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The Entrepreneurial Roller Coaster Ride

When you own your own business, you have your highs and you have your lows. And it seems like you rarely have any in-betweens.

George said  …
I never talked about this for years. I thought it was just me. Then I got up the nerve and mentioned it to my sister, who also owns businesses.

She said she knew exactly what I was talking about! So that encouraged me to ask other business owners about it. So far, every single person I’ve ever talked to about this knows exactly what it means. You can see it on their face as soon as you bring it up.

But it’s something I think a lot of entrepreneurs don’t talk about.

Mary-Lynn added  …
With Bigg Success, I’m experiencing business ownership for the first time. And I feel like I’m on a roller coaster. There are days where I feel exhilaration from the ride and there are days when I feel sheer terror and want to get off the ride.

Entrepreneurial terror

If you’ve never experienced it, count yourself lucky, but most people in business have.

You can feel terrified at times even with a job. You may fear you’re going to lose yours when you see other people’s jobs getting cut. But it’s still different for business owners.

George …
I remember one of the guest speakers for my class who talked about the number of mouths he had to feed now. A lot of the most successful business owners I know take personal responsibility for their people. They don’t look at just putting bread on their table; they worry about their employees as well.

That can keep you up at night!

Inc. published an article (way back in February 1987) called Entrepreneurial Terror. A portion of it has been republished on Wachovia’s Small Business site.

It was written by Wilson Harrell, a serial entrepreneur and author of For Entrepreneurs Only. He said:

“… the ability to handle terror, and to live with it, is the single most important
– and, yes, necessary – ingredient of entrepreneurial success.”

This company doesn’t love misery

He says that you shouldn’t share your lows with your friends and loved ones, because you’ll just pass the worry on to them. Unless they’re your partner in business.

He adds that you should always share your highs, though.

How highs turn to lows

The way you spend your time and money when you’re on a high often has a lot to do with how low you go. Let’s look at two examples:

  • Too busy for marketing
    When you’re so busy, you may even be running at capacity, and you know your business couldn’t crank out any more volume no matter how much you wanted to. So you slow down – or even stop – your marketing efforts.

    George …
    I’ve done this! It’s easy to do – there’s no time! But that insures the next down cycle because you’re not doing those things that you did to get to the up cycle.

  • Being careless with money
    A lot of times cash flow is at its peak during an up cycle. That’s part of the reason you’re on an emotional high. So you make that major expenditure. Or you add to your overhead. The next thing you know you’re on a low because business and cash flow have slowed down and you have little or no cash reserves.

You may not be able to avoid the highs and lows. What you can do is conduct business so that your lows are higher … and your highs are higher!

It may not feel any different, but you know it is. You’re reaching ever higher levels of success! Now that’s bigg success!

 

 

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It Pays to Cooperate with Your Competitors

By Bigg Success Staff
06-26-08

Bigg Success in Business

cooperation 

Business owners are often a very competitive group. They want to stamp out their competition so they can gain market share. They’re always looking for a competitive advantage.

But sometimes you can make more money by working together.

Here’s an example
There are two established car dealers in a small community about thirty minutes away from a large city. Obviously they compete for the business of the people in their immediate community.

But at some point, they both approach the maximum amount of business that they can get from these people. Can they continue to grow?

Yes!

What if they promoted both of their dealerships together to people in the city? Talk about how they’re committed to saving people money to make it worth the drive.

It’s likely that neither one could afford to advertise in the larger market by themselves. But by working together, they can bring a whole new market into their stores.

It seems that you hear about “coopetition” with internet competitors. But it works offline as well.

Has it worked for you?

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

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Are You Fishing for Customers in the Wrong Hole?

“If you want to catch a trout, don’t fish in a herring barrel.” – Ann Landers

George said he’s been fishing at times when he would have been happy to catch any fish at all. He’s even had times when his friend a few feet away was catching all kinds of fish.

So he found out what his friend was using – what bait or lure – and changed his, but he still didn’t catch any fish. He concluded he was fishing in the wrong hole.
 


Fishing for business
Sometimes we experience the same thing when we’re fishing for business. We’re putting our line out but we don’t get any bites.

It may be that the customers aren’t where we’re fishing – they’re in another hole!

For example, maybe your customers are primarily shopping for your product or service online and you’re only marketing offline or vice versa.

People don’t use the internet for that

George remembers having a debate with one of his business managers. This happened to be a plumbing business. They were discussing how to allocate advertising dollars between various media. George thought they needed a bigger online presence. His manager insisted that customers wouldn’t go online if they had a plumbing emergency.

After surveying calls that came in, the manager reported back to George that an overwhelming majority of the people who had called with a plumbing emergency during that time period had found them via the internet.

Sometimes we think we know where our customers are, but our perceptions are clouded by our own biases. Fortunately, there’s a way to find out for sure.

Today’s bigg action item – survey your customers.

Find out how they learn about new things. The odds are your future customers are probably a lot like your current customers.

How one car dealer did it

One example of this is a car dealer. He had the employee who pulled the customer’s car into the service bay record what radio station was playing. He analyzed this information to determine which radio stations to use.

Is there some way in your business to naturally find out what media your customers use? If there is, develop a system to track the information so you know in which hole to cast your line.

Work with your direct mail supplier

Here’s another example from George’s service businesses. His mailing service was able to take his customer lists and ping the national databases to see where their existing customers fit in. Then they had a good profile of the people to target with future advertising – target people who are similar to your existing customers.

Survey them directly

You may just have a survey form that your customers fill out. Offer them some incentive to take the time to complete your survey. It may be a product or service you offer that’s relatively inexpensive …

… or cut a deal with another merchant – maybe even work a trade – to offer an incentive to your customers (e.g. movies, dessert, or gas)!

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615 Tips to Manage Your Business Better

By Bigg Success Staff
05-15-08

Bigg Success in Business

615

Update to this article 11-10-17:

When we posted this article back in 2008, there was a source that equaled 615 tips for your business.

BIGG Thanks to to Tom Keller of Digital.com for letting us know that some links here were no longer working, due to changes to the SCORE website.  But if you visit SCORE.org and click “Browse the Library” you’ll find a tool that lets you narrow your search results to find resources that best suit your situation. Smart!

They also have a page with a round-up of small business trends.

Between these 2 updated links, we’re sure you’ll find at least 615 tips if not more for your business.

Original article (with links removed)

Need a tip on business planning? How about 55?

Want a hint on raising capital and managing your finances? How about 55?

Would you like a pointer on marketing and public relations? How about 65?

There’s a great resource at SCORE called Top 5 Business Tips.

On this page, you’ll also find pointers about sales, customer service, office management, human resources, training, leadership, legal, taxes, e-business, and the web.

All on one page. 615 tips spread over 123 articles!

These articles are short and easy-to-digest. There’s not a lot of detail in each article, but they make fantastic thought-starters.

In case you’re not familiar with SCORE, it is a non-profit organization aligned with the United States Small Business Administration. When you need help for your small business, and you don’t have money for high-priced consultants, check out SCORE, the “Counselors to America’s Small Business”.

Find out when we post new articles. Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly.

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Remain Flexible to Sell Your House Faster

By Bigg Success Staff
04-15-08

Life Changes

sold 

As we’ve said before, we highly recommend that you sell your house through a qualified realtor. They will help you sell your house faster than it otherwise would.

As part of listing your house for sale, discuss contingency plans with your realtor. Specifically, discuss “what if”. Here are a few scenarios you may consider, depending on the circumstances at the time you list your house for sale:

  • What if enough people aren’t looking at it?
  • What if it doesn’t sell by a certain time?
  • What if the whole market is weak?
  • What if financing is tough to get?

Answering these questions upfront helps you plan logically. If you wait until you’re into the sales process to think about them, you may respond emotionally and against your best interests.

You should also discuss these alternatives, as well as new possibilities, as part of your 505 weekly report from your realtor].  He or she may suggest that you drop your price, offer an additional incentive to the buyers, spruce something up, and more.

These things may entice more people to look at your house and the more people who look at it, the more likely one of them will buy it. It is definitely a numbers game!

Your house is likely to sell faster if you listen to your realtor’s advice and remain flexible. As you gain new insight into market conditions, you can adapt your offering to find the buyer you need. 

Find out when we post new articles. Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly.

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

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