of unique challenges. But in many instances, the pros outweigh the cons, and buying a business could be your first step to building your empire. (We like to think big here.)
A big part of the purchasing process is doing due diligence. Not every opportunity on the market is a good one, and while it might be tempting to jump at the first eye-catching deal that comes along, keep in mind this isn’t a new mattress you can try out for 120 days and return for a full refund after four months of fitful sleep. These transactions are a lot of time and...
For most small business owners, the number one goal is Profitability. Without that, the lights don't stay on, the employees don't get paid, and operations will cease to exist (regardless of good intentions or a meaningful mission statement). Unless you're running a charity and depending on the kindness of strangers, the focus must remain on the bottom line.
A few weeks ago, we shared a post on ways you can improve your profit margins. (Take a few minutes to read it if you missed it.) But today, we're talking about a different action you should take to protect your small business.
Let's talk about Competitive Analysis.
Competitive analysis is the process of researching, assessing, and evaluating your competitor's weaknesses and strengths. It provides invaluable data and insight into what they're doing well or not-so-well.
In the same way you (should) analyze your own systems and processes to identify shortcomings and areas...