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Is It Lonely at the Top of Your Own Business?

By Bigg Success Staff
07-29-08

Bigg Success in Business

at_the_topIf you believe the statistics, an overwhelming majority of people dream of owning their own business. For many, it’s because they have a romantic view of working for themselves. Owning your own business means answering to no one. You’re the man (or woman)!

But that’s the problem for many … being THE one. It really can be very lonely at the top.

Staying on course may mean changing the course!

You’ll hear all kinds of opinions about your business and your plans. You have to develop an intestinal fortitude like never before. You need to have the courage of your convictions, to press on even when others tell you that you’re crazy.

At the same time, you have to learn when it’s time to change your strategy based on new evidence. To abandon what you thought was the right course for some new direction.

Many entrepreneurs succeed in a business they didn’t start!

They adapt. As they gain new market information, they respond to their customer’s needs and wind up in a completely different business.

But there’s another pitfall. Does the opportunity align with your passion? There’s a reason you started a business in the first place. If the required strategy takes you into an area in which you have no interest, you might be better off with a regular job.

Are you ready to go out on your own?

If this discussion dissuades you from going out on your own … good! It’s better to learn now than after you’ve invested time, money, and emotions in a new venture. Starting a business is tough for everyone, but it’s much harder on anyone who’s not fully committed to it.

On the other hand, if it excites you even more, you may be ready to start your own business. So it’s time to take the important first steps.

The first most important step is …

… get started. A lot of people TALK about starting their own firm, but that’s as far as it goes. Nothing will ever happen unless you get started. Even if getting started means doing more research, then get going!

The second most important step is …

… get a support network. This includes your professional advisors. However, you also need people who have lived what you are going through – fellow entrepreneurs, mentors, coaches. They will help you when the load seems unbearable and keep pushing you when things are going well. 

The next most important step is …

… your next step! Every day in an entrepreneur’s life is a challenge with all the noise. You have to filter through it all to do what’s most important to move your business one more step ahead.

Focusing all your energy every day on what’s most important doesn’t guarantee success. However, it does make the odds a little bit better. 

3 Hear today’s lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show. ]

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25 Ways to Lead Your Organization Through Good Times and Bad

By Bigg Success Staff
05-14-08

Leadership Skills

twenty-five 

Leadership is challenging under any condition. In this article, we’ll offer some tips to survive the bad times and to let the good times keep rolling! We discuss five great tips from each of five great articles along with the links to the original articles themselves.

5 Tips to Keep Your Organization’s Knowledge in Your Organization

#1 – Don’t let your best people leave.

#2 – Establish a mentoring program for new employees.

#3 – Share best practices.

#4 – Share lessons learned.

#5 – Document, document, document.

This is a fantastic article on The Providers Edge site. Check out the entire article to learn how to reduce knowledge loss in your organization. *Note that this link will open a PDF file.


5 Key to Overcoming a Crisis

#1 – Keep in mind that business without risk is business without growth.

#2 – Work with the facts. Listen to the market, not your ego.

#3 – Act quickly and decisively. Delay makes things worse, not better.

#4 – Be a proactive leader and clearly communicate your decisions.

#5 – Be resilient and continue to innovate. Success is not forever, nor is failure.

These great tips come from Atsutoshi Nishida, CEO of Toshiba. He was discussing his company’s decision to pull the plug on HD DVD with Yukari Iwatani Kane of The Wall Street Journal. Check out the full interview for detail on overcoming a crisis in your organization.

 

5 Tips to Get the Best Results from Your Employee Training Programs

#1 – Remember that training is an investment.

#2 – Make sure the training is targeted and really needed.

#3 – Establish measurable returns.

#4 – Work with vendors that truly understand your needs.

#5 – Make sure the training is flexible and customized.

Chris Young wrote this excellent post on his Maximizing Possibility blog. You owe it to yourself to check out his complete explanation of his five tips for improving employee training and development during a recession or economic downturn.

… but we’re not done with training yet …


5 Pointers to Train Your People to Up sell / Cross sell

#1 – Tell your people what’s in it for them.

#2 – Give them clear objectives.

#3 – Create a non-threatening environment for role playing.

#4 – Assign them structured skill improvement activities.

#5 – Schedule a follow-up workshop about a month after the initial session.

This is an oldie, but a goody written by Brian J. Geery for BNET. He specifies it as sales training, but these tips are helpful for training for any human interaction. Read details of his five tips to ensure successful up selling / cross selling training.


5 Tips to Keep the Momentum Going

#1 – Reset greater challenges.

#2 – Review individual efforts.

#3 – Re-energize.

#4 – Rewind.

#5 – Recognize and reward.

Understanding these concepts is so important because momentum is such a precious thing. Check out the details on CareerBuilder’s top five tips for maintaining momentum.  

 

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Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show.

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Danger: 10 Warning Signs of Trouble Ahead for Your Business

By Bigg Success Staff
03-19-08

Bigg Success in Business

danger

We’re told that diagnosing a medical condition early greatly increases the chances of successful treatment. The same is true for your business – seeing the warning signs early gives you the opportunity to solve minor issues before they become major problems.

Cash to a business is like blood to our bodies. It has to continue flowing or we won’t survive. The bottom line is that you can’t run out of cash. So you have to know how to diagnose and treat the source of the ailment before it spreads.

With that in mind, here are ten signs that your business may be heading for trouble:

#1 – Lost market share
Your sales may be growing, but your share of the market may be falling. Market share is precious – among other things, it provides leverage to raise prices as your costs increase. As competitors enter your market, you have to work even harder to maintain (and hopefully increase) your share or your business may get into trouble.

#2 – Declining customer counts
Your sales may be holding steady, but fewer and fewer people are making purchases. Your remaining customers are spending more, possibly because of price increases. You have to find a way to attract new customers or your business is headed for trouble. 

#3 – Low repeat and referral business
You need a healthy percentage of repeat business because it’s much less expensive to keep a customer happy than to get a new one. It also shows that your product or service is still meeting the needs of a core base of people who will refer other people to you. If your customers aren’t coming back, your business may face trouble.

#4 – Declining sales

If your sales are falling, you’re definitely headed for trouble. It may have nothing to do with you – it may be your industry that is experiencing trouble. Isolate whether it’s a problem with your business or the industry as a whole to know your best strategy.

#5 – Disproportionate sales to a small group of customers
Picture this extreme situation – all of your sales come from one customer. You’re totally at the mercy of that customer. It’s like being an employee without the safeguards that go with employment! Generally speaking, if more than ten percent of your sales are to one customer, you may face trouble at some point.

#6 – High employee turnover

When you lose employees, customers are affected – they deal with less experienced people who don’t know your business or the customer’s needs as well as long-time employees. The costs of training people so they’re fully productive are also significant. If you can’t retain employees, your business will likely face trouble.

#7 – Costs rising faster than sales (declining profit margins)
Costs rise for a number of reasons. As your sales rise, so will your costs. If they don’t, why do you need that cost at all? So rising costs are expected. However, costs that rise faster than sales means you will face trouble at some point because you’ll have less and less profit for each dollar of sales. 

#8 – Disproportionate purchases from one vendor

You don’t want to be dependent on any vendor for purchases in any category. That gives that vendor too much leverage in your business. They’ll be able to pass on costs to you that you may not be able to pass on to your customers. If you don’t have a diverse base of vendors (or at least a back-up plan), your business will probably face trouble sometime.

#9 – Unwarranted increase in receivables
It’s great to make sales, but not if you don’t get paid! That’s worse than not making the sale at all because it costs you money to make a sale. Slow paying customers also create problems because you can’t pay your bills with receivables. If you don’t control your receivables, your business may be headed for trouble.

#10 – Unjustifiable inventory build-up
Depending on your business, inventory may be even less liquid than receivables. First, you have to sell it; then you have to collect on the sale. Inventory that’s not turning over is dead-weight. So if your inventory is building up too fast, your business will likely experience a cash crunch at some point.

Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show. 

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