Compared to other workers, entrepreneurs tend to enjoy an advantage in financial literacy. The know-how required to invest, organize, and save funds for a business often applies well to personal finance management, so these individuals run a “tighter ship” at home.
But this isn’t always the case. Business owners can lose their way financially by going to one of two extremes: Tying their personal finances too closely to their business resources, or running their personal finances quite differently from how they manage company money.
An unbalanced approach in either direction can lead to financial difficulties in the form of squeezed budgets and damaged credit. On the other hand, entrepreneurs who can strike a middle ground between these extremes enjoy greater financial security and success in their business and personal lives.
A lot of people like to fool you and say that you’re not smart if you never went to college, but common sense rules over everything. That’s what I learned from selling crack. -Snoop Dogg
My name is Stephanie St.Claire, and I am an unfunded entrepreneur. I’ve been in business for 4 years, after engaging in my own personal and tenuous renaissance uh…divorce and rediscovering my Divine Core Purpose. In other words, I grew a pair of ladyballs and started living the life I always wanted to while making money doing it.
But there was a LOT to learn, and some of those things weren’t covered in Who Moved My Cheese. Throw these 4 rockstars into a blender, and you’ll have a composite sketch of me in the first three months of my business:
Glitter was literally shooting out of my eye sockets as I quit my PR firm job and started my own business. Full of optimism, living in New York City, and surrounded by a tribe of friends who were also launching businesses, art, and gigs, I felt it was the perfect time to make the bold move to entrepreneurship. I was now officially Living My Dream and Working For Myself which meant that I was In Charge of My Financial Destiny and Captain of My Promising Future.
As I left our home and drove around the mountain, fog enveloped me quickly. Unexpectedly.
There was no sign of fog when I pulled out of our garage.
The business environment changes that quickly, also, particularly with what influences our customers’ and clients’ lives.
For example, the shooting down of the Malaysia airliner over the Ukraine suddenly dominates our conversations, news media, buying habits, and prayers. It fogs our perception.
So how do you do business when tragedy fogs over your business? Here are 3 Strategies to Work Positive in a Tragedy.
Are you doing the bare minimum when it comes to your small business website? Just having a website is no longer enough if it ever was. You’ve got to take action to get potential customers to discover, engage with and buy from your business. And that means creating an integrated online marketing plan where all parts of your Web presence work together.
Deluxe Corporation recently polled small business owners to find out what they’re doing online. Here’s some of what they found:
Small business owners say word-of-mouth is their most important way of engaging with customers 73 percent. However, they don’t seem to realize that social media has become a crucial part of word-of-mouth. Just 21 percent say social media is an important way to engage with customers; in comparison, 40 percent say business cards are.
What about websites? While two-thirds of small business owners have a business website, that number is still way too small. As I mentioned earlier, having a website is the bare minimum these days. Small business owners are also falling short in what features they have on their website. Fewer than half have photos or videos; just 32 percent use search engine optimization SEO, and only 28 percent have reviews or social media share/follow buttons.
You probably remember the old saw about the wisdom of bringing a knife to a gunfight. Obviously you’ll be out matched and have a bad day. Yet, so much of the thinking that goes into shaping and changing companies revolves around the tools and tactics that a consultant brings to the table (the knife), rather that the reasons for them to be used (the gunfight).
This isn’t helped by the fact that many change consultants and coaches are clueless about how to run a company day to day and how to manage people with varying interests and agendas. What usually happens is the consultant will bring in whatever tool set they have developed (or are required to use) and apply tactics to the situation without developing an overall strategy.
For example, a closely held company was run by the four people who founded it. Over the ten years it’s been in operation, a lot of the control became concentrated with one autocratic founder. This person rubbed everyone, including customers, the wrong way. Yet, because of loyalty, and perhaps fear, the other three founders ignored his behavior. As would be expected, this individual’s performance began to affect the company negatively. A consultant we know was hired to help them sort out the situation.
Given the slight chances of success, it’s a marvel anyone ever starts a business at all. One-third of new ventures close within two years, half within five years, and so on: only one in four is still around 15 years after opening day. But all that failure may offer its own reward, according to new research from a pair of economists from Stanford and the University of Michigan. They found that failed entrepreneurs are far more likely to be successful in their second go-around, provided they try again.The entrepreneurship studies that grab headlines tend to focus on investor-backed, technology start-ups. Those types of firms aren’t the norm. Most new businesses are still small, local retailers. To understand how these enterprises fare, Francine Lafontaine and Kathryn Shaw studied the successes and failures of retail entrepreneurs in Texas from 1990 to 2011. Over the 21-year-period, 2.4 million retail businesses opened and 2.2 million closed. Three out of every four were founded by first-time business owners.
Customer service should be a top priority for any company. Customers keep your business going, and making them happy is the best way to ensure that they’ll continue to come back. In today’s world of social media and 24/7 connectivity, it’s easier than ever to keep the lines of communication open between you and your customers.
“We live in an age when everyone is constantly connected to each other via the digital universe across email, Twitter, chat, etc.,” said John Joseph, co-founder of data solutions provider DataGravity. “Technology gives [businesses] the ability to correspond with customers more efficiently, and companies — especially startups — need to take advantage of the tools they have to communicate with customers.