It’s Time to “Up the Ante”!

Yes, it is almost that time again. Mid-year is just around the corner and you know what that means. The halfway point of the 2nd quarter is generally when muscles begin to tighten (you know which ones I’m talking about) for many business owners as they reflect on their year-to-date financial performance.

BIG QUESTION: How are you going to overcome the current budget shortfall with only 2.5 quarters remaining in the calendar year?

Time to Up the AnteIf you’re behind in your financial projections, it’s time to “up the ante”! No, I’m not suggesting that you just open up the check book and toss money at the problem. In fact, here are some recommended ways to dramatically increase revenues and profits with only minimal investments.

There are three basic ways to grow a business – increase prices, sell more to existing customers and sell to new customers. The primary goal for any business owner should be to get more customers to buy more, and more often. So, start with the basics and go from there to determine what actions are necessary to improve results. Continue reading…

Competitive Advantage: A Fleeting Fancy

Competitive advantage is the favorable position an organization seeks in order to be more profitable than its competitors. It involves communicating a greater perceived value to a selected market(s) than the competition currently provides.

In effect, competitive advantage occurs when a company acquires or develops an attribute or attributes that allows it to outperform its competitors. Notice the words perceived value and currently have been underscored above to make a point. A competitive advantage can be short-lived because of three critical factors – market perception, innovation and time.

Competitive Advantage

Now, there are a plethora of ways to differentiate your product/service or company from competitors in order to gain a perceived competitive advantage. Some of the more common ways include: Continue reading…

Entrepreneurship: The Path to Prosperity

It is a path well-traveled, but not without peril. Being an entrepreneur is risky business and the odds are stacked against you. You’ve seen the statistics, 50% to 75% of all new business starts fail within the first 3-5 years.

So, why do so many people choose entrepreneurship as the path to prosperity?

The reasons ‘why’ are numerous and whether entrepreneurship was thrust upon you due to a job loss, or born out of a desire for change, we all share a common goal. All of us are seeking a better life and to build something special that we can take pride in.

Prosperity

Although the path to prosperity can’t be assured, here are some things to keep in front of you that will help you reach your destination. Continue reading…

My Birthday Gift to You – Pay It Forward

Well, I have finally put the bow around my surprise birthday gift to you. Last week was great fun. We traveled to Saint Louis for some much needed R&R to celebrate my big day with family and friends, and to attend Laura’s (my wife) high school reunion.

Now this week, we’ve planned a family outing with our adult children for the second leg of the birthday activities. I know, I know. That’s not why you are here. You want to know what your surprise birthday gift is, don’t you? Well, I can tell you this – it’s something out of the ordinary. But before I tell you any more, you must agree to pay it forward. Okay?

So, what exactly is my surprise birthday gift to you? Continue reading…

Marketing Secrets for the New Economy – Part 2

In Marketing Secrets for the New Economy – Part 2 we will explore why globalization has become a key strategic imperative for sustainable business growth and survival in the new economy.

Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re thinking. There he goes again, beating that globalization drum. Doesn’t he understand that I own a small local business and have no plans to expand globally?

Yes, I get it … but that is today’s reality. We are talking about the future opportunities for growth in the new global economy. Your opinion may change after you have read Part 2 of the article and had time to consider the following chart in more detail.

Global Wealth Distribution Chart

Let us start the globalization discussion by acknowledging the fact that there is no such thing as a local business in today’s rapidly changing economy. Millions of “eyeballs” around the world can gain access to your business from your web site, social media, email lists and other sources, and vice versa. As such, our world has become interconnected, interdependent and open. Continue reading…

Marketing Secrets for the New Economy – Part 1

Marketing Secrets for the New Economy – Part 1 overviews the opportunities we have as entrepreneurs and business owners to dramatically increase revenues and profits in the ‘new economy’. Part 2 will address the importance of globalizing your business for sustainable long-term growth.

We have all heard many times over that most millionaires have a total of seven income sources. In the first part of the article, you will see examples of how you too can systematically create multiple income streams for a business around your greatest asset – YOU.

The image below reflects what these multiple income sources might include for a typical emerging business. I refer to this chart as the “Circle of Life” because it also provides an evolutionary path for scaling a growth business through the various life-cycle stages.

YOU

Now let’s explore each of these potential revenue streams in a little more detail, so you have a better idea of how applicable they may be for your particular situation. Continue reading…

No One Said It Would Be Easy

No one said it would be easy. Even in the best of times, starting a new business can be risky business. However, despite a volatile economy and job market, more and more people have ventured out into the entrepreneurial world.

We have all seen reports that suggest 50% – 75% of new businesses fail within the first three years. Why do so many fail?

  1. Limited resources – time, people, capital and expertise.
  2. Lack of focus and planning.
  3. No formal sales and marketing system.

These are a few of the primary reasons most new business starts fail to make it. So, what can you do differently to tilt the odds of success in your favor and build a profitable and sustainable new business?

Cliff Climbing Image

There are no absolutes, but there are some fundamental things you should do as a new business owner to make it easier to achieve your goals: Continue reading…

Who Dresses You For Success?

“If at first you do succeed … try to hide your astonishment.” – Author Unknown

A funny thing happened to me the other day on the way to the Post Office. I was walking across the parking lot when I made eye contact with a woman. She literally stopped dead in her tracks, looked me over, smiled and said, “You are looking rather dapper today, did you dress yourself or did your wife help you?”

Now I am one of the “older guys”, so I rarely receive comments about my appearance these days from members of the opposite sex, other than my wife, so I enjoyed my brief moment in the sun. Responding to her question I just smiled back and replied, “My wife always helps dress me.” Although this isn’t true in the clothing department, it does raise a more interesting topic for discussion.

Dress for Success Image

Who dresses you for success?

In this context, I am not talking about your wardrobe or John T. Malloy’s famous book titled Dress for Success. What I’m referring to is to whom do you contribute your success? Continue reading…

Your Business Really Does Suck — Now What?

Being an entrepreneur or business owner presents its own set of unique challenges. Some of those challenges are good, some bad and some downright suck! However, when you have reached a point where it is not the daily grind, but the business itself that sucks, then it’s time for a change.

Hey, we have all been there. There are days that you just want to stay in bed and pull the covers over your head, but you can’t. However, if you have moved beyond that point and your business really does suck — now what? Then it is time to seriously explore your options. Continue reading…

Business Survival Checklist

All business owners are looking for ways to improve top-line revenues, reduce expenses and increase profits in order to grow their respective businesses. However, the troubling economy and other factors have forced many of these same business owners to replace the word “grow” with the word “survive”.

The business owner’s I have met with in the past 12-18 months all responded with the same answer when I have asked them, “what is the one thing that is critical to your business success”. The simple answer is “more customers”. More customers are the life-blood for any viable business. And every successful business has a universal checklist of things that are central to acquiring new customers, growth and yes, survival.

Here is my list of ten things that should be included on your Business Survival Checklist:

  1. Business/Marketing/Financial Roadmap. What is your existing plan to deliver maximum ROI performance in the next 12 months, 1-5 years, 5-10 years and 10+ years? The roadmap for your business, at a minimum, should address the next two fiscal years. Don’t be too optimistic – it is much better to over-deliver on your projections than to fall short. Continue reading…