A straightforward guide to building a strong, healthy and viable company…

1 | The biggest threat to a business is complacency and indifference.  Look around your organization.  Does it look like a neglected child?  Complacency and indifference are infectious.  If you’re so tired and overwhelmed that you’ve stopped paying attention to the small details, you’re employees won’t care either.

2 | A business is in crisis when it starts to lose money.  Some business owners think it’s ok to lose money in one location if another is profitable.  Some think that it’s ok to lose money certain months of the year versus others.  Others keep thinking it will get better tomorrow, spending years unable to break even.  Let me help you with that.  Losing money is a danger sign, it is not ok.  Losing money is a crisis situation.  If you are faced with this prospect, even for one month, get your arms around the reasons and fix them, pronto.

3 | The typical business consumes its creator.  Maybe you started your business to escape the corporate 9 to 5 rat race, or maybe you’re just really great at something in particular and you felt it would be a great business.  Tell me—is the business working for you or are you working for the business?  If you are the first one in and the last one to leave, what systems could you put in place to alleviate that?  Do you have qualified managers or employees that could run the business without you?  If your business is totally dependent on you, you have to start thinking about ways to cut the cord.  A business should enhance your life at some point; it was not built to consume your life.

4 | Even an extraordinary business is not safe. Remember the old IBM Selectric Typewriters?  IBM reigned supreme for typewriters for a long period of time.  It was a major part of their business.  Where is the typewriter today?  Remember Polaroid cameras?  I’m sure that you can think of a dozen other products you used at one time that you never imagined you could live without.  Make sure that you and your business are ever evolving and keeping up with the fast pace and consumer demand of tomorrow, not even today, and definitely not yesterday.

5 | Most small businesses fail. According to the Small Business Administration, of all the businesses started in 2014:

  • 80% made it to 2015
  • 70% made it to 2016
  • 62% made it to 2017
  • 56% made it to 2018

That’s a pretty high failure rate.  What the statistics don’t tell you is that most of the business owners that failed probably had everything they owned on the line, hoping that the business would turn out to be everything they ever dreamed of.  When I read a statistic like that I can’t help but think of the people that cashed in their 401(k), took a second mortgage on their homes, maxed out several credit cards, and borrowed money from family and friends, all because they were so sure their venture was sound.  Pay attention to the statistics.  This is not a joke.  These people did not set out to fail.  Be ever vigilant with your creation.  Beware of complacency and indifference.

6 | The road to hell is often paved with good intentions.  Like me, you’re probably a nice guy, willing to give the shirt off your back in order to help someone else.  I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve given time and/or resources to someone to my own detriment.  Don’t get me wrong, helping people is what drives me and it may drive you, just make sure it isn’t hurting your business.  If you are just breaking even or losing money each month – you can’t afford to give anything away, even your time.

7 | Choose your critics wisely.  Do you ever notice that your biggest critics can be those people with the least amount of time and effort invested?  I’m often reminded of the Harry Chapin song describing a great Baritone who was encouraged by his entire community to try out for the big stage in New York City because he had such incredible talent.  Harry describes how the man spent his life savings to arrange his one big night in NYC and how wonderful he was and that it was the night of his life.  He goes on to tell us how the critic reviews the next day crushed this man’s dream, so much so that he never sang in public again.  He could only be heard late at night, singing softly, while he worked in his dry cleaning business.  How incredibly sad to me that so many dreams can be crushed in the blink of an eye, even more so that we are in the midst of so many willing, even eager, to do so.  While we need to be realistic, just be careful who you are putting your faith in. 

8 | You can control only one thing.  Your thoughts.  What you think about is the only thing that you can control.  You can choose to worry and think about what was, or you can dream of tomorrow and what will be.  I do believe that you get what you think about most, so why not think about what you want instead of what was.  While you’re dreaming and thinking about all of the possibilities, stop and write them down.  Take each one and assign a date to it.  Create action steps to make it happen. 

9 | Are you just scaring yourself?  As a follow-up to controlling your thoughts, worry is the most unproductive emotion there can be.  Is it really something to be concerned about or are you just scaring yourself?  I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been worried about something, procrastinating about it, only to find that once I addressed the problem, became knowledgeable about it, it turned out to be nothing to worry about in the first place.  I’ve found that the best weapon against worry is knowledge.  If something is plaguing you, don’t hide your head in the sand, get out there and figure it out.  Don’t waste your valuable time and energy on something that might never be.  Arm yourself with knowledge and keep the worrywart at bay.

10 | Vague can kill your business. Vague is not good.  Vague can be the basis for a lot of worry.  When you put your head on your pillow tonight, will you know exactly how much you owe and how much you are owed?  Or is it just some vague figure in your head?  Do you know if you are truly making money, or do you gauge the health of your business by your checking account and tax returns?  Get rid of vague by putting your arms around all the numbers in your business.  If you don’t have a formal accounting system for your business, start one today.  Get a copy of QuickBooks®, or go to the office supply store and pick up ledger books, get everything down on paper.  Do it yourself so that there is no doubt what the figures are.  Eliminate vague with accurate data.  It’s nothing to be afraid of, once we know what the numbers are—it can be addressed! 

11 | Find your niche.  It is better to sell to the right client than trying to sell to everyone.  The more you try to please everyone, the more watered down your products and services will become.  Maintain your strength by selling to those that value your solutions.

12 | Don’t confuse motion with progress.  This is a great Peter Drucker quote.  Going through the motions everyday is in effect, inaction.  If you are not doing something every single day to propel your business forward, you are slowing killing your business.  Beware that the busywork of a business can be extremely comforting.  You tell yourself that you have to deal with this angry customer, or that employee, or another late shipment—meanwhile, you’re not taking care of the stuff that really matters.  Put a system in place that would prevent the issue that created the angry customer, create employee manuals and training programs so that employee issues arise less often, create a purchase order and tracking system that reduces late shipments.  It’s similar to the story of the Doctor next to a river who hears someone screaming for help and discovers someone being washed away by the current.  He jumps in and saves the person.  While tending to this survivor he hears another scream for help.  He jumps in again and saves that person.  This goes on and on, the Doctor jumping in and saving all of these people.  The problem is, he never went up stream to figure out who or what was throwing these people into the river in the first place.  So it is with your business, follow the advice of Michael Gerber and work on your business, not in it.

13 | Seek balance to be profitable.  Sales, operations and financials play out in delicate balance.  If any of the three is out of sync it can throw your whole operation into a tailspin.  If it is higher sales you seek, make sure that your operations and financials are equipped to handle the extra pressure.

14 | Never, ever, ever name the lobsters.  When it comes to the health of your business, it is vitally important to keep an arm’s length between you and your customers, employees, vendors and lenders.  Has a salesman ever come in and asked for a favor, maybe asking you to order additional product to help them make their numbers? Great idea if it benefits you in some way.  Bad idea if it doesn’t. 

Do you have an employee that’s been with you for years, yet they lose more sales than they make?  Do you have a customer that’s continually 60, 90 or 120 days on their invoices, but you let it slide for one reason or another?  You can come up with valid reasons for any of these situations.  But what about your business?  How does additional product that’s not really needed right now affect your purchase budget and your cash flow?  If sales are down, how’s that working for you?  Aged accounts receivable have no value in the eyes of your lenders, why carry it?  Start looking at your business as a living, breathing entity.  Think about that every time you’re about to make a decision that might hurt it!

15 | Focus on cash flow.  Cash flow is vital to the survival of your business; if it stops flowing you may as well kiss your business goodbye.  What affects your cash flow?  Your receivables and your payables.  You can immediately increase your cash flow by decreasing your expenses.  Ever work in a big corporation?  They do it all the time with hiring and wage freezes, expense audits, etc.  The only way to get a handle on it is to know what it actually is.  Write everything down:  What do I have coming in and what do I have going out.  Check your credit card statements for automatic billing items that you may have forgotten about.  Review every single expense to see if it can be reduced or eliminated.  Positive cash flow is necessary for the survival of your business.

16 | Your business is a direct reflection of you.  Did you ever walk into an office that is a complete mess?  Everything is unorganized and there are piles everywhere?  Did you wonder if they were going to lose anything you would give to them?  That mess is a direct reflection of who you are sitting in front of.  On the other hand, have you ever been to a restaurant that you didn’t want to leave?  Everything is clean, the food is great, the atmosphere comforting.  Again, a direct reflection of the proprietor.  Take a look around your business.  Is it disorganized?  Is it clean and tidy?  Is it something you are proud of?  Especially when your customers look at the business and make the assumption that the business is (whatever condition they see), therefore, as the owner, you are as well.

17 | Do not cannibalize your company.  When our own personal financial needs become overwhelming, it is easy to justify taking additional capital from the business.  Please understand that your business is the only thing you have that continues to produce income.  Don’t weaken it.  Work harder, work smarter, but don’t compromise the business to fix a personal issue.  If you are living above your means, fix it.  Reduce expenses.  Don’t weaken your company.

18 | Your business is like a child, protect it at all costs.  As parents, we naturally put all of the needs of our children above our own.  With businesses, most entrepreneurs do the exact opposite.  We act like it owes us something, therefore we take.  We have a responsibility to the business.  Like a child, it needs to be nurtured and protected. 

19 | Don’t turn over control or completely trust outside advice.  No one loves your business more than you do.  By all means, seek advice but understand that the burden of understanding and choosing remains with you.  Get you head out of the sand, don’t be afraid to ask questions—make sure you completely understand.  In the end, you alone are signing your name as president, and alone you’ll stand if there is a problem. 

20 | Don’t fall asleep at the wheel.  Owning a small business can be a stressful venture and it may seem like all you want is a little rest, a little peace and quiet.  As entrepreneurs, we know that is a next to impossible request.  What’s the next best thing?  Routine.  It’s easy to get caught up in the routine of your business.  Placing yourself in roles that can easily be handled by an employee.  Why not?  It’s a heck of a lot easier than dealing with all of the problems sitting on your desk, right?  Wrong!  Why aren’t you working on your business?  There’s marketing to be done, systems to be created.  Don’t go to sleep when things get tough, before you know it you’ll wake up two years from now with the same business problems.  Face the problems, don’t ignore them, and you will make progress.  So much so, it will completely surprise you.

21 | You’re an entrepreneur, not an employee. Entrepreneurs create, employees do.  Where your employees find only problems, you find solutions.  Beware because there is an employee inside of you—and it can put the entrepreneur to sleep.  It is vitally important that you ask yourself with every single “task” you are performing—can an employee be taking care of this, can a system be built to address this, etc.  You’re a leader, so be vigilant in your role as an entrepreneur.

22 | Mistakes are life’s lessons.  Why do we fear a mistake so much?  Look back over your life.  Remember the mistakes?  What did you learn?  Exactly!  Some of the greatest lessons come from the mistake itself.  I’m not telling you to be careless and haphazard.  I’m telling you that when it comes to action versus inaction, choose action despite the possibility of a mistake.  I’m sure glad that most inventors look at mistakes not as errors but as lessons.  Imagine everything we would not have today if mistakes were to be feared!

23 | Always ask yourself “What’s the objective?”  Work backwards.  I don’t know about you, but when I have what I think is a great idea—I pretty compulsive about it.  Sometimes that works for me, sometimes it doesn’t.  A few years ago I started to measure the idea before implementing it.  The measure: What is your objective and does the idea succeed in meeting it?  For instance: If your objective is to improve the client experience, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How many clients will this affect?
  • What is the price per client for this idea?
  • How much time will I have to devote to it?
  • Does it really improve the client experience?

When you measure an idea prior to implementation, you’re completely thinking it through rather than implementing something, only to determine after a lot of time and effort that it might not be the best use of your time and/or resources.  An even greater benefit is that thinking in broader terms is like having an idea generator in your brain.  Have a great idea?  Keep the end result in mind and the success rate of your ideas will go through the roof. 

24 | Raise your flag.  How powerful are symbols?  How about the American Flag?  I can remember a few times that its symbolism brought tears to my eyes.  For me, it means comfort, pride and a sense of belonging.  What symbols have you developed for your business?  Do you have a great logo?  Is it homemade?  Are you using several versions of it?  Are your employees proud to wear it?  Does it convey what you feel your business is about?  Your logo is part of your brand—if you don’t have one, get one.  If yours needs a makeover, get on it right away. 

25 | Extraordinary businesses own systems.  Crisis Management companies have very few systems in place, and a Typical Business usually has systems built around people, including the owner.  Extraordinary companies have people built around great, documented systems.  If you were to sell your business today, would you be able to bring documented how-to manuals for every process you employ to the bargaining table?  If one employee is out sick, do you have documented quick start guides for everything that employees does on a daily basis?  Developing and testing systems is the first step toward an Extraordinary Business, documenting them is the second step.

26 | Don’t sell a product or service, sell a solution.  This is another instance of working backwards.  Instead of thinking about what products or services you plan to sell day to day, determine what solutions your clients need.  Most of us start a business because we are really good at a particular thing.  Wouldn’t it be a better idea to determine a business idea – be it product or service – based on a huge customer need for a particular solution? 

27 | A goal without a timeline is nothing more than a wish.  Not only should a goal have a timeline, but action steps.  How many people have a goal to lose 25 pounds or increase sales 10% or spend more time with their families or open a second location?  We are great at stating goals; we are a goal-oriented society.  Now ask us how we are going to accomplish our goal.  Silence.  As you read this I’m sure you have a goal in your head, it’s probably been there a while.  Take it out and dust it off.  First things first, measure the merit of the goal.  Still good?  OK, assign a completion date to it.  Now, create small, actionable steps on a timeline that will propel you toward accomplishing this goal.

28 | Panicked and scattered thinking will weaken you.  If you feel compelled to act to relieve your anxiety, don’t!  Pressure affects everyone differently. For some they move deeper into themselves in an attempt to avoid the stress and pain.  For others stress will unleash an exact opposite reaction; they automatically seek relief by constantly thinking about creative solutions. As stress continues to build, the more scattered and outrageous the possibilities become—until anything that relieves the anxiety is seriously considered. At moments like this, avoiding the pain is the wrong direction to take. I have experienced many types of small business stress, everything from money issues to employee theft and all of it has been uncomfortable.  I know what it feels like to want to flee.  At the height of our greatest anxiety we need to slow down and look deeper at the challenge. Borrowing money or ignoring the situation is not a solution.  As leaders, we are responsible and we begin can begin to heal our business by looking at what we have done to create this condition.

Being in pain is okay, being anxious is natural.  Just slow down and let these unwanted feelings sink in; it is simply a warning that something is wrong.  Temporary solutions and quick fixes sound wonderful at that moment but very often come attached to long term consequences. Your first step?  Admit that no matter what, as the leader of your company, you are responsible. Take some quiet time alone to think out solutions or seek help from an advisor. Identify the core problem and correct it.  Once a direction is decided, take the necessary steps. Remember quick solutions and scattered thinking can often make the situation worse. In a world of fight or flight, to THINK might be a better solution.

29 | The leader and the nice guy cannot co-exist in your business.  In battle, if you hesitate to pull the trigger you could die.  In business, if you hesitate to take the necessary action you could end up in bankruptcy court.

30 | Trust me; there is nothing “out there.”  Answers to your troubles will never be found by trusting people who happen to offer “help” at just the right time.  If your business is in trouble, beware of the advice you receive from outsiders.  A business in trouble is easy to spot, and similar to blood in the water, the sharks will start to circle.   Every answer that you need is right inside of you; trust yourself to make the right decisions.  Machiavelli warns us about partnering up with those more powerful than ourselves, be it money or assets.  You could end up working for that person or eventually losing everything to them.

31 | Beware of urges to expand as a solution to a business crisis.  If your business is in crisis it is time to rethink, refocus and reconnect with your vision.  It is not the time to risk everything on a whim.  Nothing comes without a price, and increased sales means increased operating expenses, etc.  It’s only natural to want to charge in and fix a problem, but it’s also necessary to take a deep breath and step back.  Analyze how you ended up in crisis in the first place.  Once the problem is identified, fix it and only then can you begin to take a balanced approach to increasing sales and/or locations.

32 | The largest obstacle that you have to conquer is YOU.  As mentioned before, a business is a direct reflection of its owner.  If you are looking for cause and effect, take a look in the mirror.  Only then can you begin to develop the solutions needed to take your business to the next level.

33 | It is far easier and less expensive to improve sales to existing clients than to find new ones.  Put 70% of your efforts into finding improved ways of serving your existing client base and 30% of your efforts into looking for new business.  Not only will you improve sales, but the increased focus and attention spent on your existing clients will turn them into referral generators!

34 | Avoid being hated at all costs.  Leadership involves making tough decisions; temper them by remembering this simple rule.  In my book, Small Business Pain, I outline the twelve core concepts that Machiavelli wrote about in his famous book about human nature called the “The Prince.” The greatest of all these principles is the last, which states “A wise prince avoids being hated at all costs.” The reason for this is simple, people can be angry or upset with you and your business but if that emotion turns to hate, a whole new interaction begins. Hate is a deep core emotion that can trigger a very unique response. Hate and vengeance are close cousins. Always leave others a dignified way out in any situation. You can win the game of business without being hated, so find a way.

35 | With patience comes clarity.  Not everything that glitters is gold.  How would you know that if you never consider the possibility that you could be wrong?  Resist the urge to charge when you get a good idea.  If the idea is sound, it will still be there after you’ve thought everything through.

36 | Leaders are long-term guardians.  Leaders must look into the future to anticipate challenges and prepare for any contingency.  I often ask clients who are building systems or considering options regarding some business challenge the following question. If you had 100 locations would the options you are considering still be viable? The answer is usually no.  So, why not consider that eventuality now and build a solution that would? The point of this question is not to decide if you want more locations in the future; it is to expand the possibilities and to look at options differently.

I have a client whose cash flow is constantly being challenged by the rapid growth of the business. His response to this pressure is to consider selling a percentage of the company to bring in the needed cash. I agreed that it would ease the pain, but when we decided to open the next location, then what? Would we need to sell more of the company? In the end I could see many partners fighting for control and a business that was compromised for some short-term pain relief. Leaders must not only live and plan in the here and now, but also in the future. They must anticipate change, prepare for any contingency and most of all; understand and consider how decisions made today will affect their world tomorrow.

37 | Resist the temptation to charge forward, reducing prices and promising undeliverable service.  In crisis management, it is better to reduce expenses and balance out your cash flow rather than hope for some vague solution promised by expansion.

38 | Make sure your business is a game worth playing.  Ask yourself this simple question:  In the end, does this business have the capacity to give me what I want?  If you want to take $100,000 a year out of your business, can you take it without weakening it?  If you only want to work 4 days a week, can you develop the systems needed to run the business when you’re not there?  There could be another dozen things you would like your business to give you—you must ask yourself, and answer honestly, if the business has the capacity to give you what you want.  If the answer is no, change course.

39 | The hole in your soul.  If you’re walking around with an emptiness inside, just going through the motions every day, it’s time to analyze why doing what you thought would make you happy doesn’t seem to be doing the trick.  One answer is that you might be trying to fill your void with other people’s stuff!  Did you ever have a problem and advice starts pouring in from everyone you know?  Advice is well intentioned, but beware of taking advice that you haven’t tried on to see how it really makes you feel.  It’s like buying a suit off the rack without trying it on.  It looks great on the hanger, but you make the commitment by buying it, only to discover after you get it home that it’s constricting, tight and definitely not your color.  Just beware that other people’s solutions may not be your solutions.  If you are already trapped in a business that was someone else’s idea—figure out a way to make it fit you or consider other options. 

40 | Luck favors those who act.  There is a brilliant quote by Samuel Goldwyn; which is “the harder I work, the luckier I get.”  The next time you feel compelled to sit in recliner for the evening, resist it.  Spend an hour or two on a marketing plan with a calendar, or call a few customers to see how you could help them solve problems using your products or services.  Take this time to do things that you wouldn’t normally do because you are too caught up in the day-to-day urgent matters that come across your desk.  Do this for a week and you will be amazed at all the great ideas you start to come up with. 

41 | On our deathbed, we will not be wishing for one more day at work.  Remember that the purpose of your business is to serve your life, not consume it.  If your business is consuming your life; re-examine every single detail of it.  Get systems up and running to reduce your involvement, analyze every decision you make with regard to the business by first determining the outcome of the action.  You will waste a lot less time if you base a decision on whether or not the desired outcome can be achieved.  So many of us make decisions based on only one thing:  It sounded like a good idea at the time. 

Have clear-cut goals in mind for your business, put a timeline to the goals.  If you’re not achieving your goals, figure out why.  It’s your life, the first step to taking charge of it is to realize that your business is in an invaluable tool toward achieving your dreams.  Don’t become a slave to it.

42 | Partner with fear.  Fear is a powerful force, so why do we assume it is not good?  Fear protects, it clarifies and it gets your heart pumping.  Most of all, fear doesn’t let us fall asleep!

43 | Determination is the complete opposite of complacency.  Your mind can only focus strongly on one thought; choose determination and complacency will surrender.  If you’re in this to win, get going, don’t give up!  We are all familiar with the thousands of failed attempts of Thomas Edison to create the electric light bulb. He was world famous for never giving up on an idea. In fact, he refused to acknowledge failure and stated with pride that he had discovered many ways in which the electric light bulb would not work. This worldview empowered him to become one of the great men of all time. In our small business, who will assume that role? Determination and focus are not natural to most people, but as entrepreneurs, we are not most people. We are the select few who have the courage to take a chance in an independently owned business. The core of determination is within you, all you have to do is wake it up!

In a world of fight or flight, fear and pain it is often difficult to reconnect with determination. The best way to do this? Remember your goals.  If you don’t have any, get some.  Defeat goal complacency by attaching each one to a strict time line for their completion.  Sit down, look at the current state of your business and make a plan. Determine where you are, where you want to be, analyze what is holding you back, create a strategy and then set a time line in writing. I suggest you share that timeline with someone you trust just to keep yourself honest and on track. Then let’s get started and make Thomas proud!

44 | Profit by plan, not by accident.  Luck is nice, but a plan followed up with quantification and adjustment is better.  Write your goals to a timeline, you will be amazed how things seem to happen.  Is it magic?  No, you will just become more focused on what really needs to be done rather than what you feel like doing at any given moment.

45 | Business penance is a serious responsibility.  Only when you have personal experience with a system or a job can you truly understand its challenges and limitations.  We suggest that you spend time in every single role within your company, spend time actually going through every step in a system or process that you have developed.  Use that experience to improve your company.  Remember, this isn’t a onetime thing – it should be done at least on an annual basis.  Penance is necessary to the work you are doing on your business and should never be considered as working in your business.

46 | Money is like a drug.  It is your responsibility to understand the role money plays in your company.  The business owner who only thinks about what cash they can take out of the business is like an addict looking for their next fix.  Remember, your business is there to serve your life, however that does not give you the right to abuse it or leave it unprotected.

47 | An accounts receivable must to-do.  If you are in a business that extends any form of credit read this paragraph every single day. Don’t confuse your personal needs with the needs of your business. You may want to be nice or help a friend or customer, DON’T.  You cannot inflict your personal desires on the business.  Your company needs money the same way you need air and it is your responsibility to make sure that the cash flow stays positive.  Overlapping and unpaid accounts receivable will paralyze your business. Collect your money—period!  No exceptions, no excuses. If you can’t bring yourself to make the calls, then hire someone who will. Every unpaid account leaves your enterprise vulnerable and weak. As a leader, put the needs of your business above the needs of poorly paying clients. 

48 | Build a cow.  Your business is your cow and the milk your profits.  Take the profits and invest them in more cows.  Pretty soon you’ll have a whole heard and financial freedom will be yours.  Can you think of any cows you’d like to invest in?  The biggest mistake that a small business owner can make is to become so immersed and attached to their creation that the real reason for the journey gets lost. A business is a tool, a method for getting more out of life. It is not a job to go to daily or work to be done. A business is a separate living entity that must have a purpose and a life of its own. You create your business but you are not your business! For most of us the desire to become financially free is the core reason that we started this journey in the first place. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way we become so immersed in the day-to-day that we forget.

So if you want to achieve the goal of financial freedom consider this simple plan. Build a cow (small business) and milk it daily (take out the profits). Take that milk (the profits) and invest it in passive investments with a plan (real estate, stocks, bonds, etc.). When the cash flow from the investments is greater than your cost of living, you are finally free.

I know this sound crazy because you are struggling to put money back into your business, not to mention taking cash out! That is all the more reason why you have to read this daily. Take the emotion out of your business and remember it is simply a means to an end. Get busy and fix the situation or take some type of action that will speed up the process of getting your cow to produce milk!  Stop being a worker and lead!

49 | Marketing is less about ideas and more about management.  Did you ever get a great marketing idea only to see it never pan out? The reason for this is simple. Once business picks up, you become absorbed with busy work and the marketing ideas seem less important. It is a never ending cycle of frustration for most small businesses. Market, get busy, stop marketing, business slows down, market, get busy, stop marketing…and so on. There is no discipline and therefore no clear result. Marketing is 10% idea and 90% management! A marketing idea is just like a goal, it needs to be written with a time line and due dates for each step. Only then can you measure the success of the campaign and determine if the idea is a keeper. You, as the leader of your company must make sure that marketing ideas don’t die slow and painful deaths.

50 | Are you a busy sleepwalker?  Remember your commute this morning?  Can you recall every detail of it?  Are you functioning in your business the same way?  Can’t remember what happened yesterday, the day before—or last week?  Instead of going through the motions, why not take charge and create a system, fine tune your marketing plan or practice a little penance.

51 | The value of a business is determined only by its practical success.  You could have the best-looking building on the block, in the whole city for that matter; if your financials aren’t healthy, your business isn’t healthy.  Look at your to-do list, pick out the items that have to do with expenses, cash flow and sales and do them first.  Everything is secondary to the financials.

52 | Quality and service are a given, it’s the experience that counts.  Quality products and excellent customer service are necessary to survive in today’s environment; it’s no longer something that can be advertised as to what makes your business special—it’s expected.  So, how do you set yourself apart?  Focus on the customer experience.  You may have quality product and great customer service, but what if it’s inconvenient to get to your location?  What if the music on hold gives the customer a headache?  What if your invoices are hard to read?  Giving the best customer experience is what will set you apart from the competition!

Do you have questions about any of these concepts or business in general? Schedule a quick, no obligation call – we’d love to spend some time learning about your business and the unique challenges that you face.