The 70 Best Business Ideas for Small Business Managers
This guide feature a whopping 70 business strategies and ideas that cover a variety of essential business situations. It will teach you scores of tricks, secrets and shortcuts -- and teach them so that you can start using them at once. This guide does far more than impart knowledge... it inspire action.
Here's just a small sample of what’s in the book:
* How to Make a Good First Impression
* Warning Signs That Your Business is in Trouble
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We sometimes get only one chance to make an impression on someone either in our personal or business life. Therefore it is important to remember some basic things to do that will assure us of making the best impression possible. The following are ten of the most common things people can do to make the best first impression possible.
1. Appear Neat And Dress Appropriately.
Being neat in our appearance is something we can do regardless of whether we are trying to make a good impression on someone or not. In a *first meeting* situation for business, to show up in jeans, tennis shoes and with uncombed hair would be a big mistake. If the situation is social, dressing casual is fine depending on where you are meeting, but being well groomed is always going to make a good impression.
2. Maintain Good Eye Contact.
From the first time you meet the person unlit you part, maintain good direct eye contact with them. This usually indicates to people that you are listening to them, interested in them, and friendly. You need not stare or glare at them. Simply focus on them and their immediate direction the majority of the time. When talking, look at them also, since your new acquaintance wants to be sure you are talking to him/her and not the floor. It also will give you an idea of how the person is receiving what you are saying to them if you are looking at them.
3. Shake Their Hand At The Beginning And When Parting.
Whether it is a business meeting or a social occasion, most people appreciate or expect a friendly handshake. The best kind are firm (no need to prove your strength) and 3-5 seconds long. Pumping up and down or jerking their arm about is not needed nor usually welcomed. A *limp rag* handshake is not recommended unless you have good reason to believe shaking the person's hand any harder would injure them. Look at them in the eye when shaking their hand.
4. SMILE! :-)
This is a checklist to identify warning signals that a business is in or is heading towards a crisis state.
Cash flow problems
The business owner might not have a clear report on receivables nor have a process for maximizing revenues. There could be delays
in paying bills and meeting salary and other expenses in a timely fashion.
Lack of profitability
The business owner might not have set profitability goals and/or might not be tracking profits. Or, these mechanisms could be in
place, but the business is just not profitable.
Issues Related to Products and Services
A successful business requires a clear definition of products and services it offers. It is a warning if a business owner cannot clearly define the business, is not monitoring the shifting marketplace demands, and is not offering highly marketable products and services.
Business Owner has Weak Personal Foundation
A business owner might have personal problems affecting his or her ability to effectively manage the business.
The staff might exhibit low morale, the company might be losing its best people to competitors, or the overall work environment might not be encouraging high productivity from its employees.
It is a warning if the business owner cannot define the ideal customer. Other warnings are lack of effective communication channels with the customers, customer lawsuits, high volume of customer complaints, a lot of product returns, and low customer retention.
Business expansions or alliances that are creating problems
A business might expand too quickly or into the wrong markets. It might form alliances with companies that are not a good match and
will not enhance profitability.
Lack of succession planning
A business might lack succession planning. This is a warning for family owned and non family owned businesses.
Lack of business vision and/or mission
The lack of a business vision and/or mission might be evident in lack of teamwork or a weak company culture.
Lack of business growth
The lack of a business plan with clear cut goals could be the source of slow business growth and a strong warning that a turnaround strategy is needed.
1. Start with the end in mind.
Develop a clear picture of what you want to accomplish. State the end results in one sentence that even a child can imagine, understand and remember. Consider the power of President Kennedy's goal "to send a man to the moon and bring him safely back home within this decade". Thousands of people did very detailed work and spent billions of dollars based on this simply stated goal.
2. Develop a written plan.
Get it on paper (or on the computer). Make the plan as specific as possible, in terms of what will be done and by when.
3. Enlist support of others.
Let them know what you are doing, and how they and others will benefit from the results you want to produce. Invite them to lend their support however they can.
4. Set up milestones and reporting systems.
Break the job down into segments, and set target dates for completing each segment. Develop a reporting system on paper or via a good software program. Send regular reports to people who are working on your team, or who have an interest in your project.
5. Have a support system.
Set up the supports you need in your work and in your personal life. Have one or more advisors that you meet with regularly to report progress, and get advice and encouragement. Your personal coach can be one of these key people.
6. Monitor progress and make adjustments.
Realize that even the best plans need to be adjusted in the heat of battle. Make adjustments quickly and respond to new opportunities or short cuts along the way that help you reach your destination faster. If you find it difficult to get around or through certain roadblocks, get help and advice promptly.
7. Form mutually beneficial alliances with others.
Find out what other people or groups are natural allies and team up with them so you can help each other reach your objectives more easily and effectively.
8. Work your plan regularly and continuously.
Maintain a high focused activity level yourself, and get help when you need it. Don't try to do everything yourself. Delegate as much as you can, and follow up with those to whom you delegate work.
9. Keep your allies on your side and your enemies at bay.
Inform your allies about progress you are making and problems you are having. Thank them for their help. Protect yourself from important enemies by setting up and maintaining boundaries between yourself and your enemies. Recognize that enemies can be within you as well as about you. When you find that you are doing things that impede your own progress, replace that activity or habit with a better one. Ask your advisors what you personally can do better. Then put the corrections in place.
10. Celebrate progress along the way and at the completion of your work.
Share the glory. Recognize and thank the people who have helped you produce results.
1. Know your personal values.
What's most important to you personally? When you know your values, you'll better filter new information and opportunities and can rely better on your intuition because you know what you're hearing and how it fits in with you.
2. Get candid input from at least 5 other people who know you well.
While it's nice to get input from experts, it's as valuable to get points of view from colleagues, family members, key employees who know you -- they know your tendencies, your moods, the way you think, your blind spots, your passions. Let them guide you.
3. Have a really big, big picture.
When you know your long term goals, have a vision or have a helicopter view of the current situation or opportunity, you'll be "seeing more" and thus have more information on which to base your decision.
4. Always have a Plan B, Plan C and Plan D ready to go!
You can improve your good judgment by having back up plans, whether you need them or not.
5. Don't put yourself in situations where you are forced to rely too much
on your "good judgment." This one is important. After all, shouldn't you be enough ahead of the curve to have been making good decisions along the way so that having "good judgment" doesn't become critical? Don't confuse good judgment with crisis management.
6. Separate the facts from the interpretation of the facts.
There are very few facts that aren't also coupled with someone's (even your) interpretation of the facts. Either sales are down 20% or they are not. An explanation is just that. There are great explanations, few of which are worth banking your business on. If sales are down, assume they'll stay down until you do something about it.
7. Always include a worst-case scenario -- and make it a really bad scenario.
For a decade or two, Detroit kept factoring in worst-case scenarios, yet they continually came up short because they took incremental actions based on what they wanted to believe would happen, not what was so clearly a long-term trend of foreign-made cars slicing up their market share. Living in denial is always expensive -- yet we all do it. A good way to get out of denial is to assume that sales will drop 50% in the next year (think Volkswagen) and "be ready" for that possibility. Just by including that option and developing options at that level, one will make a better decision about what is more likely to happen.
8. Always look at the downside of every decision you make.
If you're adding a new product, increasing the customer service budget, reducing overhead, permitting use of your name/trademark, entering into a co-venture agreement, make a list of the 10 potentially negative and even deadly consequences of even a no-brainer/excellent change. Everything affects everything today -- and unexpectedly. If you respect this ecological truth you'll realize that every decision affects, in some way, you, your employees, your shareholders, your profitability and your viability.
9. Seek to enhance your reputation first; bottom line second.
I used to base most of my decisions on whether or not my company would make more money. But than I realized that the future of my business came from my current customers, their word-of-mouth and from the press we were beginning to receive from the national media. At that point, it occurred to me that if I'd just invest more money in our reputation and make my decisions based more on reputation than quarterly profitability, I'd be a lot more financially successful --- and more proud of my company, too.
10. Hang out with others who have excellent judgment.
There are so many subtleties about acquiring and developing good judgment that most of the process comes best from friends, colleagues, competitors and staff who already have great judgment. Learn from them, in every conversation.
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