Success in Small Business is a Laughing Matter AUTHOR: J. Phillips L. Johnston, J.D. PUBLISHER: AuthorHouse DATE OF PUBLICATION: 2007 264 pages
<ul><li>This book deals with how to establish and successfully manage any kind of small business. It delivers its messages with a dose of humor without leaving out the most important points to remember : management practices that work , the power of motivation , and success brought about by leadership . </li></ul><ul><li>Each chapter is filled with practical examples that readers can learn from in order to improve their businesses. </li></ul><ul><li>Success in Small Business is a Laughing Matter reminds its readers to always take their work and professionalism seriously, but not themselves , remembering that leadership is character in action in service to others . </li></ul>THE BIG IDEA
WHY YOU NEED THIS BOOK <ul><li>For those who have been struggling with their businesses for some time now, this book could be just what the doctor ordered. This book will help readers get over the feeling of being nothing more than small-time 'wannabe' business owners and will motivate them to become battered, bruised, but wiser veterans of any small business. </li></ul><ul><li>This book will serve as a companion that understands the frustrations of would-be businesspeople, their challenges and difficulties by making them laugh and chuckle, and helping them to succeed. </li></ul>
WHY BECOME A SMALL BUSINESS OWNER? <ul><li>Small business owners enjoy freedom and independence as they think of reasons for changing “we” to the singular form. They don’t have to spend hours in a meeting and they achieve the esteem and type of job security that every one desires. The small business entrepreneur can never be axed! </li></ul><ul><li>Other Advantages of Small Business Ownership </li></ul><ul><li>Aside from tax advantages, owning your own business is an anti-inflation hedge , an often-overlooked advantage. </li></ul><ul><li>Since you are not dealing with a fixed income but rather with prices that can be adjusted regularly to pass on increasing costs, you can adjust to a bloated inflationary trend . </li></ul><ul><li>You can position yourself head-on against other small businesses which are often poorly managed. </li></ul>
SELECTING THE BUSINESS <ul><li>What is a Small Business? It is more broadly defined as one that is independently owned and operated, and is not dominant in its field regardless of resources, earning power, or number of employees. </li></ul><ul><li>Establishing Criteria. Identify the risk to be weighed and assessed by relying on these suggested standards: </li></ul><ul><li>Choose to offer products or services which fit a continuing human need. Do not seek to follow fads. </li></ul><ul><li>2. Any small company must have a specialized niche if it is to succeed… </li></ul><ul><li>The business should not need expensive energy, advertising, legal advice and the like . Keep your overhead low. </li></ul>
SELECTING THE BUSINESS More Criteria… 4. The business must have as few employees as possible but high per capita sales . 5. You should sell products that are difficult to copy or duplicate . 6. Aim to work on low cash expenditures and cash revenues instead of credit , thereby keeping capital requirements to a minimum. 7. Choose a business which may be easily relocated if necessary. 8. Most of all choose a business you can love . Risk Considerations. Even though a small business has high risk, it also has the highest degree of payoff to the owner or owners. Where Will Tomorrow’s Growth Be? The next step is evaluating general beliefs concerning what tomorrow’s business world might look like and which industry, or segment of an industry, might benefit .
LIVE THE SERMON <ul><li>Here are four trademarks of one who leads by example: </li></ul><ul><li>Be an eloquent listener. Most business communications are not public speeches or written memos, but verbal one-on-one communications . </li></ul><ul><li>Practice the lost art of saying “no” graciously. Always think about how to deliver the “No” message with the goal of preserving friendship . </li></ul><ul><li>Know thyself. Equally important is your knowledge of yourself – knowing your own strengths and shortcomings . </li></ul><ul><li>4. Don’t feather your own nest. Don’t use your position for personal gain or glory . </li></ul>
OF ORG CHARTS & YELLOW-BILLED OXPECKERS <ul><ul><li>A general job description should appear on a line-and-staff organization chart. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>By incorporating a general job description into the organizational chart, the reader is given an instant, clear snapshot of the organization . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You want subordinates to be like Yellow-billed Oxpeckers – these live on the backs of rhinoceroses, keeping the rhinos free of bloodsucking ticks and warning of impending dangers by flying up with rattling cries . </li></ul></ul>
SELECTING MANAGERS <ul><ul><li>Here are some important tips to select the right people : </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In reading a resume, consider it favorable for small business if the applicant’s educational background is in liberal arts . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The applicant’s scholastic record should be pertinent to the vacancy he or she is applying to fill. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The interview with the applicant is very important because in the business world first impressions gained from first meetings are all too lasting . </li></ul></ul>
SELECTING MANAGERS <ul><ul><li>Over-aggressiveness , verbosity , a lack of clarity in expressing views , a tendency to lecture the interviewer , a tendency to be overly critical of employers, and poor grooming and dress should be enough to short-circuit any further consideration. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>You will also find it helpful to meet the applicant’s spouse , if he or she is married, since he or she will become a silent partner in your business . </li></ul><ul><li>Administer aptitude tests to provide an indication of the applicant’s probable success. </li></ul>
KEEP THE COMMUNICATION LINES OPEN Take the time to visit and ask how your employees are doing to let them know how much they are appreciated and to remind them of the importance of their service to the company. It requires a small expenditure of your time but will return its weight in gold. It is also advisable to create a common venue for the meeting of ideas and announcements by creating a bulletin board . Just make sure to encase it under glass so you can prevent the appearance of such employee-inspired pranks.
COMMUNICATE PROPERLY! 12 E-mail Don’ts (1-6) 1. Don’t forget etiquette . E-mails require gentility as a show of respect for the recipient. 2. Don’t just start into the subject of the e-mail . Begin with a greeting or salutation and end with a proper closing. 3. Don’t use all lower case or ALL UPPERCASE IN YOUR E-MAILS . 4. Don’t overuse exclamation marks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! One is sufficient. 5. Don’t write longer than two paragraphs . 6. Don’t disregard the importance of the subject line . It should summarize the message contained in the body in one brief sentence.
COMMUNICATE PROPERLY! 12 E-mail Don’ts (7-12) 7. Don’t ever presume you are anonymous using e-mail . 8. Don’t send an emotionally charged e-mail when you are angry . 9. Don’t send the e-mail to the wrong person . 10. Don’t click “Send” until you have edited your own message . 11. Don’t commit anything to email that you would be ashamed to see as a lead story in any form of publication. 12. Last, but far from least, don’t assume that when you hit the “Delete” key, your e-mail will be erased for all time .
COMMUNICATE PROPERLY! <ul><li>Cell Phone Civility </li></ul><ul><li>Create a two-arms’ length distance from others when speaking on your cell phone. </li></ul><ul><li>When you are in a public location and cannot create private space, acknowledge people nearby with an “excuse me”. </li></ul><ul><li>Before going into a meeting, make sure your cell phone is turned off . </li></ul><ul><li>Make a note that when your cell phone is on vibrate, the sound is still considered “noise pollution” to others . </li></ul>
COMMUNICATE PROPERLY! Business Letter and Report Writing These five rules will not make you a good business writer, but they can point you in the right direction: 1. Write like you talk . 2. Suppress the urge to put down everything you know; include only pertinent information . 3. Edit your own writing – delete unnecessary phrases . Strive to cut the report or letter in half. Write legibly . 4. Be tactful in your correspondence and write from the reader’s viewpoint . 5. State your conclusion first unless you can draft a good opening sentence or paragraph showing what’s-in-it-for-me to insure reader reception.
DIPPING INTO THE NEWSSTANDS It is important to stay well-informed on what’s going on in the business world and be updated with the latest trends and happenings in the world . Economics, statistics, and industry status are some of the aspects of business that you need to be knowledgeable of. Perhaps the most revealing form of business statistics , however, is the graph . An imaginative controller can take the most complicated business occurrences and clarify them using a simple graph.
STEADY AS SHE DRIFTS Make any truthful, positive general statements you can, such as: “ Sales increased dramatically over the last year.” (Even the money guys know the importance of sales to a small business.) “ Profits were earned.” “ The last five years have been profitable.” “ Strong profits have been earned since the company was purchased by new owners.” “ The backlog is presently 82% over last year.” “ A 57,000 square foot expansion is planned.” “ Bank credit lines in medium five figures are presently not in use.”
PROMOTE TO STRENGTH <ul><li>Delve further into your sales focusing in on at least these areas: </li></ul><ul><li>What is your present market position and what do you want your market position to be? To carve out a niche, you might do customized work, concentrate on quick delivery, or make the only headache powder while the giants are producing only tablets. </li></ul><ul><li>Which product has the highest markup and turnover and the most potential? Like your salespeople, you’ll find 20% of your product line is producing 80% of your profit. </li></ul><ul><li>What is your competition doing? Your competitors need to be monitored. </li></ul><ul><li>How best to generate sales? Spend more advertising money, making sure the media and the message zeros in on the targeted buyer. </li></ul><ul><li>How is the market receiving my product or service? You should find this out for yourself from time to time. </li></ul>
THE AMERICAN DREAM <ul><li>Why should you want to be a small business owner? </li></ul><ul><li>Here are the major reasons why you should consider entrepreneurialism: </li></ul><ul><li>It is the great American dream! It ensures job security , as you would not fire yourself. </li></ul><ul><li>The independence and freedom of ownership as well as the satisfaction of seeing the results of your decisions are both highly desirable. </li></ul><ul><li>The problems and challenges you will face along the way will sharpen and test your ingenuity . </li></ul><ul><li>Small business ownership allows you to build an estate in addition to earning a salary. </li></ul><ul><li>It affords you the same tax advantages available to the top management in the monoliths and is usually good for a quarter-century or so . </li></ul>
THE AMERICAN DREAM <ul><li>Here are some major things to consider before becoming a small business owner: </li></ul><ul><li>Search your soul. Do it long, and do it hard. Make sure your motive is truly born of a desire to become an entrepreneur and not to run away from an unhappy situation . </li></ul><ul><li>Take a careful inventory of your management talent to ascertain if you have the combination of grit, education, and applied management skills developed during a five-year (more or less) management internship with a large company. </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure you have considered the different lifestyles required of certain small businesses, especially the long hours demanded of new owners. </li></ul><ul><li>Make a detailed, written plan. </li></ul><ul><li>Consider purchasing a going concern. </li></ul><ul><li>Realize that you still will need money to operate your business. </li></ul>
THE AMERICAN DREAM What will make your small business successful? The successful entrepreneur always comes out on top, one way or another, with ethics intact . Usually these people exercise leadership by example. Organization is frequently buried by mission in the entrepreneur’s mind . Accordingly, heavy emphasis must be placed on organization as the business prospers and grows . The two costly shortcomings of other companies (especially larger companies) that you should avoid are: 1. The failure to inculcate full understanding and buy-in by employees at all levels on how the product or service benefits others 2. The failure to bake into all employees minds the corporate desiderata
A FINAL WORD <ul><li>Hopefully you would find all these points useful in your quest to become a successful small business owner. Opportunities are everywhere in this new age. </li></ul><ul><li>So be bold – fulfill your dreams and don’t forget to laugh your way to success. </li></ul><ul><li>Like being born again (remember, Nicodemus was a successful entrepreneur), small business ownership will set your soul soaring! </li></ul>
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