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Advice from Outside the Square

The Square Orange Blog

How Does Your Business Handle Mistakes?

Mistakes happen all the time, and they happen in businesses every day. These mistakes can range from how a customer complaint is handled, or how an order is fulfilled, to mistakes in book-keeping or orders, or just plain misunderstandings on how something should be dealt with. I'll bet you that you can think of a few off the top of your head. Mistakes can be small and meaningless or huge and catastrophic. But even if you think small mistakes can be ignored, how you handle these small daily mistakes gives you an insight into how your business can handle the more serious kind. (more…)...
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How To Become A Resilient Small Business Owner

This week, I was reminded how stressful owning and operating a business can be. A friend had a stress attack that seriously stopped him in his tracks. His doctor said that it could have led to a heart attack from the stress it put on his body's systems. Now, I’m not saying that it was caused by something in his business, but I know he works hard in the business, always looking ahead and thinking about his team, the business key indicators, and on how to improve the business. What I am saying is that for all of us, business is stressful. As business owners we owe it, not only to ourselves, but to our families and loved ones, and to those who depend on us, to stay healthy and resilient. At the end of the day, resilience is about mental flexibility and the ability to adapt to change and uncertainty. How do you do that? Incorporated into our mental flexibility is the mental capacity to understand what you can control, and what you can’t. First, understand what you can control, and what you can’t. Solve issues that you can control. The best way to do this is to act strategically rather than one issue at a time....
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How To Do Things You Don’t Enjoy In Your Business

Like me, there are things you have to do that you don’t enjoy. You know – go on a diet, exercise, that sort of thing! But you know you have to do it, and the consequences are clear, so you do them! I’m sure you have your ways to discipline yourself and to turn the mind from “have to” to “get to do!” But what about in your business? Sometimes in your business, you have to do things that, not only do you not enjoy but that you might actually hate to do! These are situations where you have to cold-call a new customer (I know I hate that), or you have to discipline staff for some inappropriate behaviour; or perhaps even having to learn new skills that you just know you can't do. In these situations it’s not about not having the time, or feeling uncomfortable – it’s about actually hating to have to do it! That negativity causes procrastination and delay, you put it off, plans stall, your to-do list piles up, and perhaps your business even suffers. These are not things that would be nice to do and which you don’t enjoy – these are things you hate doing but you absolutely must do because if you don’t your business really suffers! How do you...
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The Why And How Of Business Planning

OK, you’ve heard me talk about business plans before. Well, this week I’m going to talk about what the business planning process involves, and how you have to include the “why” of your business, why does it exist? You see, people forget that business plans are written to be read. Yes, that’s a revolutionary thought, isn’t it? People think that business plans are boring internal documents that you write so that you can follow them step by step to grow your business. No. That’s called a to-do checklist. Business plans are written to be read – by you, by your team, by outside investors, by supporters, by people close to you. Yes, they do form the basis of what you have to do in order to grow your business – but more than that, a business plan is a story of what you have to do in order to grow your business to become the business that you want. This takes much more than a list of things that are your goals and a list of actions to achieve those goals. This means that your business plan has to be a reminder, an inspiration, it must attract people, it must make them want to be part...
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