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Do you own or plan to own a small business? Do you work for a small business and desire to better understand your boss? Do you know someone who owns a business and wants to be stronger, more focused, and more successful? This is the book for you. The truth is that many business books offer a lot of wonderful sounding theories, but they have little practical application in the real world of small business. Common Sense Business is full of life-and-death ideas. Follow Steve Gottry's advice and your business will live and thrive. Ignore it and your business could founder or die. Benefit from Gottry's experience as an entrepreneur who grew a hugely successful media agency, experienced a harrowing business failure, then rebounded with a new business and a fresh start on life. Common Sense Business tells you how to succeed throughout every phase of the small business life cycle -- from starting to operating, growing, and even closing down a business. No matter the state of the economy or the maturity of your business, you will find winning solutions to the questions and situations you face every day. Steve Gottry will help you understand yourself; your employees, customers, and vendors; and how people come together to form a successful business. You will learn how to maximize your business's assets and how to ward off those threats that could eat away at your resources and peace of mind, including debt, sloppiness, addiction, and fear. Warm, honest, funny, and factual, entrepreneur Steve Gottry tells the whole truth about successfully managing a business through good times and bad.
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You always learn far more from your failures in running a small business than you ever learn from your successes. But if you're genuinely smart, you'll learn from the success and failures of other people rather than trying to make all the mistakes yourself.
To make sound business decisions when you take the plunge and start your own small business, keep in the front of your mind four key pieces of advice:
Always know where you are in the small business life cycle, and act accordingly.
Never forget that there is an alternate destination you definitely want to avoid.
To build your business, focus on building your assets as quickly as feasible.
To be a success over the long haul, you have to conquer your natural enemies.
“I believe that once an individual has had a taste of the independence, freedom, and sense of accomplishment that a small business offers, that individual will never be satisfied working for someone else. You can be certain of some things in life—in addition to‘death and taxes. 'You can be certain that operating a small business will always be a great adventure—because you will always confront the unexpected. That's exciting, and it's one of the many things that make being an entrepreneur so appealing to me. You can also be certain that the economy will always have its peaks and valleys, and that the changing economic environment will affect every business to some extent. As a businessperson, you will always have to adapt to change, and perhaps rethink and redirect your dream. You can also be assured that you and I, if we are true entrepreneurs, will never be satisfied reporting to someone else. We will find a way to be in business for ourselves. We will create our own golden opportunities. We will remain positive, hopeful, energetic. We will anticipate every tomorrow with eagerness. And we will use every bit of common sense we possess to achieve business success and positively impact the lives of our employees, our suppliers, and our customers!"
Always know where you are in the small business life cycle, and act accordingly
The economic environment in which a small business has to operate today is challenging to say the least. The good news is you can succeed as long as you apply some basic commonsense smarts to every aspect of your business. Become stronger and more focused and you will overcome the challenges and move forward. Remember, every business starts at square one and then moves forward from there. It can be done.
The Six Stages of the Small Business Life Cycle
Every great business begins as a dream in someone's mind. There is always a place in any economy for a well-run business that will provide consumers with a great product or service at a fair price. Small businesses provide jobs for others and underpin the general economy.
In this stage, you should:
■ Seek guidance and advice —from people who have experience in the industry you want to enter.
■ Focus on the “FANAFI” principle —that is, find a need and fill it. The businesses that excel over the long haul identify a genuine consumer need and then work to fill that need with a well-thought-out product or service offering.
■ Anticipate that other companies will see the same opportunity —and compete against you with products that are very comparable to yours. Do whatever you reasonably can to protect your intellectual property, but don’t get unduly worried if others clone what you’re doing. That’s the nature of almost every market nowadays.
■ Be realistic —Acknowledge that technology changes so rapidly that what might be an earthshaking idea today may be completely worthless tomorrow when a next-generation technology comes along. Focus on being successful, not solely on using one technology or another.
Realistically, to plan your business, you'll need to develop the answers to eight questions:
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