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How to Grow Your Small Business in Any Economy, Part 2

How to Grow Your Small Business in Any Economy, Part 2

    Worried about growing your business during the recession? You don’t have to be. Make a few smart tweaks and your business will do more than just survive.

    The media attention placed on the recession could make almost anyone doubt a decision to enter the world of small-business ownership. But the fact is, if you focus your attention on the right things, your business can actually grow, even in challenging economic times.

    In “How to Grow Your Small Business in Any Economy, Part 1,” I focused on the mindset piece — getting your head in the right place for success. This week, I turn to more “nuts and bolts” subject matter to show you how you can increase your business stability and get your business growing.

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    Smart Strategies for Small Business

    Leverage all the profit centers in your business:

    Your business — every business — has hidden profit centers. You’ve probably got former clients who can be reactivated, points of impact where you can improve, processes that can be optimized, advertising that can be improved, passive streams of income that are literally waiting to be discovered. Leverage those profit centers and you could see an increase in profit that’s virtually unlimited!

    Protect Yourself:

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    A lot of small-business owners skip crucial elements to business success. I can’t tell you how many clients have come to me, a few years into their businesses, without having set up their companies with the Secretary of State, the IRS, or having met with an attorney to help them set up their operating agreements. These are things that could get you in a lot of trouble if you don’t do them the right way.

    Don’t Miss Critical Elements:

    There are other steps that won’t necessarily get you into legal trouble, but may cause headaches. Branding is an excellent example of one of the most missed steps in small business and can make or break your company. And, if you’re marketing to the wrong crowd, you’ll waste time and money. Get it right from the start, and you’ll achieve success faster.

    Do Your Research:

    Market research can save you a lot of time and heartache. Before you head into any business startup, you want to know your target market inside out. The questions you want to answer are:

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    • Who is my target market?
    • What keeps them up at night?
    • What can I deliver that solves their problems?
    • If I deliver what they want, will they buy it?

    Leverage Low-Cost, High-Impact Marketing Methods:

    A lot of new entrepreneurs develop complicated, expensive marketing campaigns without knowing what will really bring the biggest bang for their buck. There are countless inexpensive, high-impact marketing methods, and with the power of the Internet literally at our fingertips, it’s easier now than ever to build awareness for your brand.

    Plus, you really want to focus only on the strategies that will bring in the most business, and optimize them as much as possible to increase their effectiveness.

    Grow the Right Way:

    Adopt a “leap-frogging” approach to growing your business. Start your business using a low-risk business model and build from there, using the income to fund expansion and growth. This approach almost always allows my clients to start their own businesses without seeking any type of funding from lending institutions, venture capitalists or other investors.

    Get the Right Help:

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    Whatever stage you’re in with your business, choose to work with professionals who bring value to your business. The ideal business consultant is someone who understands different business models and can help you figure out the model that suits you best, help you uncover all the potential profit centers in your business, and show you how to increase your overall profitability. Work one-on-one with them to develop a sound business model and a strong brand with a viable, long-term marketing strategy and ask them to connect you to other professionals you need.


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    Susan Baroncini-Moe

    Susan Baroncini-Moe is an executive coach and business leader with over sixteen years’ experience.

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    Last Updated on March 29, 2021

    5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

    5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

    When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

    What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

    The Dream Type Of Manager

    My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

    I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

    My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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    “Okay…”

    That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

    I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

    The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

    The Bully

    My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

    However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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    The Invisible Boss

    This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

    It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

    The Micro Manager

    The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

    Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

    The Over Promoted Boss

    The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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    You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

    The Credit Stealer

    The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

    Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

    3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

    Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

    1. Keep evidence

    Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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    Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

    Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

    2. Hold regular meetings

    Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

    3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

    Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

    However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

    Good luck!

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