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Friday, March 22, 2013

3 Belt-Tightening Mistakes to Avoid

With the economic recovery sputtering along, it's easy to fall into the mindset that cheaper is always better. But even when budgets are tight, there's a right and a wrong way to save money.
Trim spending in the wrong places and you can end up hurting your business in the long run, says business strategist Carol Roth, a former investment banker and the best-selling author of The Entrepreneur Equation. Here are three of most common cost-cutter mistakes:

1. Cut back on customer service. When small business owners start to get panicky about their spending, one of the first things to go is often the perks and services that you lavish on your customers. That's the last place to trim, says Roth. For example, if you own a restaurant, it may be tempting to decrease the number of servers, therefore asking the remaining servers to handle additional tables. Don't do it.

"If you are cutting back in areas where your customer is going to notice, that is a mistake," says Roth. "Your best opportunity is to maintain or beef up in the areas that are going to impact the customer."

2. Chop the marketing budget. Another common knee-jerk reaction of an anxious entrepreneur is to slash the funding designated for marketing. That won't affect your core business, right? Wrong. Eventually the economy will recover more robustly and customers will be willing to spend more freely. If you cut back on your marketing spending now, you are cutting yourself off from the new customers that will grow your business, says Roth.

Also, down periods in the economy are ripe for expanding because the rival business down the street has probably had the same impulsive reaction and reined in its marketing budget. "You don't want to pull back in an area like that, especially when your competitors are doing that, because that gives you an opportunity to poach" customers, says Roth.

3. Scrap employee perks. One way to push the bottom line higher is to cut out the Friday snack that has become a tradition in your office. Don't. It's the little things that make your employees feel valued and appreciated and keep workplace morale up. And that goes a long way toward helping your business.

"That loyalty will resonate from the inside out," says Roth. And happy employees keep your customers happy. "It is all about the customer because if you don't have customers, you don't have a business."

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

3 Surprising Ways to Find New Clients

People tell me the weirdest stories. Some are tales of drunken escapades, brushes with law enforcement or photos inadvertently distributed on the internet. Others are more surprising: They star astonishingly sober folks hellbent on playing by their own business rules. One of my favorite themes of the second group: People who employ unconventional methods for connecting with new customers. Get ready to put their oddball antics to work for your business.

Make house calls.
Andy Dunn, founder and CEO of New York City-based Bonobos, wanted to sell a better brand of britches directly to men online, without stocking the product in stores. To build a customer base, he loaded up his car with samples and hosted private events in homes around New York. Gents could try the pants on and experience Bonobos' better fit and better service model, then have the product shipped directly to their homes. His customers became his evangelists, and Dunn's schedule filled up with in-home events. Bonobos reached its first $1 million in revenue without spending a dollar on customer acquisition (aside from the cost of gas). Today Bonobos boasts sales in the multimillions -- and it all started by going directly to the customer.

Offer unlimited service.
Domain registrar is known for its exceptional customer service -- and that's not business as usual in the domain-name game. But how many businesses do you know that actively provide service to non-customers? In early 2011 that's exactly what did. Via Twitter, the team caught wind of a software developer whose domain name had been hijacked. (This can occur when your domain registrar mistakenly allows your name to be transferred without the proper authorization.) reached out to the non-customer and subsequently tracked down the hijacker -- all the way to Ukraine. The company's outstanding efforts (and the good PR they generated) earned it a slew of domain transfers from other consumers.

Differentiate your direct mail.
Business consultant Ashley Ambirge is nothing if not unconventional. The mind behind The Middle Finger Project, which pushes people to "get your ass off the warm-up bench," Ambirge encourages clients to take unconventional and sometimes rocky paths to achieve hell, yeah status in their businesses. A copywriter by trade, Ambirge decided to create a very targeted direct-mail campaign aimed at companies she wanted as clients -- but she skipped out on traditional collateral materials. Instead, she went to a roofing supply company. Yes, a roofing supply company. She sent 30 companies (new home builders) a single roofing shingle inscribed with the words "My Company + Your Company = sales through the roof." The result? A 100 percent response rate, with nearly every one of the responders becoming a client over the following year.

The key to unconventional customer acquisition is to remember to keep it about the customers. Think about their needs. Go where they are. Make them laugh. Help them. And, once you have them, provide exceptional service so they stick around and help you bag new customers.
Don't worry if your competitors think you're all about using shenanigans to bring folks to your door. We know that it's all about your dedication to your current and future customers' needs.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Small Business (Time) Management

by Michael Barry

There is a theory glazed over in every freshman economics course on the way to supply side economics and demand side – I’ve already lost you. Economics might not be your cup of tea, but the theory is worth a listen. It goes a little something like this: Should Tiger Woods mow his own lawn? That’s it. The answer is an easy one. No. He has people for that. He should be golfing. The term for that is called opportunity cost. Why is there even a theory about that? Time management is why.

Investopedia defines opportunity cost as:
The cost of an alternative that must be forgone in order to pursue a certain action. Put another way, the benefits you could have received by taking an alternative action.

In terms of your small business, opportunity cost refers directly to the actions you perform every day that take away from what you do best – managing your business. Here are a couple quick tips to manage your time so you can get back to work.

How Do You Spend Your Time

Time is money. Wasting time is wasting money. Plain and simple. The killers of time are well known too. Whether it’s fantasy football, Facebook, or searching for that new diet, all the time you click off the clock is time you’ll wish you had later. Future you will work hard, but she’d rather it wasn’t because past you had no discipline.

Track Everything

Make a budget of the time you spend each day, each week. Keep a list, a spreadsheet, write it in the margins of last months expense report. I don’t care where you write it, but get it down on paper. The same way money disappears at Target when you go in to buy “just one thing”, time disappears when you take “just one minute” to check Twitter. By writing down what time you spend doing what tasks each day you’ll be able to see where time is going. Making the change in how you spend that time is the difficult task.

You Have a Staff – Let Them Earn Their Pay

Maybe you read that last paragraph and said “I don’t waste time on social media” but time still escapes you. I have one question for you. How much time do you spend answering phones and replying to email? These mundane tasks are productivity arsenic. Your receptionist is there for a reason. She knows the phones and your day-to-day business like the back of both hands. You are the boss man, the oracle. Be there for the big things and swing in for handshakes and phone calls when needed. You don’t see restaurant managers waiting tables. They check in and move on, confident their staff is top notch. You have more important tasks to be doing. When you consistently spend time doing mundane tasks it become second nature to start there. The same goes for the converse. Your opportunity costs are clear. Be an innovator. The big picture awaits you.

Friday, March 15, 2013

5 No-Cost Ideas for Generating Business

New business is the lifeblood of your organization. But generating new business can be difficult, especially if you're working on a tight budget. The good news is that stirring up new business for your company doesn't have to be expensive. In fact, with a little creativity, you can bring in new customers without spending a dime.

Here are five ideas to help get the creative juices flowing:
  1. Write an article
    As the owner of a small business, it's assumed that you possess some level of industry expertise. For example, if you own a music store you probably know a little something about music. Why not put your expertise to work for your business?
Think about writing an article and having it published in a local or regional publication. Most publications are open to submissions from new writers with expertise and will be willing to mention your business in an "About the Author" paragraph at the bottom of the article. If you have expertise but lack writing ability, recruit a friend to help you craft a quality article that is informational and draws attention to your products.
  1. Craft a press release
    Another way to generate publicity for your business is to generate a press release and distribute it to local media outlets. Reporters are always on the lookout for good story ideas with a local angle. You may not get a call right away, but who knows? Maybe a reporter will be in a pinch for a story idea at the exact moment she receives your press release.
  2. Pursue informal reciprocal marketing agreements
    Reciprocal marketing agreements are a fantastic way for small business owners to band together to promote each other’s businesses. Find and partner with another local business that offers products and services that do not compete with your business. For example, if you own a hardware store you could partner with a flower shop.
Then agree to distribute a copy of your partner's brochure or business card along with every purchase from your store. If you are able to partner with businesses that offer complementary (but not competitive) products and services, both businesses may reap noticeable profits.
  1. Send an e-mail to your existing customer base
    One of the great things about e-mail is that it is free. If your business has a mechanism to gather e-mail addresses from existing clients and customers, you may be able to generate additional business through an e-mail promotion.
Anti-spam laws make this a little tricky. However, if your customers have indicated they want to receive information about sales and promotions by e-mail, it shouldn't be a problem.
  1. Give something away
    Okay, this isn't exactly free, but it can be very inexpensive. Giveaways are a tried and true staple of low-cost business generation. Maybe you have a box of printed t-shirts left over from last year's Labor Day sale. Distribute flyers announcing a one-day sale and that the first 50 customers in the door get a free t-shirt. You'll free up some space in the storage room and bring in some new business at the same time.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Ideas for Generating New Business

by Kate Smalley
One of the biggest challenges for small business owners is finding a fast, effective way to bring in new customers. That’s because most owners must wear several hats – bookkeeper, technical support representative, human resources manager and marketer. And, of course, owners must provide quality goods or services. Finding the time to market can be especially difficult if you are a one- or two-person operation.
The reality is that spending the time to market is essential to maintaining or growing a business. It helps you avoid one of the biggest pitfalls in small business: relying on a big client or two for the lion’s share of your company’s revenue.

Two things often happen in this scenario. First, business tend to provide preferential treatment to the older, bigger client rather than to smaller, new client, which may cost some business. Secondly, businesses find themselves in a tenuous position by putting most of their eggs in one basket. If the primary client leaves, the company could be economically devastated.

A healthy company always has new clients coming in the door as well as happy existing clients. You can rely on word of mouth to get those new clients on board, but usually it’s not enough. Here are three tips to help you stay on top of marketing efforts.

Get organized. Hire someone to create a database of that huge stack of business cards that you’ve been keeping in your top desk drawer. Make sure it’s a database you can easily use for emails or mailings – like your Microsoft Outlook contacts or ACT! Having all your potential customers at your fingertips is money well spent.

Once you have all your contacts input, you can send targeted e-mails or letters to your potential clients. Make the messages short and sweet, as well as informative. People look forward to getting valuable information, so give it to them. Follow up with a phone call to find out if the information was helpful and if your company can provide goods or services.

Even the busiest entrepreneur can send 20 e-mails each month and follow up with them. Schedule the time on your calendar to do it.

Create an “elevator pitch.” Try to pare down your company’s products and services to a sentence or two. Start by writing down what you do and then edit. This is a great exercise, especially if you offer a wide variety of goods and services, to help you clarify your top priorities.

Most people want to try to throw in everything they do. For example, if you’re a landscape designer, you may be tempted to talk about turf, bedding plants and terracing. Instead, tell people “I’m a landscape designer. I help people create their own backyard oasis.”

If at all possible, get specific. If you are a graphic designer, be sure to add your specialties. Don’t just say, “I’m a graphic designer.” Do say, “I’m a graphic designer specializing in e-newsletters and interactive web sites.”

Cultivate your current clients. It’s much easier and cost-effective to sell an existing customer additional services than to go out looking for new ones. That’s what makes the pitfall of having one big client so insidious – the smaller clients that you are tempted to shove to the side may actually bring in more business than your current big client if you give them the same stellar products and services.

Schedule monthly meetings with your clients to find out how you are doing and to learn what they see on the horizon for their own business. Show them how you can help fill their goals and dreams. You’ll be amazed at how much a couple of hours of your time will pay off.

Contact is the most important element of marketing. If you don’t have time to do anything else, make sure you contact at least 10-20 potential or current clients each month. Doing so will help keep that business coming in and your company healthy.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

3 Bad Sleep Habits You Need to Break

by Jane Porter

As an entrepreneur focused on how to grow your business, taking the time to develop a sleep routine is probably the last thing on your mind. But some sleep advice simply can't be ignored without paying the price in productivity. Deprive yourself of quality sleep long enough and you’ll wind up chipping away at your business and health.

Here are three bad habits you'll need to break, if you want to improve the quality of your sleep: 

Bad Habit #1: You pull all-nighters then oversleep on weekends.
You've likely heard you should go to bed and get up at the same time every day to help optimize your sleep. It is advice entrepreneurs often ignore because they're busy burning the midnight oil and think they can compensate later. Think again. Experts say it's critical to keep a target sleep time in mind -- even if it's midnight -- then meet it consistently.

Why is this so important? Our bodies are extra sensitive to conditioning, says Daniel Taylor, associate professor of Psychology at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. When you go to bed and wake up at drastically different hours, you disturb your circadian rhythm—the 24-hour cycle linked to brain activity, hormone production and cell regeneration.

"It's like living on the east coast for the week, flying to the west coast for the weekend and then turning back around and flying back to the east coast on Sunday night," says Taylor. "If you do that every weekend, you're going to have problems."

Bad Habit #2: You check email in bed.
Your bed should be used for sleep and sex -- that's it, says William Kohler, medical director of the Florida Sleep Institute in Spring Hill, Fla. "The brain likes routine," he says. "When the eye sees the bed, it should be associated with sleep, not activity."

If you can't get to sleep for more than 15 or 20 minutes, Kohler suggests you get out of bed. Lying around obsessing about ideas for your business is not going to help you fall asleep. In fact, you're conditioning your brain to be awake in bed. Instead, get up and write those thoughts down on paper or maybe read a book, but don't lie down again until you're good and ready to sleep.

Bad Habit #3: You never unwind before bed.
You can't expect to fall asleep quickly when you try to go straight from work-mode to bed. Taking at least an hour each night to unplug from your day can help you sleep more soundly, says Taylor. You could use that time to take a hot shower or bath.

In fact, slightly increasing your body temperature within an hour of bed can help you get a better night of sleep, says Michael Perlis, associate professor of psychology and director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program at the University of Pennsylvania. A 2008 study by researchers out of the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience found that a slight increase in skin temperature before bed helps people shift into deeper stages of sleep. Of course, you should also follow the standard advice of keeping your room cool too, since the body's temperature decreases when you're snoozing.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Is Your Business Locked in a Golden Cage?

If Steve Jobs were still running Apple, would the map application released with the iPhone 5 have been so disappointing? This mishap contains a subtle yet powerful lesson that can make your company even more successful over the long-term.
As Apple’s top leader, Jobs was a notorious perfectionist having zero tolerance for
mediocre products. According to his biographer Walter Isaacson, when Apple released
the poorly performing MobileMe, Jobs gathered the team together in an auditorium,
confronted them,and publicly fired their leader on the spot.
Honest Mistake or Telling Symptom?
It is well understood that the iPhone 5 contains little innovative technology. Most of the
apparent innovation is simply a new way to present old technology. Since maps are a critical feature on smart phones, replacing the gold standard of Google’s map application with
an inferior application Apple owns might be a rare but benign misstep. 
However, it may also be the first surface symptom of a dangerous shift in priorities within Apple’s senior leadership team that began with Jobs’ passing and that may even now be trickling down into several of the organization’s departments.
Apple has a profitable business model to defend and much to lose. The management team is fearful of challenging Jobs’ legacy and does everything in its power to defend it. However, instead of Jobs’ first instinct of discovering and using innovation in new ways, the remaining leadership wants to preserve the status quo of the good life they enjoy, including high ranking job titles,impressive six to seven figure take home pay, and rich stock option packages.
Good Instincts Mean Healthy Paranoia, Even When Successful
Seasoned operating leaders who prosper over the long-term have taught themselves that
when their firms reach the peak of financial success,their instincts must kick-in to change products about every two years before the market demands they do so. These highly successful leaders have learned from unpleasant experiences early in their careers, when one of their own cherished successful business models entrapped them a golden cage.
They know that in every industry and sometime in the life of every company, the management team realizes that a certain product has become a large money maker and a feeling of
invincibility sets in, leading to an overwhelming urge to protect those existing money-making
products and services. 
I know of no sadder example of this than Xerox. It’s Palo Alto Research Centre (PARC)
produced the groundbreaking Alto, the first working personal computer (PC), including
mouse, GUI interface, menus, icons, and Ethernet connectivity over local-area networks.
Yet they never manufactured a Xerox PC. The people in the C-level suite at Xerox viewed this product innovation as threatening their status quo, based on coining lots of money from making copiers. Like Xerox, many companies blindly continue to promote current products at the expense of superior emerging innovation while tiny upstarts like Apple gladly make billions out of inspirations like PARC’s PC.
Now Apple is king of the hill and is behaving in a similar manner. By spending a large amount of money, time, and distraction in its patent litigation with firms like Samsung and HTC, it is attempting to protect its image and products by using litigation as a legal moat.  Although this
popular business myth makes management feel good, at best it results in short term protection, especially with products based on technology.The surface symptoms continue with Apple 
forcing its customers to use its own map application on the iPhone 5 when they know
it’s inferior to Google maps. 
Once a company opens a divide between what customers want to buy and what it
wants to sell, customers become vulnerable to enticing offerings from more customer-centric
rivals such as Apple used to be. Think of Blackberry, which once reigned supreme in the smart phone market. Today its products and market share have been largely taken over by Apple
and Samsung.
Even before Jobs passing, Apple’s main thrust had been shifting toward protection of
its business model. Despite his genius, Jobs’ extreme self-assurance and stubbornness
could not keep him and his leadership team from lapsing into being comfortable with current products.
The natural lifecycle of businesses as they become larger and more successful is that the
leaders become protective of the status quo. As they spend time and money to protect
themselves,smaller, more nimble, hungrier rivals emerge with better innovation to win
over their customers. A long period of stability allows risks to accumulate until there is
a major setback for the business. Leaders must never allow themselves to get this comfortable no matter how successful they have become. They must always keep a healthy sense of paranoia so they can continue to drive their teams to make superior products that force other companies to keep playing catch up. Has your company peaked like Blackberry and Apple?
The answer is to ask your management team,“Has our business model become a
golden cage?”
About the Author
Drawing on 28 years of management experience increasing shareholder value as a Co-
Founder and CEO, Chas Klivans launched The CEO’s Navigator in 2001 and has helped
dozens of management teams turn their businesses around from near failure to substantial success. Chas’s journey from an Afghanistan prison and the jungles of Peru to the board rooms of billion dollar corporations has enabled him to pioneer the business solution of Innovation 2 (www.InnovationTwo.Us), which uniquely increases financial results and at the same time builds management into an A-level team. Chas is a frequent trusted advisor, author, and speaker for corporations, Family Business Councils, trade associations,and Vistage.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

What Type of Entrepreneur Are You?

Figuring out what kind of business to launch is hardly a science, but it should be considered logically.

Think about the basic entrepreneur make up. While naturally all entrepreneurs are unique under the sun, they do tend to conform with certain archetypes. Some entrepreneurs are really inventors, who view the challenges of building a business as a necessary evil. Others are really marketers who believe that they can entice customers to any offering. Some just want to change the world and make it a better place.

But why does this matter? It’s my view that if you know what your strengths are early, you’ll be better equipped to launch businesses that are more likely to survive and even thrive.

I’ve always wondered if there was some way that I could quickly deduce a new entrepreneur’s “sweet spot,” and optimize my mentoring to those strengths and weaknesses, maybe similar to the Myers-Briggs type indicator for business professionals. I just saw an interesting step in that direction via a new book “Entrepreneurial DNA,” by Joe Abraham.

His framework seems to be picking up some traction, and is already in use informally by several entrepreneurship platforms, including StartupAmerica, and CoFoundersLab. His methodology measures an entrepreneur’s fit or DNA in each of four quadrants -- Builder, Opportunist, Specialist, and Innovator (BOSI), defined at a high level as follows:

1. Builder. These entrepreneurs are the ultimate chess players in the game of business, always looking to be two or three moves ahead of the competition. They are often described as driven, focused, cold, ruthless, and calculating. Many might say Donald Trump epitomizes this category.

2. Opportunist. The Opportunist is the speculative part of the entrepreneur in all of us. It’s that part of our being that wants to be in the right place at the right time, leveraging timing to make as much money as possible. If you ever felt enticed to jump into a quick money deal, like a real-estate quick-flip, or an IPO, that was your ‘opportunist’ side talking.

3. Specialist. This entrepreneur will enter one industry and stick with it for 15 to 30 years. They build strong expertise, but often struggle to stand out in a crowded marketplace of competitors. Picture the graphic designer, the IT expert or the independent accountant or attorney.

4. Innovator. You will usually find the Innovator entrepreneur in the “lab” of the business working on their invention, recipe, concept, system or product that can be built into one or many businesses. The challenge with an Innovator is to focus as hard on the business realities as the product possibilities. Too many Innovators are like Dean Kamen, still struggling with the Segway Human Transporter, while holding 440 other device patents.

Of course, discovering your entrepreneur type is only the beginning. After that, it’s all about capitalizing on those strengths, shoring up your weaknesses and building a plan that works for you.

Overall, I see real value in using this methodology in conjunction with incubators, business accelerators and mentoring. I’m not yet convinced that anyone has a fully automated system that will nail your entrepreneurial DNA and help you succeed, despite the unpredictable business and personal realities.

But I see a real opportunity here for every entrepreneur to optimize his impact and his personal satisfaction with a minimum of effort. I challenge each of you to take a hard look at what makes you tick.


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

7 Steps for Generating New Business Opportunities Pt. 2

Step 4: Map it. Mapping your capabilities with your target clients' needs is an excellent way for you to determine your service strategy. You'll find that while you may be perfectly skilled in many areas, you're going after customers who don't need your particular expertise.

One common trait among many entrepreneurs is the urge to "cast a wide net" by being all things to all companies. In almost every case, however, a small business flourishes because it has a narrower service offering. Remember, a small company's value is that it can specialize in unique, top-quality services.

Develop a list of decision-making criteria that you expect your clients to use when choosing a provider in your industry. Then rank yourself (and be brutally honest) in terms of where you'd be positioned in each category. After this intense evaluation, make sure that your elevator pitch is still on target.

Step 5: Utilize marketing tools that work best for you. When deciding on a marketing strategy, implement one that fits your personality and the customers you serve. For instance, if you're terrified of getting up in front of a crowd, don't schedule yourself to participate on a panel in the hopes of generating business. You'll derail your efforts if you don't perform well.

Identify the top two marketing tools you've used in the past that have worked for your company. Let's say that's cold calling and a Web site. Then start adding new ideas for a fresh perspective. When selecting your marketing tools, also evaluate them from a financial and cost basis. Decide what will yield the best return on your efforts. Each tool should lead to a revenue-producing result in one way or another.

Step 6: Implement a plan of action. Up until now we've been in the planning mode, but now it's time to dig in and put it to work. Your action plan will also give you the map you can use to measure your progress.

Establish goals that can be reviewed at three and six months. At incremental points within each three-month period, keep checking your plan to see if you're meeting your goals. If you find you're missing the target, ask why. Were the tools appropriate for your target customer? Did you integrate the strategy, or did you just focus on one of the tools?

And don't forget to plug in specific actions that you'll do every day to help you meet your goals. That daily strategy will keep the goals of the plan top of mind.

Step 7: Exercise the plan. This final step is really straightforward: Just do it: Complete the daily actions, and then do something extra to accelerate your success plan. If you approach your plan and get butterflies in your stomach, either get over it or substitute an action that you're comfortable with so you stay on course. Don't let unplanned tasks waste precious time that should be applied toward reaching your goal. And most of all-enjoy the process!

Linda Kazares is the founder of Face-to-Face Connect. A committed entrepreneur with more than 25 years experience in sales, marketing and channel development, Linda is also an author, publisher and public speaker who presents seminars to entrepreneurs that focus on developing strategies for new business-building practices.

Monday, March 4, 2013

7 Steps for Generating New Business Opportunities Pt. 1

Entrepreneurs often live with the hope that if they build it, customers will come. But in today's economy, it takes a lot more than hope to get people to purchase your products or services: New business-building practices are a must if you want to expand.

Another necessary element is a clear-cut plan for growth. But many entrepreneurs get obsessed with creating the perfect plan. Or they never get around to putting one together. Crafting a plan is necessary, quick and effective. And we can show you how to do it. The following seven steps should take you no more than four hours to complete-a small price to pay for a tremendous upside. The result? A road map that will infuse new energy, enthusiasm and vision into your company's growth plans. So let's get started.

Step 1: Focus on your core product. A very successful e-newsletter entrepreneur has built his business around this mantra: "Prospects buy when they trust your value is applicable to them and believe your company is stable." This strong position allows him to constantly check up on the services and value he's providing his customers. Keep this statement in mind as we go through the rest of the seven steps, because internalizing this mantra is the key to a solid plan.

It's common in small, service businesses that the entrepreneur feels he or she must do everything the "big guys" do to compete. The truth is, small-business owners can really never compete in the same way. So it's essential for small businesses to differentiate themselves by focusing on the unique capabilities and core products they bring to prospects. Specialization is the entrepreneur's greatest asset.

Step 2: Keep your pitch simple. The last time you asked someone at a party what their company does, did you get a clear, concise response? Or did your eyes glaze over by the time they got to the end of their explanation? My guess is, it was probably the latter. Now imagine that same pitch being presented to prospects who don't have a glass of wine in their hands to distract them! It's not a pretty picture.

What every company needs is a simple "elevator pitch." That's a short, concise message that can communicate your message to a prospect in 30 seconds or less. It explains the value your product or service provides so the prospect understands why it's applicable to them.
Try this little exercise to test your pitch clarity quotient. Ask someone who doesn't know what you do to listen to your pitch. Explain what your company does, and watch for signs of fatigue-eyes watering, lids getting heavy, and so on. Of course, you may have the perfect pitch. But if you don't, you'll recognize it right away from verbal and physical responses.

Step 3: Stay true to who you are. Knowing who you are and what gets you excited (and bores you to tears) will help you reach your goals. Nothing can derail a growth plan more than discomfort and procrastination-it's simply human nature to procrastinate over things that cause discomfort. And there are dozens of daily business requirements that every business owner detests. If you're finding yourself putting things off, it's time to start delegating.

Stay true to who you are and what you do best: Hand off those tasks that will blow you off course because you don't like doing them, so you don't! Stretch and grow your capabilities in alignment with your interests and expertise. If accounting is your nemesis, hire a bookkeeper. If your personal organization is out of control, hire a temp to set up a new filing system. Always make sure that you're focused on your priority "A" tasks and delegate your Bs and Cs.

Stay tuned for more....