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Small Business Advantage Brief Week 1, 2017

Building a Great Startup Culture Starts with the Founder

Leadership | By Larry Kim

Most Valuable Insight?

“One thing that absolutely blew me away as a founder was how much an organization mimics the characteristics of its founders.”

Additional Insights

  • You, the founder or owner, set the tone in your organization through how you dress, the way you treat people, that way you act, and the actions you take.
  • Positive energy is infectious. So is negative. Be mindful of your behavior as it will affect your culture.

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Five Questions That Make Strategy Real

Strategy | By Jack and Suzy Welch

 

Most Valuable Insight?

“The first step of making strategy real is coming up with a big ‘a-ha’ for your business – a smart, realistic, relatively fast way to gain sustainable competitive advantage. To do that, you need to debate, grapple with, wallow in, and dig into – and we mean dig deep into – your playing field (that is, your competitive situation) and its players.”

Additional Insights

  • Strategy works when your employees strive to be more effective every day. Build a “learning organization” where everyone learns from within and outside the organization.
  • Find your “big a-ha,” define your path to victory, add the right employees to get it done, and get to work while constantly learning and improving.

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7 Reasons the Best Employees Quit, Even When They Like Their Job

Team Building | By Lolly Daskal

Most Valuable Insight?

“There's nothing more frustrating than a workplace filled with visions and big dreams, but no translation of those aspirations into the strategic goals that make them achievable. People like to know that they're working to create something, not just spinning their wheels.”

Additional Insights

  • Employees need to feel like they can grow professionally. Without professional goals (which are very personal to them), they’ll place their aspirations elsewhere.
  • Overworking your staff the fastest way to lose them… be careful too, as it’s many times your A-players (the best and brightest) that are most often overworked.  
  • If your bottom line means more to you than your people, your best performers will leave and your worst will stay.
  • Recognize your employees, lest they leave because they don’t feel noticed.
  • Your best, most trusted, principled employees will notice the way you deal with clients, partners, vendors, etc. If they don’t like what they see, they’ll leave.
  • Your employees need to be able to contribute. They need to be empowered. If titles matter more to you than their expertise, they won’t stick around for long.

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How to Find a Distributor for Your Product

Product Development | By Christopher Pilny

Most Valuable Insight?

“The internet has made selling direct to consumers a viable option in lots of different categories from fashion to industrial products. To do this, you will need to have ecommerce capabilities and the means to ship your product to consumers. Such “fulfillment” facets of selling products can also be handled by companies like Amazon, that are seeking to be a one-stop solution for small businesses that want to sell through their channel and also need ecommerce and fulfillment services.”

Additional Insights

  • Join an industry association. The access to other small business owners who have done it before and word-of-mouth recommendations will help you find the right distributor.
  • The right trade show will connect you with thousands of people on all sides of your industry, vendors and distributors.
  • Visit the National Association of Wholesale Distributors.  

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8 Common Ways Small Businesses Waste Money Marketing

Marketing | By Brian Sutter

Most Valuable Insight?

Use the 80/20 rule when searching for new customers. 20% of your customers likely account for most of your revenue. What tactics did you use to land those customers? Use them again.

Additional Insights

  • Paid advertising is falling more and more on deaf ears, and is getting more expensive. You have social media investments? Use them to grow your email list.
  • Before you build a strategy, buy ads, or create new marketing collateral, know your audience! Know what to say, when to say it, how and where to say it. You want to be on the social media platforms they are… you need to be on the websites they visit.
  • Don’t put all your eggs in one basket with a huge, one-time ad campaign. It’s too risky. Test your marketing idea with a small, short, focused budget. Adjust and refine before spending the big bucks.
  • Set up conversion tracking for whatever advertising system you are using (Facebook, Twitter, Google AdWords). It takes time and effort, but if aren’t tracking your ad performance you don’t know what’s working and what isn’t.

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