Thursday, October 29, 2015

Choosing directions

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     to help you better manage your small business

     Managing a business is an art, not a science. You can use inputs from science and technology, but how you put it all together is unique to you. 

     It is a high wire act and you are juggling limited funding with marketplace realities. You must like this balancing act to be successful in building and operating a business.

     Artists who live by their creations, alternative health practitioners, technology businesses, restauranteurs and every other small business owner must tackle each day with gusto, choose among the many possibilities, and enjoy the process. 

     Managing involves many pieces. You motivate yourself and your employees. You watch the bottom line. You prepare for emergencies. You stay on top of technology. You stay alert to market opportunities. And, most importantly, you listen to your clients/customers.

     Example: Alex is an artist who paints in oils. His abstracts attract attention, but sales are not enough to support him and his family. He began doing portraits, but commissions are few and far between. At a show where Alex was displaying his works, he overheard someone say that there was nothing available priced low enough to be considered as gifts to friends. It gave him an idea. Today, Alex turns out many small paintings, quickly done, and reasonably priced. He frames them himself and sells them on his website, in high-end gift shops, and at shows. He has found a way to make ends meet.

     Listen to the marketplace. You gotta give 'em what they want.

     Example: Mary is an expert Reiki practitioner. She works from home, seeing clients at their place. Mary was approached by a wellness center to join the group. For a reasonable monthly payment, she would have her own room to see clients. With her certifications, Mary could now offer to teach others. And by being part of the wellness center, she is attracting more clients. It was a good directional choice for her business.

     Joining with compatible business partners can solve growth problems. 

     Example: Sue runs a small printing operation. She stays on top of the technology that has revolutionized the printing industry. Instead of listening to salespeople trying to sell her bigger presses, Sue opted for a newer, smaller, cheaper, technologically advanced press that could turn out short-run color work. She chose a direction that has propelled her into a narrow, but very profitable, market segment. 

     Technology changes everything. All businesses are affected.  

     Managing a small business means you stay on top of everything. You make all the decisions. Then you take out the trash and turn off the lights.  

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