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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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Two Billionaire Investors Give Their Two Cents Worth

By Bigg Success Staff
09-26-08

Bigg Success with Money

2_cents 

Warren Buffett, the richest man in the world according to Forbes, may well be the greatest investor of all time. Not surprisingly, he recently made a sizeable investment in Goldman Sachs, one of the firms who had been battered by the recent crisis on Wall Street.

Typical Buffett move.

It goes along with his strategy “to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy when others are fearful.”

So what does Buffett know? Why is he willing to invest now in the midst of all this financial turmoil?

Benjamin Graham, Warren Buffett’s college professor and mentor said, “An investor’s worst enemy is not the stock market, but oneself.”

Profiting from pessimism

A great book by Robert Hagstrom, Jr. called The Warren Buffett Way: Investment Strategies of the World’s Greatest Investor, quotes Buffett:

“The most common cause of low prices is pessimism – sometimes pervasive, sometimes specific to a company or an industry. We want to do business in such an environment, not because we like pessimism but because we like the prices it produces. It’s optimism that is the enemy of the rational buyer.”

However, many investors do the opposite. They buy when everyone is buying, which drives prices higher. They sell when everyone is selling, driving prices down.

Think of it this way – if all the restaurants in your community suddenly cut their prices by twenty percent, would you eat out more?

Of course you would!

This billionaire’s stocks returned 9,900 percent

Another man who understood business and stock market cycles was the late J. Paul Getty, one of the world’s first billionaires and, at one time, the richest man in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

In his book, How To Be Rich, he says, “I began buying stocks at the depths of the Depression. Prices were at their lowest, and there weren’t many stock buyers around. Most people with money to invest were unable to see the forest of potential profit for the multitudinous trees of their largely baseless fears. I had confidence in the future of the American economy and realized that shares of many entirely sound companies with fine potentials were selling at only a fraction of their true worth.”

He goes on to say that he made over 100 times his investment on many of these stocks, bought during the depths of the Great Depression!

The best time to buy stocks

He continues, “Common stocks should be purchased when their prices are low, not after they have risen to high levels during an upward bull-market spiral. Buy when everyone is selling and hold on until everyone else is buying – this is more than just a catch slogan. It is the very essence of successful investment.”

How did he have so much confidence that prices would go up?

Because as he explains, “History shows that the overall trend of stock prices – like the overall trend of living costs, wages and almost everything else – is up. Naturally there have been and always will be dips, slumps, recessions and even depressions, but these are invariably followed by recoveries which carry most stock prices to new highs. Assuming that a stock and the company behind it are sound, an investor can hardly lose if he buys shares at the bottom and holds them until the inevitable upward cycle gets under way.”

The worst time to sell

J. Paul Getty fully understood the turbulence we faced. While every stock market crash or bear market has its own unique features, they also have a lot in common.

Getty said, “The anatomy of a stock market boom-and-bust … is not too difficult to analyze. The seeds of any bust are inherent in any boom that outstrips the pace of whatever solid factors gave it its impetus in the first place.”

Getty offered advice to weather the storms. He said, “Another valuable investment secret is that the owners of sound securities should never panic and unload their holdings when prices skid. Countless individuals have panicked during slumps, selling out when their stocks fell a few points, only to find that before long the prices were once more rising.”

Think about the advice from these two great investors when you’re thinking of buying … or selling.

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