Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Dreams meet reality

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     to help you better manage your small business.

     When you get caught up in your dreams, you run the risk of ignoring everyday realities. It can happen to every business owner.

     Example: Cedric Sr. started a tee shirt operation years ago. He worked very hard, keeping the business lean and mean. It supported the family and sent Cedric Jr. to college. When Cedric Jr. took over the business from his dad, he had bigger dreams. He expanded the old website and he posted lots of pictures on social media. Orders for tee shirts exploded, orders came in from all over, and shipments went out every day. Cedric Jr. arranged for a loan to expand the operation. He moved into larger quarters, bought more equipment, and hired more people. Suddenly, the economy tanked and orders dropped. He had trouble meeting the monthly payments on the loan. And then there was the rent on the increased space. He laid off people, and some of his equipment now lays idle. Going on social media was a good idea, but taking on lots of new debt and expanding too fast was a bad idea. He let his dreams get ahead of reality.

     When you think ahead, you do a business plan. The numbers don't lie, and this keeps your dreams in sync with reality. Always factor in changes you see in the economy and the market you serve.

     Example: Kathy runs a small tea shop. Customers come in, browse the dozens of different teas, sip a sample, and purchase tea to take home. It was a nice little business, but Kathy wanted to expand. She familiarized herself with social media, and she began posting pictures on Facebook. Suddenly, her website was more active--people began ordering packaged teas online, rarely, if ever, coming to the shop. One customer asked a question: "Will you ship tea to me on a regular basis, like a standing order?" That question prompted Kathy to offer standing orders for tea on her website and on social media. Today, Kathy spends most of her time filling orders to be shipped out.

     Older business owners frequently don't appreciate the value of social media. It is changing the way customers get what they want. 

     Remember that it is the marketplace that determines your success. Customers are well aware of the value of social media in their lives. They are increasingly using social media. This has a big effect on your business. It's where dreams meet reality.  

     Turning your business dreams into reality means that you must use all the tools available to you. Customers put a high value on convenience. In fact, with many businesses, a case can be made that convenience is what you are selling. 


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