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|Monthly Business e-Tips
Running a small business is not easy. Every business owner has strengths as well as weaknesses. At times it's frustrating to do everything necessary to operate a business.
Reflecting on my own business, I remember the times I have reached out for help. On occasion I have needed assistance with the same kinds of issues as my clients. Often we are too close to the situation. We need a 10,000-foot view to see how to move forward.
When I look back, there were many times when I turned to other professionals to work with me to help grow my business.
Some of the people I relied on were:
- When I started my business I hired Richard Reardon of Richard Reardon Business Development to help me get organized. He is a skilled business coach whose knowledge of working with small businesses was invaluable.
- Then I hired Tom Salvo, president of BrandDaemon, to work with me on developing my logo, tag line and brochure so that I had a consistent look, feel and message to brand my business. His unique process produced an identity that fit my business and me.
- While thinking about creating a Web site, Yukiko Tomosada was referred to me by a colleague and she has done a wonderful job developing, designing and maintaining my Web site.
- As I was putting content together for the Web site I realized my message was not well developed and I felt stuck. I knew Robert Middleton of Action Plan Marketing was the right one to hire after reading his newsletters for about a year. With Robert's assistance, all the pieces came together. He helped me write the content so that it flows nicely and it has served me well. Also, I now use his process to help my clients develop content for their sites.
- After my Web site was complete, Hans Riemer of Market-Vantage worked with me on search engine optimization. He researched keywords, registered my site with search engines and set up a visitor tracking system. Now more visitors and business opportunities come my way through my site.
- When I wanted to start these e-zines, I was concerned about my less-than-polished writing skills. A colleague introduced me to Brenda Smith of WriteSmith. She coaches me and I am becoming a better and more confident writer. She also edits my newsletters so you don't find grammatical errors.
I could have saved time and pain if I had not waited to seek assistance. Sometimes I struggled too long before I sought help.
Knowing when to get help:
- When your business is dependent on a skill you don't have, get assistance. Many small companies are operated by people who are experts in their fields but not in running a business. If you are such an expert, get help. Your business may not be doing as well as it could because you lack marketing knowledge. It may be at financial risk because you're not watching your cash flow. Or it could be open to liability if you don't have the right insurance coverage or legal counsel.
- If you have tried to do things yourself but have been unsuccessful, call on the appropriate resources. For example, small business owners often try to get coverage in the news. Some are successful but most aren't. If you've tried and there is no interest from the media, it may be because you don't understand the "ins and outs" of writing and submitting a press release. Professionals know how to make that happen.
- If you are spending a large amount of time working outside your skill set, ask yourself if it is affecting your core role. What is the value of your time? Instead of reading manuals trying to install your new IT system, you could be preparing for your sales presentation. Get someone to do what you can't; do what you can.
- When you are really struggling with something, get support. When you struggle you deplete both your time and energy. Running a business has its challenges but it doesn't need to be a painful effort. Consultants and coaches can be valuable.
- In developing marketing materials, do it right. Most business owners aren't writers or graphic artists. Nevertheless, many attempt to create their own collateral materials because it's inexpensive and technology makes it seem easy. When representing yourself to the outside world, make sure you come across as professional. If you are concerned about spending money, think about the cost of lost business opportunities because you got it wrong.
So don't try to do it all alone. Not only is it ineffective, it is not as much fun. If you are relying on your employees, make sure they have the background and experience necessary to do what is required. In the next issue of Growing Possibilities, we will look at how to find the right and most economical help. Meanwhile, think about where you could use some assistance.
For contact information, for the people mentioned in this e-zine click here.