And after Small Business Saturday?

Besides being a particularly busy Christmas shopping day, this coming Saturday is “Small Business Saturday”. Once a year, American Express (organizer of Small Business Saturday) encourages shoppers to shop at a small local business and offers marketing materials to help small businesses take part in the event by encouraging locals to shop their store. While […]

Take bad competition seriously

I don’t talk much about competitors. I avoid it for a couple of reasons. First, because you have far more to gain by investing time and effort into improving your own business. Second, worrying about what someone else is doing is usually a waste of time since you have no control over their behavior. There are a […]

What’s holding you back?

I suspect you’ve heard of the Pareto principle, also known as the 80/20 rule. In its simplest form, it states that 80% of the results come from 20% of the efforts made. Further studies on the principle have shown that it often extends to far more than efforts made, and frequently describes the results produced by a […]

Does your business reality match theirs?

If you happen to pay attention to any of the business turnaround reality shows on TV (I see them on rare occasions), you’ll know that the pattern is the same for most of them – regardless of the type of business. Typically, there are some quality and cleanliness problems, a management issue or two (or […]

Pricing custom work well is a strategic advantage

How good is your business at pricing custom work? If you don’t have a way of pricing custom work that consistently accounts for your costs and labor, how do you know if you’re making any profit on these deals? How would it feel to find that you’re losing money on half your custom work? Do […]

Choose your market or craft it?

Sometimes you choose your market, and sometimes it chooses you. Today, we get a little of both. A discussion with some software business owners prompted this piece, but you should stick around even if you aren’t in the software business – because these problems are universal no matter what business you’re in. During these discussions, there […]

Business rules of the road

While they vary from person to person, our values are the central driving force in our everyday lives. These values form the context of daily decision making that drives our behavior. Quite often, these set-in-stone rules are accompanied by a set of guidelines that we adhere to, but occasionally allow ourselves to bend now and then. […]

Win on low price, lose on low price

Do you depend on having the best price to win business? If so, are you sure that’s really how you want people to choose your company? I ask that because if you cut your price 10%, that 10% comes out of your profit margin. Perhaps obvious, but not always something folks pay attention to – […]

Who benefits when snow, cold and ice shut down a town?

All over the U.S., winter seems to be having a little fun with us. While in many places, we’re also having fun with it – a lot of places are pretty well shut down by this year’s winter road conditions. Without the staff and equipment to handle serious (for their area) winter storms, many communities […]

They really aren’t very good at marketing

One of the most common marketing mistakes I see is focusing solely on new clients and doing so in a way that annoys everyone else who has (or had) a relationship with your business. This quote from Facebook (above) about a New England newspaper’s Groupon deal is but one example. The process The process goes […]