Testing…. Crucial for Small and Large Companies

Last year I wrote a blog on Testing. . .Reduces Risk and Maximizes Success. It was geared to small Business. I said, “Large companies can absorb a failed product. Small company failures can be fatal. Now I would like to focus on two very large entities who neglected to test their ideas and paid a […] Read more »

No Trivial Matter

The below article was posted by the HBS Alumni Publication about the case study on Bob Reiss’ former company, R&R. No Trivial Matter By Garry Emmons It was 1983, and Bob Reiss (MBA 1956) was looking for a new game to play. A Brooklyn native and former basketball star at Columbia University who had become a successful entrepreneur […] Read more »

An Open Letter to Management of Major US Companies

Dear Managers: The NY Times on May 26th, 2013, in their lead editorial titled “A Is for Avoidance” with a sub-headline of “Apple Is the Latest Example of how American Multinationals Avoid Taxes” continued the demonizing of American business. They specifically mention Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Starbucks, Hewlett Packard, and General Electric for using aggressive […] Read more »

Partner with Established Brands to Build Your Own

You are known for the company you keep (as well as the company you are). There are several ways to bask in reflected glory. For example, you can run an ad for your product featuring your most prestigious customers. There’s some chance that those customers will kick in some money to support your ad, but […] Read more »

Interpreting the Numbers for Better Decision Making

Entrepreneurs do not love risk and express this dislike by devoting energy and brain power in determining risk and then deciding whether to proceed or not. Before they would abort, the smart Entrepreneurs would first look to minimize or eliminate the risk by Partnering, Sharing, Mitigating, Testing, etc. Analyzing the numbers can be a vital […] Read more »

Solve Your Sales Problem

 Small businesses, particularly in their early stages, have two big problems. Selling is a learnable skill, and you don’t need a sales gene to be good at it. 1)    Access to customers. The business owners are new to their industry, probably inexperienced, and have not developed the savvy to secure appointments with important potential customers. […] Read more »

Managing Your Inventory

 “too much carryover inventory can wipe away all your hard-earned profits and wreck your cash flow” For those who sell products, one of the key challenges in responding to a flow of reorders is keeping a large enough inventory on hand—but not too large. The constant dilemma you face is that you know your customer […] Read more »

Product Knockoffs— One Idea to Combat

If your product is very successful and if you have no legal way of protecting it—which is true, in most cases—then why not knock yourself off before someone else does?  Put yourself in the knockoff artist’s shoes. How would he or she copy your product? In most cases, they will look to make it less […] Read more »

Packaging A Major Factor in the Sale

Many times, the packaging of the product is as important as the product itself. Of course, if you’re making a product like industrial machinery, this may not be true. But in the case of consumer products, packaging can be an overwhelmingly important element. Perhaps the most extreme case involves products bought by collectors, such as […] Read more »

Hiring the Right People

Okay, let’s assume that you’ve got your idea, your business structure, and your money in hand. The next thing you’ve got to get your hands on is good people. In many ways, this is the scarcest commodity of all. Before you hire, you have to figure out:             •           what skills ­you’re looking for, and […] Read more »

Publicity: A Wild Card for Small Business

Publicity is the great wild card for small businesses. Certainly, advertising can be effective. However, a story in the media about you, your product, or your company generally carries far more weight and legitimacy than any paid for ads. Such a story is likely to reach both consumers and any intermediate customers, such as retailers. […] Read more »

Finding Ideas to Start a Business

One of the most asked and difficult to answer questions I get when I speak to MBA students is “How do I get the right idea to start a business?” In approaching a reply, I would say at the outset, that there are no simple magical answers or formulas. I would add that most successful […] Read more »

Building Trust

The single most important thing you can do in starting and building a business is to get people to trust you. Trust needs to be earned and takes time, although you can lose it in a second. Telling people to trust you doesn’t cut it. In fact, when people I just meet tell me to trust them, my antennae is up to watch my back. The benefits of being trusted are enormous. People have confidence in those they trust. Read more »

Business Incubators Can Be Key to the Success of Qualifying Small Businesses

If you are a start-up company and you qualify, incubators can be a fantastic resource for you in your Bootstrapping pursuit of success. They provide the “help of others” part of Bootstrapping and the “limited resources” component of our initial definition of Bootstrapping (to pursue success with limited resources and with the help of others). Here is […] Read more »

Mentors – Free Small Business Consulting

One of the best ways to start and grow a small business is to get expert advice. I’m not referring here to paid consultants, a luxury that most early stage and small companies can’t afford. (When you can afford the right ones, by the way, they can be an excellent investment.) Instead, I’m referring here to getting a mentor of one kind or another. Read more »

Writing Business Plans-Anyone Have a Pencil?

The smartest entrepreneurs plan on growing and are prepared for change. I have a few words of advice for first-time entrepreneurs, as well as seasoned business owners looking to hit a new stage of growth. My advice is this: write your business plan in pencil. I realize this may be difficult for all you non-golfers, but doing so will illustrate two important principles. Read more »

Sales Reps and How They Benefit Small Businesses

I was a national sales rep for 14 years before switching sides and founding or co-founding 16 start-ups, one of which made the INC 500 list three years in a row. . .So, I feel qualified to speak on this subject which I think is misunderstood and not taught at school. This is why I’ve written a comprehensive and practical Guide to Help Sales Reps and Manufacturers understand each other better, to create a positive partnership that will yield more profits for each, and to extend the duration of the partnership. Too often this relationship is adversarial. It shouldn’t be, as both factions need each other. Before I discuss the highlights of this Guide, I think I should define what a Sales Rep is. Read more »

Where Not to Look for Money — And Where You’re More Likely to Find It

Entrepreneurs can save time and angst by looking beyond banks and other mythical sources of startup capital. One of the major obstacles entrepreneurs face in starting a business is raising the money they need. It can be the most time-consuming, frustrating and disheartening factor in launching a new venture. Save yourself some energy and angst by not looking to sources that conventional wisdom would suggest as logical places to find startup capital. Instead, focus on more realistic prospects. Here is a list of places you shouldn't be looking for money, followed by where you're more likely to find it. Read more »

7 Tips on Barter for Small Business

Barter, an $8-12 billion dollar industry, is one of the businesses that flourishes in bad economies, as it offers entrepreneurs many opportunities to acquire things they need and want for no or little cash. Here are some of the things you should know about Barter, a great Bootstrapping activity. 1. It is the exchange of […] Read more »

Entrepreneurs Love Risk?

This myth seems to emanate from the media portrayals of entrepreneurs, likening them to old gun slinging, sneering, arrogant cowboys just looking to find and attack risk. My experiences and those of most successful entrepreneurs I’ve met indicate the exact opposite: small business owners with their own money on the line look to minimize, avoid, […] Read more »