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Critical Keys to Business Success – Part 2

success Today we continued our discussion with Deb Neuman, host of the Back to Business Radio Show. Last time, Deb shared four of her keys to business success, which all happen to start with the letter “P”. Today, she will share her final three. Let’s get back to the conversation …

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People

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marylynnSo far we’ve discussed Passion, Product, Persistence, and Planning. Now Deb, you say we have to think about People – surround yourself with people whose strengths are your weaknesses.

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debAnd look beyond your friends, family, and significant other. They are important people to have on your team, but you want to have other people who can be objective, who don’t have any emotional ties to you as well.

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marylynnOften, to get someone to take care of a weakness, you have to pay them to do that. If you don’t have any money, what is the answer then?

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debA lot of people barter. I have a friend who is a massage therapist who needed help building the web site for her business. So she and the web designer now trade services. The web designer gets massaged and doesn’t even have to pay for it … he’s happy! A side note to that – check with your accountant to make sure you’re accounting for it properly when tax time comes up. A lot of people I know really enjoy helping small businesses. They may be an accountant or an attorney. They’re looking for new businesses as future clients. Sometimes they’re willing to give you a few hours of service at no charge or give you a reduced rate. They recognize that, if they help you get your business started, you’re likely to become a future customer for them. Talk to other business owners and see who they’re using as providers.

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Promotion

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georgeNext up on the list is something that many business owners are cutting back on because of the tough economic climate – Promotion.

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debI just did some research into The Great Depression, what businesses survived, and how they did it. Some of the businesses that made it through the depression very successfully include Procter & Gamble, Camel cigarettes of all things, Kellogg, and Chevrolet. What they all had in common is that they scaled up their advertising during The Great Depression. They stayed visible in the minds of consumers and they were able to continue to do business throughout the depression even though people were spending less money. And when the economy did turn around, and it always does eventually, they had customers loyal to their brand. So now is not the time to stop promoting your business. Now is the time to kick it up a notch because people still have money to spend. They may spend less of it and they may be more choosy about where they spend it. But if they don’t know you’re out there, you’re not even going to be considered. Few of us have the resources to just advertise here, advertise there, and just throw money around that’s not going to pay back. So you really need to sit down and identify who your customers are. Be specific. Are they men or women? What age range? What kind of profession? Where are they? What are they reading? What are they listening to? What are they looking at online? Then think about how you can best reach them. Successful promotions, marketing, and advertising don’t mean you buy an ad in the newspaper and run it once. It has to be a long term plan and commitment.

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Positive Attitude

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george
So the last “P” on your list is Positive Attitude.

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debYou just have to maintain a positive attitude, through thick and thin. That reflects on your employees. Your customers know it. I just heard from a colleague of mine who went into a retail store. She said she’d never go there again because the owner of the store was in a really bad mood, griping about the economy. She said that she wasn’t there to hear all of that. She was there to have a nice experience. It really turned her off.

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marylynn
Because shopping is my escape. This is me trying to stimulate the economy, so relax!

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georgeRight now, not just for entrepreneurs, but any leader … it seems like we’re hearing such dismal news from so many of our leaders from the highest levels in the country to the biggest businesses. And I think, in many cases, small business owners are buying into it and people don’t want to follow someone who doesn’t have a better vision for the future.

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debExactly. I’m seeing businesses, some who’ve decided to close, but others who are planning and taking a different approach. They’re being very creative about it. They’ve said that this is forcing them to not be lazy. When things are good, they do whatever they want. They can’t do that now so they realize they have to be really proactive, but they’re making changes that they’re really excited about, even if they were forced into making them. They think they’re in a much better position going forward, now and when things do turn around for the better.

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Thanks Deb for sharing your wisdom with us! Check out Deb’s site, debneuman.com for more great tips for your small business.

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And thank you for reading our post today. Join us next time when we’ll tell you how to find the deal of your lifetime. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00345-030609.mp3

Related posts

Critical Keys to Business Success – Part 1

(Image in today's post by k_vohsen)

BIGG Success Logo boxed

Critical Keys to Business Success – Part 1

success Today on The Bigg Success Show, we were honored to have Deb Neuman as our guest. Deb is the host of the Back to Business Radio Show, talk radio for small business owners on WVOM, the Voice of Maine News Talk Network. Deb was recently named Small Business Journalist of the Year for Maine and New England by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

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Passion

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marylynnDeb, you've talked with thousands of entrepreneurs and you've found some critical keys to business success and they all start with “P”. Your first one is Passion. You have to love what you do.

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debIt’s not unlike a relationship; it’s not unlike love. You have to be passionate about the person that you commit your time and your life to. It certainly doesn’t mean that you’re going to like them every second. Similar to operating a small business, you don’t have to love every part of it. A personal example of that … I used to own an inn in Bar Harbor, Maine and I cleaned more toilets in five years of inn ownership than most people would ever want to do in a lifetime. So that wasn’t my favorite part, but I was certainly passionate about my business as a whole and I was willing to clean the toilets to make it work.

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georgeWhen you’re on the outside looking in, Deb, do you think there’s a tendency to romanticize that vision of what it means to own your business? I think a lot of people who have never done it before are disappointed that it’s not easy. It is hard, so you really do have to love it, but not romanticize it.

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Exactly. I always suggest that if you do have a romantic dream of owning an inn, for example, or operating a restaurant, that you go and work in one for a while. Really experience it; really find out what it’s going to take. Of course, it’s different when it’s yours, but you have to understand what the job entails.

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marylynnYeah, you definitely have to make sure you know what you’re getting into. That you see that toilet!

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Product

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george
Moving on to your next “P” for business success – it is Product.

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debYou have to have a product or service that people will actually pay you money for. Oftentimes, I’ve seen entrepreneurs romanticize their idea for a product or a service or an invention even. They just think it’s the greatest thing … that everyone will want this. They’re in love with it, but they really haven’t tested the market to make sure that other people will be as passionate about it as they are. And that these people will actually pay money for it because that is really a key.

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marylynn
Yes, because there are bills to pay!

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debThere are … that’s the reality! It’s worth it to take the time to do the market research to be as certain as you possibly can be that there is a market for your product or service.

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Persistence

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george
Next on your list, Deb, is Persistence.

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debThis is so important. When you start a business or when you’re trying to grow a business, things often can become challenging. They may not go the way that you want. Certain things may take longer than you hoped. You just have to persist through those challenging times. But you need to know when to cut your losses. It certainly doesn’t mean that you should just keep going and going and going if things aren’t going well. Sometimes you just have to say, “This isn’t working.”

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marylynnGeorge just worked with an entrepreneur who had to do that. She had to call it quits. But what’s interesting is that she has a great attitude. She’s not calling entrepreneurship quits, just that particular business. There was really no place else to go with it. She’s taken the lessons learned and regrouping, but then she’s going to launch another business at some point. I admire that in her.

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debEntrepreneurs are born with that genetic gift, as I call it sometimes. At other times, I call it a curse! We will come back with the next great idea and constantly be creating something. We just take those lessons, good and bad, and apply them to the next great idea.

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Planning

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george
And another one of your P’s for business success is planning.

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debPlan! Plan! Plan! You really do have to develop a business plan. If you’re just starting a new business, it’s critical to determine many things, including if a market exists for your product. But also planning has to happen every day and every week and every month. You have to plan the small things out and you also have to plan the big picture. You constantly have to be in planning mode. When you’re the boss, there’s nobody else telling you what needs to get done this week.

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georgeI think that’s one of the bigger challenges for people who just start a business. Not having that person to answer to. It could be a coach. In my former businesses, I met with one of my partners every week to make sure that he kept me on track. We try to do that with our coaches. You need that outside person to keep you focused and working on what you say you need to work on.

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Get more small business advice from Deb Neuman on her web site: debneuman.com.

Join us tomorrow when we discuss Deb’s last three critical keys to business success. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00344-030509.mp3

Related posts

Critical Keys to Business Success – Part 2

The Dirty Truth About Being an Entrepreneur

Profitable Passions – Part 1

(Image in today's post by k_vohsen)