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Advice from Outside the Square

Category Archives: Brand Leadership

Small Business Owner or Employee of Your Business?

Most of my clients are small business owners and they might be surprised by the challenge in the title of this week’s article.Are you a small business owner – or are you actually a hard-working employee – for yourself?A lot of my readers won’t want to hear this, but you must hear it if it is the truth.What is the difference? What makes you a small business owner, and what makes you an employee of your business?Successful small business owners are driven. But then so are successful hard-working employees. But what drives them are two different things.A hard-working employee is driven to be good at their job. They take pride in a job well done. They work hard to make sure it is done well. They take pride in working on the details and working in the business.If you are working hard in your business, are you sure you are not merely investing in a job? As a mere employee, you may deeply and rightly believe that you are doing your best and working hard. You certainly are but you are working hard in your job, within your job description, within the parameters, working hard at the procedure or in the...
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4 Keys To A Successful Direct Marketing Campaign

In tight economic times, small business owners can be tempted to retreat into their shell.To get through tough times, small business owners look at cost savings, financial controls and cutting expenditure. However if this is done in isolation, that is, if you rush to control costs without also looking at the top line, your bottom line will shrink anyway!Counter-intuitive as it is for small business owners in a period of financial slow-down, small businesses must continue marketing efforts and not look to cut these as if they were discretionary costs.“Marketing” is not just “advertising” which is what small business owners think when they think of marketing. In fact, advertising may be your least effective marketing cost in a shrinking economy. The important thing is to get a good rate of return for your marketing dollar and you get this by implementing effective marketing techniques.Effective marketing is the type of marketing that gets your name out there with its “brand” attached in the most cost-effective way. This can be added-value service, it can be increased contact with customers – this type of marketing can include less-cost or no-cost vehicles.Direct marketing is not necessarily no-cost but a large part of the effort can be...
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10 Things Every Small Business Needs To Do To Succeed

As a business advisor and accountant, I am often asked what a small business needs to do in order to succeed.It's a simple enough question but there are so many things small business owners need to know, need to be, and need to do in their businesses. So I asked a number of my most successful clients what they thought about the question, and, using my own experience gained over the last 30-plus years, I have collated the top 10 things that a small business needs to do to succeed.1. Make sure that you are marketing effectively.From experience, I cannot stress enough how important marketing is to the success of any small business.The problem is that most small business owners are subject matter experts - they are good mechanics, good lawyers, good accountants, good toy retailers, good garment manufacturers - and this means that they try to make their business succeed by being good at what they do. Unfortunately, that is not enough.A business succeeds only if it finds and continues to find customers. Some of these will come from word-of-mouth or reputation but the volume of these new customers will not be enough to grow your business. So, you...
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The Value Of An Ethical Business

So, this is going to be a controversial posting.I wonder what you think about the morality of your behaviour when you choose to change professional advisors? I don't mean the professional ethical rules, but the morals of how you do it. And how should the professional advisor react?Here is a story of how a client of mine decided they wanted to change accountants. Read through the circumstances, and then tell me what you would have done.(more…)...
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