Entrepreneurship is filled with ups and downs. Sometimes it can be difficult to stay confident when the end is not in sight and challenges do arise. Often the data about the businesses that fail is overwhelming and discouraging. So what can a business owner do to stay confident?
First, you need to be ok with the challenges and discouragement. Recognize they are a part of this human experience and can be great educators. This opposition allows you to value the good at a greater level because they create a contrast.
Second, it is critical that you do not allow yourself to stay there. Discouragement is like quicksand. It bogs you down, traps you and hinders your progress. Take a moment to immediately look for the good. It is always there but our vision is too often clouded by the bad. Be lifted by the good away from the bad.
Finally, remember. Remember why you are doing what you are doing. Remember what works. Remember to DO what works. You can stay confident. Just accept, rejoice and remember.Read More
The Florida Small Business Development Center Network (FSBDCN) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1976. State designated as Florida’s Principal Provider of Business Assistance, the Florida SBDC Network has over 35 years of experience helping businesses start, grow and succeed.
The local SBDCs offer everything from extensive one-on-one consulting and small group workshops to large group meetings on important business topics. Training topics cover many areas of business operations including Business Start-up, Financial and Cash Flow Analysis, Accounting and Recordkeeping, Marketing and Sales, and Business Planning.
Why They Started:
Whether you’re starting a business, buying a business, growing a business or selling a business, the Florida SBDC Network can help.
Funded in 1976 by the US Small Business Administration (SBA), the Florida Small Business Development Center Network (FSBDCN), one of eight original SBDC pilot programs, successfully links the state’s education system with community outreach to aid in the development and education of the state’s entrepreneurs and small business community.
Who They Serve:
FSBDCN serves small and medium sized businesses.
With partners ranging from institutions of higher learning to federal, state and local governments to private organizations, and funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration, Florida SBDCs offer this business management and technical assistance at little or no cost.
Greatest Success Story:
Since its inception, the Florida SBDC Network has consulted 402,528 small business owners and entrepreneurs with 1,778,404 hours of one-on-one consulting and conducted 35,989 business training events for 741,050 participants.
In 2011, Florida’s SBDCs helped its clients open 1,026 businesses; create and save 16,914 jobs; win government contract awards worth $313.9 million; acquire $96.6 million in capital for business formation and expansion; and enjoy sales growth worth $317.9 million.
The Florida SBDC’s biggest challenge is raising more awareness on their services.
Word of Advice:
The Small Business Development Center Miami-Dade advises people to take advantage of valuable, no-cost consulting, training and information covering all areas of business management provided by their Certified Business Analysts (CBAs).
What to Remember About Them:
State designated as Florida’s Principal Provider of Business Assistance, the Florida SBDC Network has over 35 years of experience helping businesses start, grow and succeed. Florida SBDCs have assisted hundreds of thousands of potential and existing business owners by providing the management advice, training and information needed to make sound business decisions in a complex and ever-changing marketplace. With partners ranging from institutions of higher learning to federal, state and local governments to private organizations, and funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration, Florida SBDCs offer this business management and technical assistance at little or no cost.
Statewide with close to 40 locations from Pensacola to Key West, the FSBDCN’s integrated infrastructure has the professionals and partners needed to successfully serve the Florida business community. No matter the needs of the business, the FSBDCN has the expertise, tools and connectivity to help businesses succeed. Whether you’re starting a business, buying a business, growing a business or selling a business, the Florida SBDC Network can help.
FSBDC Miami-Dade – Miami; 8500 SW 8th St, Ste 224; Miami, FL 33144-4002
When it comes to the success of your small business, it may well turn out that it’s all about location. Based in part off of an article on CNNMoney, this post will focus on the importance of where you open your physical store(s) and what state you start your business in.
Location, Location, Location
If you can afford to, get a prime real estate location for opening your small business. Do the math and see what area you can afford to put your business’ name at. After balancing out where you can put your money, it could definitely be worth it to make a stretch for a better location. Advertising can be expensive, and if your store is out-of-the-way, out of eye’s sight, and hard to find, you’re going to have to spend even more time, money, and effort to advertise your business. When you get a better location where your store’s sign can be seen from major roads, you don’t have to spend as much money advertising because a lot of that job is taken care of simply by location.It’s not wise to get over your head in a lease for a location that you simply cannot afford. This is where wise planning and projections are crucial. Be honest in how much money you think you can bring in to support the location you choose.
Do your research beforehand. Go see for yourself the shopping centers where you know people go to. Where are locations that seem customer-friendly and will provide you with a great business opening? After you have a few spots in mind, go there and talk to the other business owners who have stores in the area. You may be able to find out how much they are paying for their location and get any tips or advice that could persuade you one way or the other. Also, put yourself in your potential customers’ shoes. If you were them, how would you find out about your store, and where would you expect to find your store? Where would you shop for your product and what location would entice you to actually go in the store?
Because you know your business the best, draw out what type of location you need and will bring you the most success. If your business does not interact with clients much or doesn’t rely on customers physically coming into the store, then having your business easily accessible to and visible by the public may not matter as much. Proximity to distributors or other partners or even transit and shipping areas may be much more important. If your business mostly relies on people physically coming into your store to purchase your products, then an easily-visible, friendly location may be everything to you.
No matter where you open your small business, there is a risk involved. Being an entrepreneur is not easy, but if it were then everyone would be in business for themselves. According to the article, states such as Arizona, Texas, California, Colorado, and Alaska make up the top five most friendly startup states. Missouri, Nevada, Vermont, Idaho, and Florida follow closely behind.
So what makes these states so startup friendly? One of the first and main reasons is that, in general, business and property taxes in these states are lower than others. Texas, for example, does not have personal or corporate income tax. Alaska does not have state income or sales tax. Nevada has no business income, estate or franchise tax, and income taxes are also low. Another reason is that worker’s compensation costs are also lower, such as in Arizona, which means less payout from small businesses that do not have a lot of capital and income to work with at first. Colorado even has a state-funded training program for business owners.
A growing population, such as in Texas, also helps to create more jobs, and when a growing population is coupled with universities that churn out graduates educated in areas such as science, technology, and business, you have a recipe for startup success.
Some states, such as Nevada, have streamlined the process for small business owners to get up and going. The easier and less expensive it is to start, the more people will be attracted to giving the entrepreneurial rout a shot. Other states, such as Florida, have reduced regulation and business taxes, which is a large draw.
Wherever you decide to start your small business, do the necessary research before you dive in. Every state is different in how they try to entice small businesses. Some states, such as California, are much more friendly to small businesses than large ones, so keep growth in mind as well. Your business’ needs will largely determine location.
I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying along the lines of “If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.” As a small business owner, your time is valuable. Helping your employees become more independent will free up more of your time and result in a more productive workplace. To give yourself more time and create independence in your employees, you need to teach your employees rather than just give them things. Once you show an employee how to accomplish a certain task or project in such a way that the employee can perform that task without your help in the future, you have created an employee who will become a large asset to your business.
Take the Time to Teach
A good teacher does not simply give students the answers, but shows the students how to get a certain outcome. Take a math teacher, for example. If the math teacher were to put the second-to-last step to achieving the answer to a given problem, the student would never build a base off of which he can work through the entire problem to get the right answer. Many times, teachers will require students to show their work and give points for almost getting the right answer rather than just listing the final answer without the work. Performing the work, or the start-to-finish of catching a fish, is how people learn the best. If you simply give your employee one easy part of the task without showing him how to actually do the task, the employee will be coming back to you and become dependent upon you whenever that task is before him.
A successful small business owner will take the time to teach his employees how to start and then complete a task, not skipping steps in between. It may be easier and take less time to give the employee a fish at first, but by teaching the employee you will create an employee who can actually help you in the future.
Don’t Be a “Hover-Employer” or Jump In
A hover parent is a parent who is always so close to their child and the child’s every move that they end up impeding the child’s growth and ability to be autonomous. The parent will be there to correct any mistakes before they’re made or keep the child from getting into trouble. Often, the parent will make the decisions for the child instead of relying on the child’s own judgment. Children of hover parents are often smothered by their parents’ presence and do not fully learn for themselves, becoming dependent in situations upon their parents’ help.
Don’t be a hover employer by breathing down the necks of your employees. This takes away their confidence because they will always be worried about doing something wrong, or they will turn to you whenever things become difficult. Forcing your employees to make their own decisions, and then allowing them to make mistakes to learn from them, is how you will best build independent employees. Be patient with your employees, because they are learning, just as you once did.
Compliment Your Employees and Give Them Responsibilities
It’s amazing how far a compliment will go in creating independent employees. Compliments will boost confidence, which will in turn encourage growth and result in independence. By giving your employees important responsibilities, you are building their self-esteem and showing them that you trust them to get the job done.
Independent employees do not turn to their employers for every question they have, but rather try to figure it out on their own first and learn the process before asking for help. Independent employees do not wait for a fish to be given to them, but are proactive in fishing for themselves. These are the types of employees you want. Employees who you can trust to get the job done so that you don’t have to take up your time with things that you can delegate. Let your employees know what their jobs are, how they can do them, show them what to do, inspire confidence, then let them get to work.
As a small business owner, it is your responsibility to help create independent employees. Be patient, take the time to teach them how to fish, trust them, and build their confidence. You will quickly find that independent employees make bosses happy.
About five years ago, the U.S. economy took a hit from which it is still trying to recover. Most businesses felt the effects of the hurt economy, and many businesses found themselves downsizing or closing altogether. Despite the rough times, some businesses found ways to survive, and some entrepreneurs actually used the time as an opportunity to create start-ups. This post will discuss a few ways business owners kept their businesses alive, based off an article from The New York Times titled “Strategies for Growth, Even in Down Times.”
Offering New Products
If your business is struggling, brainstorm ideas for new products that could help target a new crowd or excite consumers to buy from you. Society is constantly looking for the newest thing. People want what’s trending, what’s new and exciting, and what the next best and most impressive thing is. Offering a new product can be expensive, and sometimes there’s not enough resources available to do so. If you can’t afford to offer a new product, try improving your current line. Add something to the product that makes it “new” or stand out a little more. Spice up your product and attract more attention.
The article tells of a company that sells sandals, which experienced a cost increase to make their product and needed to stay afloat to save their business. Instead of developing a new sandal line, they added small jewelry that could be used to decorate the sandals and wear around ankles. The plan worked. Sometimes you don’t have to revamp what you are already doing, but simply get a little more creative and add to what has been working for you.
If the market is not generating enough incoming revenue for your business to currently succeed, try expanding to overseas markets. The same business that sold sandals, mentioned above, also decided to expand their business overseas. By finding partners and selling through local distributors, the business found that it was able to sell its products in foreign markets at a reasonable cost. The sandal business experienced growth by its venture overseas.
Changing Your Marketing Strategy
If your current marketing and advertising isn’t producing the results you want, you have a few options. Two of those include modifying who you’re marketing to and how you’re marketing. The article tells of a business that was hit hard by the economic downturn and met to brainstorm ideas to survive. The group decided that they needed to adjust what potential industries and clients they were going after. After some adjustment in their marketing, the company experienced a 40% growth last year as a result of their efforts to change their marketing strategy.
Another company mentioned in the article spent millions to revamp their technology so that they could appeal to a wider and different market. With their projections, they will soon break even and appeal to a much wider market, which will soon increase their profits exponentially.
Depending on the current size of your business, you can apply the above-mentioned strategies at whatever level is most applicable to you. Your business may not require that much change at the moment, or you could be in desperate need of anything that will work to help your company. Whatever your situation is, there is always room for improvement. Even if you’re not a large business, like the sandal business mentioned above, you can add to or modify your current product line or services, you can expand to other markets, or you can modify your current marketing strategy. It is possible to succeed in today’s economy – many small businesses are doing it.