Here are some tips from business owners — both iconic and otherwise — to provide some inspiration for the coming year.
John D. Rockefeller said, “Next to doing the right thing, the most important thing is to let people know you are doing the right thing.”
In other words, if you’re not out there promoting yourself, you’ll never make an impact. A themed event went spectacularly well? Post pictures on Facebook and Instagram and the tweet the heck out of it.
Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba, says to repair the roof while it is still sunshine. “When the company is good, change the company. When the company is in trouble, be careful, don’t move,” he says. “If the storm comes, you don’t go up and repair the roof – you’ll be destroyed.”
How does this apply to your DJ business? When your wedding business is booming is the time to invest in up-sell opportunities.
Greg Ponder, former owner of S&P Capital, says that proper accounting is critical. “As a business owner, you’ll want to keep good records of financials on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. Invest in software to help you get organized. Plus, having good financials will help you command a higher premium for your business when you decide to sell.”
Jim Hood, Founder of Hood Business Law, has some advice on determining the type of legal structure for your business.
“This can be daunting for entrepreneurs and small business owners,” he says. “Deciphering between an ‘S Corp’ or an ‘LLC’ can be tricky but the structure of your business depends on your needs. If operational ease and flexibility are important to you, an LLC is a good choice. If you are looking to save on employment tax and your situation warrants it, an S corporation could work for you.”
Barbara Corcoran has an abundance of advice for small business owners. She starts with “Don’t be afraid to make big mistakes.”
The “Shark Tank” star says all the best things that happened in her business happened on the heels of failure. “Don’t be afraid to fail,” she told Forbes. “It’s proof that you are meant to be a successful entrepreneur. The only difference between people who are hugely successful and those who aren’t is the time it takes them to get back up after getting knocked down.”
Little companies always move faster.
Corcoran says the big guy may have the corner on money, but the little guy usually has the corner on creativity. “Take some time to sit down and figure out how your big rival is promoting their brand and plan something smarter and more creative for yours,” she says.
Take full advantage of social media—it’s free.
This one’s a no-brainer. Corcoran says that before you go out and blow money on advertising, capitalize on the free online access that leads you direct to your customers.
“Blog, Tweet with humor, and make as many friends as you can on Facebook,” she told Forbes. “You can quickly build a huge following of customers willing to try your new product without spending a dollar on advertising.”
Make a Marketplace Report.
Corcoran told Forbes that the best way to get some attention for your brand is to publish an industry report chock-full of statistics.
“You’ll be surprised how much you know about your industry once you start putting some numbers down on paper,” she says, adding that reporters need stories.
“If you put your report in a short, easy-to-read format and name it after your company, you’ll soon become the expert reporters call when they need a quote. The easiest way to steal market share from your competitors is to steal the limelight, and nothing does that faster than being quoted in the press.”
Choose Only Really Good People.
Corcoran says that your employees will determine 80-percent of your success. “The best people are honest and have lots of enthusiasm,” she says. “Don’t worry too much about their level of experience when you’re interviewing, as the right attitude always delivers much more than just experience.”
There Are Only Two Kinds of People in Business –Know the Difference.
Corcoran told Forbes that there are expanders and containers, and that learning to separate them quickly into the right category will save you a lot of time.
“Expanders like to push the envelope, take risks, make new friends, and test how far they can go,” she says. “They also like to spend your money. Containers like to keep things in order and stay on top of the details. They keep you from losing your money. If you match the right person to the right position that takes advantage of their natural talents, you’ll build a powerful team of workers with all the strength needed to build a huge business.”
Focus On What’s Already Working for You and Do More of It.
When you look for ways to expand your business, Corcoran says the real pot of gold is usually the same stuff that’s already proven successful. “So before you move on to the next exciting project or a new strategy, s-l-o-w down,” she told Forbes. “Do a lot more of what’s already working and then do the new stuff.”
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