Bite-Size Chunks of Wisdom

Small Business Success, Best Practices, Entrepreneurship

Recent Posts

Small business troubles don’t happen overnight. In fact, it’s not uncommon for warning signs to exist for months — or even years — before corrective action is taken. Unfortunately, for some small businesses, help comes too late. Knowing the early indicators of potential trouble can keep your business heading in the right direction.

Let’s face it. It’s easier to stick our head in the sand and ignore what’s truly going on in our business. By doing so, we can pretend it’s just a hiccup on the road to success that will self-correct in time. Delaying corrective action, however, places your business in jeopardy as cash flow dwindles and limits your options to turn things around.

Misfortune Brewing?

The following list contains some of the early indicators that your small business may be at risk for greater troubles ahead. Take heed!

1. Revenue is flat or declining.

2. Difficulty in paying bills and/or meeting payroll.

3. Working more hours just to “hold on.”

4. Potential leads dwindling.

5. Client complaints increasing.

6. Passion for business waning.

7. Prices reduced to spark sales.

8. Client lifespan is declining.

9. Systems overwhelmed by demand.

10. Critical spending cut back.

11. Vital follow-up time postponed or put off.

12. Unable to honor commitments or meet deliverables.

13. Inability to keep up with the pace of growth. “Things” fall through the cracks.

14. Billing cycle lags behind schedule.

15. Dread going to work — and you own the place!

Any one of these early warning signs can put your business in tailspin. Combined? It spells disaster for small business dreams.

The Good News

Are you ready for a little good news? Of course you are! Early warning signs are foreseeable and preventable! Awareness, alone, can help you take immediate action to change the trajectory of your momentum.

Are you curious how your business measures up? Download the Core Business Assessment for insights into how your business is doing.

Read on:

Most entrepreneurs are technicians who have launched a business enterprise. They are accountants, lawyers, dentists, doctors, therapists, consultants, coaches, web designers, graphic designers, printers… get the point.

Small business owners are, in earnest, masters of their craft — not entrepreneurs. As a result, much of their day is spent exercising the technical skills of their chosen field. It’s what they know. Therefore, they continue to act in the capacity of an employee. They work “in” their business.

Behaviors of Working On Your Business

The skills of working “on” your business are really those of business management. Every successful entrepreneur or small business owner, at one time or another, had to learn the skills associated with business ownership.

Your role as the entrepreneur when working “on” your business is to shape the future of your business. When your vision aligns with what your customers “accept”, the product or service provided by the technician can be turned into a sustainable, scalable business model.

How do you know you’re working “on” your business? The primary behaviors of working “on” your business include planning, tracking, analyzing, learning, and adapting.

What you discover when you work “on” your business conveys whether to pivot to a new direction or persevere on your current path. It defines whether your business achieves success and struggles to find its footing.

Download The Core Business Assessment to identify the fundamental business skills, tools, and resources needed to ensure your business success.

“Clean your plate! There are starving children in Biafra!” my mother barked as my sister and I stared at our partially finished meal. Although I didn’t know where Biafra was located — or how clearing my plate would help their hungry children — I reluctantly obeyed. Little did I realize, my mom was my first small business coach.

Mom was a hard-working farm girl. Growing up in the fields of North Dakota wheat farms, her mother taught her the big value in small things. She, in turn, taught them to me.

Have you ever considered the pivotal role your mom played in shaping your approach to running your small business? Here are some of what I was taught that shaped my entrepreneurial experience.

  1. Clean your plate. Learning the importance of eating all you put on your plate, scores the significance of not taking on more than can be completed in a day. Realistically measure your daily expectations so your plate is spotless at the conclusion of each business day. Start each day fresh. It’s invigorating.
  2. Don’t chew with your mouth full. Like “clean your plate”, learning to gauge the size of one’s mouth accurately, hones project management skills. Truthfully assessing your small business capability and capacity promotes good customer service, ensures on-time delivery of commitments, and builds trust with your clients.
  3. Wear clean underwear. In case you’re in an accident, those who provide emergency treatment won’t think badly of you. Frankly, I thought this was a little over the top but I understand the meaning behind the message. We never have a second chance to make a first impression. Present yourself and your business in a way that makes others glad they met you.
  4. Say “please” and “thank you”. Such a simple thing yet it carries great value in forming two important business concepts essential for success: respect and appreciation. Express respect and appreciation for those who cross your business doorstep. It’s the right thing to do.
  5. Be polite on the phone. This included properly answering the phone, not hanging up first if the other party initiated the call and, in no uncertain terms, return all phone calls. Appropriate and timely communication can’t be over emphasized. Whether it’s by email, phone, or social networking, proper communication manners open doors to opportunities for your small business.

What did your mom teach you about running your small business?

Core Business Assessment


Brooke Billingsley

Vice President
Perception Strategies

Synnovatia is a strategic coaching firm that is detailed and knowledgeable about business. i have a small business that grew from $150K to $750K because of the goal setting and resources that Synnovatia provided. It saves me years of learning on my own.

Search The Blog