Monday, November 3, 2008

Taking Care of Your Business in Hard Times

Just a few tips from The New York Times' Small Busines Page. I am just capturing the highlights of Tool Kit - How to Avoid Becoming a Failure Statistic:

POGO WAS RIGHT “Businesses perish in untimely ways, many of which are largely out of an entrepreneur’s control: There’s too much competition. The public is no longer interested in your product or service,” writes Geoff Williams in Entrepreneur. Or you could be a victim of bad luck, he says.


FOCUS, FOCUS AND FOCUS Underscoring the point
that your biggest enemy could be you, Karyn Greenstreet, who describes
herself as a self-employment expert and small-business coach, writes,
“Dunn and Bradstreet recently did a study and determined that “90
percent of small businesses that fail do so because of a lack of skills
and knowledge on the part of the owner.”


KNOWLEDGE IS POWER Given the competitive
landscape, a small-business owner needs to “understand his or her
market as well as he or she understands their best friend, their
spouse, or the back of their hand,” argues
Shane Messer, chief executive of the Incubator Group, a private equity
firm in Nashville. “So much so that they can predict movements and
purchasing habits with uncanny accuracy.”


THE OTHER GUY says learning about your market extends to understanding what the competition is doing.


LAST CALL Invariably, entrepreneurs are given all kinds of suggestions. And while most of it is probably meant to be helpful,, a small business resource site, has identified 10 of the “silliest bits of advice to ignore” when you are running a small business.

These are among our favorites:

you need to do is think success.” As the article points out, you can
think all the positive thoughts you want, but nothing good is going to
happen until you make it happen.

¶“There’s no reason why you
can’t be as successful as So and So.” Sure there is. So and So could be
smarter, have more capital, a better marketing plan, superior people,
better skills.” You get the idea.

¶“You can always return to what
you were doing before,” if things don’t work out. That may well be
true, but as the article points out, “Never allow yourself an easy way
out — because at the first sign of trouble, you’ll take it. Think
winning, not retreating.”