Small Biz Lessons from a Road Trip

Just back from a cross-country driving trip, first in many years. I was pleased to note that there were wind turbines in every state as we drove to Colorado. Much else along I-70 looked very much as it has for decades, except in those cities which have grown. While I enjoyed the break, I noticed some lessons for many of us.

How do you publicize your business?

Talk about realizing how little I have been doing in recent years to attract new business! Reminded me how many organizations I know which have not changed their advertising or publicity much in recent years either. This thought first came to me as I moved into the land of billboards. I do not see billboards much in regular activities so their profusion was noticeable. But as I paid attention, I saw far more. There also were smaller signs on farmer’s fences. There was more advertising on cars and trucks. Several of the hotels we stayed at had far more available in pamphlets and flyers for area businesses and attractions, a few even had 10% discount coupons at the registration desk.

None of these may work for you. But what I am recommending is that you take a look at what you do now and whether it is what you really need.

Do you have an active plan that is relevant to your business or non-profit’s work?
Are you using the right social media and using it effectively?
Do you have a referral program?  Are you working it regularly?
Are you active in local business and professional organizations?
What else can you do that will help you continue to succeed?

What steps are you taking to build in diversity and inclusion?

Even as […]

By |September 4th, 2018|Business planning, hiring, Small Biz|Comments Off on Small Biz Lessons from a Road Trip

Why You Cannot Ignore Cybersecurity

For many enterpreneurs, solopreneurs, and non-profits, even thinking about cyber-anything is frightening. You know there are dangers but who can keep up, how can you understand the problems you face? Still, you must. Small businesses and individuals are targets for hackers, fraud, and other efforts that require some understanding and actions.

These risks are real and they can seriously hurt you and your business if ignored.  You know that but what to do…

Recently Elizabeth Moon of Focus Data Systems and I did a webinar on common issues you need to understand and address. We talked about the issues and trends in cybersecurity and how you can work to minimize risks at every level. If you have employees, we covered some of the major issues we have seen in what and what not to do with employees to enhance your organization’s security.

Watch and listen – Small Biz Nightmares – Cybersecurity

By |June 17th, 2018|Business planning, culture, Small Biz, Smart practices|Comments Off on Why You Cannot Ignore Cybersecurity

Millennials and Our Future

I am not a big fan of business books. So many are one small idea blown into a book and poorly written too. But I recently read a book with some ideas useful to any small business or non-profit.

When Millennials Take Over by Jamie Notter and Maddie Grant

This is an optimistic look at the future of business. It is a short, easy read. Better yet, you may already being doing parts of what they suggest is the future of business – to be digital, clear, fluid, and fast. As you know if we have met, I am not a big fan of the hype surrounding the millennials. They are not so different or so bad but are much like past generations were in their 20-30s. What they do bring is a different view of many technologies and of data-gathering. The book recognizes the hype early but uses them to organize its premise of the changes hitting most organizations over the past five to ten years and how millennials expectations can offer some solutions.

Digital refers to ‘organizing and working in ways that leverage’ the possibilities of digital technology.
Clear refers to the ‘value of clarity’ inside organizations. And many small businesses do this just to stay in business and grow.
Fluid refers to how the ‘heirarchy shifts and morphs decision-making’ as needed to be most effective.
Speed refers not to incremental steps but to the mindset and practices that allow your to leap forward as needed.

The book helps you make sense of ways to reduce the administrivia that stops many people from contributing all which they can. It not only demonstrates the critical aspects of your organizational culture to your success but also shows how that impacts the […]

By |December 29th, 2015|Business planning, Policies and Practices, Small Biz|Comments Off on Millennials and Our Future

Celebrate Small Business!

Just returned from talking to the Women Veterans Conference on starting a business. What a great group of interesting ideas and plans among the attendees! As we celebrate Small Business Week, here are some useful background details for your use.

There are 23 million small businesses in the US and 3/4th are solopreneurs. Small businesses generate 54% of all US sales and provide 55% of all jobs.

Studies show that entrepreneurs who want to build a company flourish in places that
– have plenty of other entrepreneurs already,
– provide extensive learning options, and
– offer inspiration.

Veterans own 9% of all small businesses and are more likely to succeed than people without military service. These 2.4 million vets have $1.2 trillion in revenue. Their success is built on three main advantages. They understand the need to think ahead but also that plans change or fall apart and you have to be flexible. They have dealt with diverse people and groups successfully. They are experienced in hard work and used to heavy demands common in starting up. A slightly higher portion of veterans build companies than go out on their own in comparison to civilians.

Women are the fastest growing group of new business owners. There are 9.1 million women who have $1.4 trillion in revenue. A higher portion of women are solopreneurs than build companies. New women owned businesses are growing at a rate of 1288 per day according to SBA figures!

Currently there are a wide range of organizations supporting efforts to help people become successful entrepreneurs. These include the Kauffman Foundation, AARP, and many others.

How are you using Small Business Week to grow and develop your own business? Are you celebrating it in any way with your customers or […]

How Can I Help You?

I was appointed to the Virginia Small Business Development Center’s Advisory Board and am quite honored. One of our roles has to do with enhancing outreach. What does this mean to you and your organization?

Do you know about the many services available through your local SBDC? Do you attend events there to meet people who might be good business connections? Or go to learn critical information to your success?

I have worked for several years with the Alexandria SBDC to provide free seminars on critical HR topics for small businesses and non-profits. Last year they began offering their clients a free hour of my time to discuss HR issues – and we have covered a wild (and wide) range. They offer many other such free seminars and events covering social media, marketing, health-care reform, and business planning.
If you are interested in learning more, do contact your local SBDC and see what they can do for your organization! If you are interested in specific issues which might be a good focus for the SBDCs across Virginia, let me know. I look forward to helping small organizations benefit from SBDC services. And to representing small organizations, solopreneurs, and veterans to the Virginia SBDC.

Smart HR Moves for 2014

Come join me for a great discussion at the Alexandria Small Business Development Center. We will talk about easy ways to tame your HR challenges.  This will include some simple solutions, ideas for creating a pro-active employee communication process, and provide compliance deadlines you need to know for your calendar and planning.  Whether you have employees or sub-contractors or independent contractors – or just want to get ready to grow,  this program can help.

And SBDC events are a great way to grow your network too.   Plus the price is right – free.

Just register at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/managing-your-employees-smart-moves-for-success-in-2014-registration-9816745149