Category Archives: Business

Buy an Existing Lawn Care Business Or Start Your Own?

Buy an Existing Lawn Care Business Or Start Your Own?

When entrepreneurs first decide to enter the lawn care business one of the first decisions that they have to make is whether to buy an existing business or go with their own independent start-up right from scratch. There are advantages and disadvantages to buying an existing lawn care business as opposed to starting your own. One needs to consider the following pros and cons:

Advantages of Buying an Existing Lawn Business:

1) There is naturally a lower risk in buying an existing successful business than starting a business of your own which has no reputation.

2) With an existing business the staff usually stays with the company and therefore you would not need to do any employment selection and training. This offers peace of mind in that the employees know their responsibilities and the day to day running of the business and the new owner can slowly fit in with the way that things are done and decide if changes need to be made.

3) The suppliers of the business are also in usually in place and therefore one does not need to be too concerned at the start about who would be the best companies to contact when it comes to buying lawn maintenance equipment.

4) If the existing business is well known and established, it can usually continue to generate a profit fairly soon after the take over of ownership without any hindrances or set backs usually experienced by new businesses that are less established.

5) The equipment is in place and apart from a few services or upgrades, business can continue without much delay from the hand over.

6) Contracts and paperwork are usually in place and apart from a few changes you would not need to have this documentation drawn up from scratch.

7) The business’s tax paperwork and documentation should be registered and up to date.

8) Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, with an existing lawn mowing business you will usually inherit a solid base of customers who should stick with you if you make sure that you continue to service them at the same level or improve on the previous owners service level.

Disadvantages of Buying an Existing Lawn Business:

1) If the existing business has not got a very good reputation or the owner did not have a professional mannerism, it could make the marketing and advertising of the new ownership difficult to breakthrough the mindsets of the customers.

2) The current employees may have bad habits and not work well as a team which you would only realize in time after the take over has been completed. This would mean implementing new procedures or replacing some staff members, which could be a lengthy and costly exercise for the business.

3) Old equipment could be a strain on the business cash flow. Repairs and replacement of equipment could hinder work performance and turn around time.

4) If the buyer does not have experience in this industry, he could pay too much for the business which would result in lower profit and higher expenses than expected. It is important to acquire a new lawn care business for the right price, otherwise you may as well use the money that you have to invest in your own independent business.

5) Should you wish to change the company logo or slogan it could be a very costly affair as new documentation would need to be printed, business cards, equipment branding and labeling etc.

6) There may be outstanding debt or tax due from the business that you were not aware of at time of hand over. Make sure that the seller is being transparent on all aspects of the business and that you are fully informed of what you are getting into.

As discussed above there are advantages and disadvantages to everything. It is very important to ensure you have done your research and know what risks are involved either in starting up your own lawn mowing business or purchasing an existing one. Professional advice and solid independent research is always highly recommended either way.

Career Advice – 4 Tips to Help You Make Better Business Decisions

Career Advice - 4 Tips to Help You Make Better Business Decisions

Good managerial decision making is essential for business to operate effectively. But how does a manager go about making good business decisions? Here are a few tips:

  • If you have little knowledge about the subject matter, do not take a shot in the dark. Researchers say that it takes up to 10,000 hours of diligent practice to be considered an expert. This can be said of making decisions too. Take the time to educate yourself or find someone who knows more than you do and ask for their guidance (make sure it is someone you trust).
  • Try to be as objective as possible. Everyone brings historical baggage that influences the decisions they make. Recognize that there may be bias influencing any decision that you make and work to be as even keeled as possible. You will be able to neutralize bias through thoughtful reflection rather than a “shoot from the hip” decision making mentality.
  • Be flexible. If you make a bad decision do not let pride stand in the way of changing direction quickly. Recognize your mistake, acknowledge it, and then move on. Denying its existence will not fix it, the only way to fix the situation is to take action.
  • Involve others in the decision making process. There is truth in the old saying “two heads are better than one”. Having additional perspectives will help to make better decisions. Be careful of peer pressure, however, and resist the desire to hide amongst the group members. If you are a manager, the buck stops with you.

Earn Income by Advertising Small Scale Businesses Online

Earn Income by Advertising Small Scale Businesses Online

Yes you can earn good passive income by promoting Small Scale Businesses Online. African Entrepreneurs are not as tech savvy as their fellow entrepreneurs in the developed countries. The only thing some of them know about the internet is that scam artists use the internet to defraud. I have an Uncle that it took months of persuasion before he agreed to have an email address. Sounds funny, but it is true. Using Nigeria as an example, more than 90% of small scale businesses conduct their business transactions offline. Searching for their name in Google will produce an zero return. Many of the Nigerian Entrepreneurs in this category knows next to nothing about the great potential that online advertisement offers.

Did you catch the point?

This obvious need for web presence among the local small scale business in Africa is a wonderful opportunity for any online entrepreneur. You can easily package an offer and make presentation to such local business owners. You will need to explain to the entrepreneurs that

  • Yellow pages, Television and Radio Advertisement are no longer as effective as they used to be. People now search for information using Google!
  • Small scale businesses that do not have their presence online will soon find themselves at a great disadvantage.
  • It is an established fact that more and more Africans are getting online to search for information. Some are getting used to conducting their transactions online via internet enabled cellphones.
  • Every small scale entrepreneur, be it a chef, plumber, hairdresser, grocery seller etc, can have a presence online so as to capture the local market effectively. Why will I go out looking for a grocery store that offers my special body cream when I can simply use Google to search for such.

Here are three quick tips:

The business opportunities that can be developed from this NEED are quite numerous, but I will just point out three to get you started.

  1. You can offer cheap website design and hosting for small scale business.
  2. You can develop a localized website portal that serves as an online yellow page.
  3. You can offer webmaster services to entrepreneurs who are not technical savvy.

Let’s face it, you only need to scratch your head a little and you will get an opportunity you can work on. I am already working on this idea and I already have two local entrepreneurs as my clients. It took less than a day to convince them and do I need tell you that it is a profitable business! Hey, give it a shot, you too can start earning money online legitimately. Those local small scale business owners will love you for helping them promote their business to the millions out there. If you need assistance in any way, drop by my site, Nigerian Entrepreneur, I will be willing to give all the help I can. See you at the top! Cheers.

The Power Of Hotel Branding – Brand Names

The Power Of Hotel Branding - Brand Names

Traditionally, a brand is thought to evoke, in the customer’s mind, a Certain personality, presence, and product or service performance. A brand may be defined as a ‘name, sign, symbol or design, or combination of these, intended to identify the products of an organization and distinguish them from those of competitors.

This is also referred to as a logo when used in the product’s promotion. The brand mark is the element of the brand identity, consisting of the design or symbol. The brand name refers to the words, such as the name Nike, and the brand mark represented by the swoosh symbol.

Many hotel brands have become household names, such as Hilton and Holiday Inn. The following attributes associated with a successful brand, which are: name, symbol or both are well known; it is unique and cannot be copied by competitors; It is reflective of the consumers self image; it represents the intangibilities of the product; it informs and influences a consumer at the point of consumption; it provides the foundation for all marketing activity.

When developing a brand the objectives must be thought out. It is important to point out its characteristics, such as the brands quality, value for money, emotional appeal and status associated with it.

BRAND NAMES

Kotler, (2006) suggests the following characteristics for designing a brand name: appropriate imagery; easy name to pronounce and remember; distinctive with supporting colour and design; uses words that convey the nature of the product and reinforce the benefits; registrable in the countries it wants to operate and should easily translate into a foreign language.

When the car manufacturer General Motors introduced the Chevrolet Nova in South America, it was apparently unaware that ‘no va’ means ‘it won’t go’ in Spanish. Once they realized they quickly changed the name, at some considerable financial cost, and damage to the company’s brand image.

Research bears out how strongly the name in particular, but also the logo and design styles of different brands, can affect the perception of the offering represented by those brands (Holloway, 2004).

Once a name has been chosen it should remain protected until the product reaches the end of its life cycle. The cost of changing signage, supplies and merchandise can run into millions of pounds in a large hotel chain Also, due to the somewhat intangible nature of hospitality products which cannot be sampled in advance, the purchaser can have enhanced assurance through a known and used branded product.

A brand name derives its value from consumer perceptions. The expectations created by the name will continue to affect consumer’s evaluations of the actual brand performance, as has been shown in person perception (Darley & Gross, 1983). Brands attract customers by developing a perception of good quality and value (Kotler, 2004). Marketers would be well advised to invest heavily in creating and testing product names.

CASE STUDY – MALMAISON BRAND

Branding is a topic of great interest in the global hotel industry. In the USA, over 70 percent of the hotels are branded; in Canada, brand penetration is around 40 percent. Overall in Europe, only about 20-25 per cent of room capacity is branded by an integrated chain.

The Malmaison brand is named after a Chateau on the outskirts of Paris (the original home of Napoleon Bonaparte and his lover, Josephine), which was lavishly decorated and became an 18th Century style icon. Two hundred years later in 1994, Malmaison revolutionized the UK hotel industry by opening its first hotel in Edinburgh and heralding the birth of affordable chic.

The brand was born of the notion that there was a need for better value mid-market alternatives to luxury hotels. But affordability doesn’t have to compromise style, something Malmaison has consistently proved. Its original vision stemmed from an insight into business travelers and their needs, as well as the emerging existence of a growing group of discerning, upwardly-mobile customers who wanted more

than the mid-market brands offered.

Malmaison has always perceived itself as a lifestyle brand, marrying its emphasis on getting the basics right with extended hospitality, to an extent that few other hotel brands can match. As one of the first ‘lifestyle’ hotels on the market, Malmaison strives to stay ahead of its main competitors through

product innovation and by never losing sight of its target market – mainly mid-thirty something business travelers.

The MWB group, who own Hotel du Vin and Malmaison, have traded as two separate entities, keeping the mystic and brand essences of both companies completely separate. Malmaison Liverpool has ‘added value’ (Doyle, 2002) to its brand by introducing the Toffee Suite, named after Everton Football Club; there is also the Kop Suite for fans of their rivals, Liverpool. Brand image creation is also formed in other ways as one guests reports: “Feel great, feel free”, counsels a sign beside some attractive lotions in the bathroom, advising us to “take the toiletries”. “They’re all free”.

This is all intended to inspire brand loyalty by creating what hoteliers hope will be a distinctive experience for guests. Malmaison is now the hotel of choice for UK business and leisure travellers, according to the British Hotel Guest Survey 2008. The name Malmaison does not appear to have had a negative impact on the brand, this may be due to the images associated with the name being French and the translation creating different brand associations. The brand’s imagery suggests a contemporary, innovative, stylish and design conscious brand which is reflective in the product. These brand attributes have been successfully deployed to develop the brand’s equity and a strong image in the minds of its target market.

Wellbeing in the Office – No Girls Allowed

Wellbeing in the Office - No Girls Allowed

It may seem like a step backwards in the fight for equality, but targeting men only has become an effective new weapon in the fight to shape up the nation’s workforce.

As more businesses offer wide ranging wellness initiatives to their staff, the lack of take up by men has become something of an issue. In much the same way that men are loathe to stop and ask for directions when lost, this same principle seemed to apply to taking advice about improving health and wellbeing. Even when offering more male skewed themes, recent wellbeing initiatives have tended to attract more women who attend in the hope of gathering information for their men folk at home.

In an attempt to overcome this hesitation by the men, organisations have adopted a new approach to compliment their range of wellbeing initiatives. The Tonic, a health and wellbeing company based in London, designed a Men Only programme for one of the UKs largest pharmaceutical companies aimed specifically at guys and the challenges they regularly face as part of their demanding work and home routines.

Tonic Director Jeff Archer commented, Teaching men about staying healthy doesn’t seem to have much impact. They like to think of themselves as corporate warriors battling through each day to be the best they can be, so the Men Only initiatives focus on performance, energy, planning and getting great results by being as fit and sharp as you can be each day. With emphasis on fitness training techniques, fuelling for performance and ways to balance the mental and the physical challenges of life, the men were more willing to get stuck into the advice quickly and start applying it to their lives straight away.

By getting the content of the Men Only programme just right and then communicating it with some carefully chosen manly language, the Pharmaceutical company was able to sign up 10% of their male workforce within a couple of hours of announcing the idea. Looking at the feedback from the event, perhaps it’s time other organisations started to recognise that just because the men in the office don’t sign up for generic offerings, something more specific may be just the solution for getting the healthy message across.

“Thank you for organising. This was excellent”

“very useful but time went too quickly!”

“I wasn’t sure what to expect – informative, made me think”

“Very useful and thought provoking, this session was excellent and very informative”

California Accessibility Laws Create Small Business Liability

California Accessibility Laws Create Small Business Liability

Have you ever walked into a public restroom in California and wondered about the odd placement of a mirror on the wall or the unusual spacing of fixtures? If so, you have gotten a glimpse of what California builders, remodelers, owners, developers, architects, as well as planning and code officials, are required to address every time they build, remodel, or repair a public facility — any building open to the public. By law, they must follow the most-current accessibility requirements in the California Building Code (Title 24), the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities (ADAAG), and related materials. These California requirements, which are much stricter than those in the Federal ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), apply to all commercial and public buildings and public areas in the state. This includes restaurants, theaters, factories, hotels, motels, just to name a few.

These accessibility standards require that all members of the public, virtually without exception, have access. The design must be approved by local zoning boards before the plans are approved. Accessibility standards apply not only to new construction, but may be applied to remodeling or renovation of existing buildings. This affects many older businesses.

The 2000 Census identified nearly 6.2 million Californians as having a disability. By the year 2010, this number is expected to increase to 11 million. California state government is responsible for providing service to all citizens, and accessibility laws ensure that these services are extended to those with disabilities.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted in 1990 to improve access for the disabled to almost every public business. Buildings are required to have barrier-free entryways, toilet facilities designed for wheelchair access, signs in Braille, low countertops, obstacle-free passageways, reserved parking, and numerous other features. Despite the enactment of the ADA, many in the disabled community report that a majority of businesses have made little or no effort to comply with this 15-year-old law.

For this reason, some people with disabilities have made it their crusade to ensure that the law is followed. While most disabled customers are motivated by a sincere desire to ensure access for all, there is a small group of opportunists who have partnered with a few law firms to track down and file suit against any business where they can find even the most trivial violation. These law firms appear to be responsible for the majority of ADA lawsuits — in fact, there have been over 1,000 ADA accessibility suits filed by just one professional plaintiff. That 1,000-suit plaintiff, George Louie, canvasses Northern California small businesses and calls himself a rebellious litigant.  In Southern California, another litigant ADA enforcer, Jared Molski, has filed close to 500 lawsuits against gas stations, bowling alleys and small businesses. Molski has dubbed himself as the Sheriff.

Maybe California provides a fertile litigious society that fuels this wildfire of lawsuits. Two California ADA statutes provide either $1,000 or $4,000 in minimum damages, plus attorney fees, for each successful claimant. An aggressive, highly observant claimant can maximize these awards by individually listing each condition he finds. Some file for damages against dozens of businesses at a time. This is the plight small business owners find themselves in. Many of them, when faced with such a lawsuit, end up just handing thousands in cash to the complainant, rather than fighting a court battle that will likely cost them even more.

Part of the problem is, ironically, that California standards are higher than those mandated by the Federal ADA. In some cases, state and federal regulations are in direct conflict. A business can follow ADA requirements to the letter and still be in violation of California law. It is estimated that only 5 percent of California public buildings are in complete compliance.

Few building inspectors and architects are fully informed on every nuance of state compliance standards. The ADA and California requirements for building accessibility are given in intricate, technical detail in state pamphlets. However, without any illustrations or diagrams, where the contractor can see how to build to those requirements, many are just making their best guess. Add to the misinformation and flawed interpretation the law firms that make their fortunes by sending clients in wheelchairs to find accessibility violations, and you have a big problem for California businesses and the contractors who build for them.

9 Good Reasons Why 50+ Entrepreneurship is in the Cards For You

9 Good Reasons Why 50+ Entrepreneurship is in the Cards For You

1. You’re smarter now and better connected than you’ve ever been

With aging comes sage-ing, as the saying goes. Which means that during your years at the office, or at the store, or at the site, or in the field, or behind the counter, or on the phone, or on the road, you have acquired abilities, wisdom, and contacts you may not even know you possess. You already have a ready reference encyclopedia of professional knowledge inside your head. You also have acquired a sharpened sense of business (and personal) psychology, and a set of expectations made reasonable in the fiery forge of worldly experience. Through the years you have distilled a sense of humor – and probably tolerance as well – about your own shortcomings, and about the people you work with. You know the score.

Blend these skills and insights together and you get, well, if you’ll pardon the stiffness of the phrase, a “mature attitude” – the kind that takes the first half of a lifetime to acquire. (“Only in our maturity,” the German poet Goethe once remarked, “can we understand what happened to us in our youth.”) This attitude automatically makes you better at what you do, especially when it comes to business, finance, and social interaction. It just works that way.

2. Entrepreneurship is now open to everyone

Two decades ago the word “entrepreneur” made you think of Daddy Warbucks type investors doling out millions in penthouse offices. During the Internet boom of the 1990s, entrepreneurship spoke of quick ramp-ups, drawing up complex business plans for untested technology, courting overly optimistic capitalists, making a quick kill, and cashing out pronto.

Today the very concept of entrepreneurship has changed. It still conjures up images of high finance. But it also makes us think of home offices, family businesses, small investment startups, local franchises, building a better mousetrap in the garage, and seeking after modest but satisfying lifestyle goals.

A white paper prepared by the Small Business Administration several years ago found that 69 percent of new jobs in the United States are created by start-up businesses. Business schools that focused exclusively on preparing students for work at major corporations now emphasize entrepreneurial training.

Such changes in commerce and education make later-life entrepreneurship more accessible and acceptable than ever before, especially for retirement age people who do not want to retire.

3. Technology makes it easy to run a small business from home

Until recently the first thing you did when starting a new business was rent an office space and hire a staff. This was the only way to make your new enterprise “real.” Working at home was scowled at by the professional world. “Home offices,” I recall a rich investor once telling me, “are for amateurs and people who are afraid of the world – xenophobes and agoraphobes.”

Today, of course, computers, printers, fax machines, telephone answering devices, email, and the Internet have changed all that, making home-based businesses manageable, inexpensive, and part-time, if so desired. They also offer an ideal second-career headquarters for workplace veterans who are tired of commuting and the long gray cubicle line. For a number of 50 plussers their “office” consists of a computer – period. Or sometimes just a phone.

And sometimes that’s enough.

4. You’re now in an excellent financial position to work for yourself

If you have been vigilant with your finances you have probably saved some money. You may also be heir to capital from pensions due, retirement plans, stock sharing, inheritance, Social Security, and other age-related payoffs.

Chances are, therefore, that you are in a reasonably sound financial position to take some judicious financial risks.

5. Knowledge-based businesses are now in high demand

Outsourcing was once considered a bad word. Today it is recognized as an efficient way to do business. This sea change is a boon for later-life entrepreneurs who can now use their skills, knowledge, and education to become independent contractors, or to set up their own consulting operations.

In the Information Age, knowledge is as sellable as a commodity as cars and houses. People over 50 have a particularly large stockpile of the goods.

6. Entrepreneurship trumps ageism

Popular attitudes toward older people in the workforce are changing for the better. Perhaps it is just that there is power in numbers, and that the sheer volume of workers over 50 is creating new marketplace norms. Whatever be the case, the climate is clearly turning friendly toward older workers in the business community. Consequently, so is the support and encouragement of society.

At the same time, if you decide to continue working past retirement age, there is always a chance that agism will rear its grouchy head, especially if you seek employment at a company or corporation. Entrepreneurship, meanwhile, frees you from such prejudices, and allows you to set your own agenda. When you become your own boss, the only one to decide how long you keep working is you.

7. Capital investment sources have become increasingly friendly to 50+ businesses

Bill Payne, a consultant at the Kauffman Foundation and an investor for 20 years, has recently seen a marked increase in boomer-led companies looking for seed money. He himself prefers funding these companies because of their founders’ expertise and experience.

“From an investor who looks at hundreds of business plans per quarter,” says Payne, “we are encouraged when we see some senior guys who have a lot of vertical experience – we know they’re bringing business savvy and that they’re reasonable, rational people. We definitely are seeing more people in the boomer age bracket.”

Bill Payne’s sentiments are increasingly common at banks, lending institutions, private organizations, and among angel investors and funding sources. “A lot of the smart investment money,” a private lender recently told me, “is going to business veterans these days. They know what to do with it better.”

8. You can make your new business a family affair and pass down the values and rewards

For many years you’ve worked to support your family. Now you can work with your family – with a spouse, partner, children, brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts.

This ready-made staff automatically becomes the beneficiary of your business expertise and monetary investment. In turn, you have employees who you like and trust. Keeping it all in the family gives you the opportunity to teach loved ones what you yourself have learned in business through the years, and thus to pass on your legacy of knowledge to future generations.

Finally, later on, when you retire, or when you leave on a more permanent basis, the business you’ve built with your relatives can become a source of family income and fulfillment for years to come.

When set up and administered properly, a family business is a win-win deal.

9. You can set your own level of time and involvement

A major benefit of 50+ entrepreneurship is that you can tailor-make a business to fit your private needs and personal schedule.

You can, for example, decide how many hours per week you work, and spend the rest of the time with family and friends. You can choose to do business with partners. Or you can go it alone. You can focus on current income or on building future value. You can work at home or in an outside office.

Few people in all history have been privy to such a wide range of occupational options as they are today. Take advantage of them.

The Direct Marketing Star of 2009

The Direct Marketing Star of 2009

Direct mail and websites must be consistent. Especially if the consumer receives direct mail and decides to go online to respond.

But in 2009, I think you have to identify whether it’s direct mail, or your website, that plays the starring role. Only a few years ago there was little question that direct mail was the “center of the direct marketing universe.” But I think that is rapidly changing. Online is rapidly becoming the “direct marketing center of the universe” with its unique ability to support inbound marketing efforts. Not long ago, I would have said that a website supports direct mail. Today I think direct mail supports a website. I’m not sure you can “integrate” direct mail and your website, but there certainly must be continuity and consistency of offers.

That having been said, demographics of your customers must be considered. The parents of Baby Boomers tend to be readers and, I believe, will continue to read direct mail. They aren’t known to be web-savvy so they may rarely consider using the web to conduct additional research and transact business.

Baby Boomers are more likely to blend direct mail and the online experience. But I think there should be a huge concern to anyone using direct mail who is pushing response to a website. When a consumer reads direct mail, and you point her to your website, she might research other offers for identical products using keywords and key phrases that organically bring up competitive offers. If the direct mail offer didn’t sell her on doing business with you, she might find a competitor online, who has optimized their website, and get a better deal than you were offering. Which begs the question: if you are using direct mail, do you really want your customer to go online when they can be so easily distracted, and through organic search easily find and buy from your competition?

And the younger the individual, in their 20s and 30s, the more likely the web is where they go for community, social interaction, shopping, and entertainment, and research before they buy something offline. Any of us with teenagers or twenty-somethings see them mostly ignoring direct mail-and even e-mail solicitations. All they need comes from a computer screen, speaker and keyboard or, more and more, their cell phone they’re using for texting and surfing the Web.

Online search, cutting across most age groups, is where the marketing action is to find your website. If your website isn’t optimized, you might as well not exist. If you’re not capturing email addresses for email marketing, you’re leaving money on the table. If you’re not adding content every week, your organic website rankings will slowly sink. If you’re not thinking mobile technology, you’re missing lots of young people. If you want to keep your customer or donor plugged into your company, you need to do so with blogs and social media. And by all means, get Google Analytics tracking what’s happening on your website so you can see your results. It’s amazingly sophisticated and useful in its reporting, and it’s free.

The rules of direct marketing engagement have shifted. While direct mail and websites can, and must, co-exist, their roles are different today as consumers migrate more and more online. The economics of marketing online, and the desire of consumers to do business online, have, in my opinion, permanently shifted how we will market this year and beyond. It’s less and less of us pushing our wares to consumers and businesses. It’s more and more consumers and business searching for what they want, and that means as marketers it’s essential to get smart quickly about inbound marketing methods-positioning ourselves to be found-and the online experience.

Direct marketers that don’t recognize this fundamental shift now risk lagging behind when the economy perks back up. It takes months, even years, for search engine optimization techniques to grab a foothold. And, tomorrow’s strategies may be different from today’s, as that world is evolving quickly. So your challenge as a direct marketer is how to manage that shift so you retain your position in the marketplace and not let it be eroded by some smart Internet-savvy upstart who outmaneuvers you.

Business on Both Sides of Your Brain

Business on Both Sides of Your Brain

We all have two modes of thinking, which are located in the left and right part of our brains. The left part of your brain likes logic and facts. When the left part of your brain is in charge, you are aware of time, can do mathematics, like details, and like everything to be orderly and predictable. When the right part of your brain is in charge, you see possibilities, make connections, prefer pictures and stories, and are willing to take risks. Here are some of the characteristics associated with each side of your brain:

Left Brain

  • Logical
  • Sequential
  • Analyzes
  • Measures
  • Numbers
  • Likes Facts

Right Brain

  • Intuitive
  • Random
  • Recognizes Patterns
  • Dreams
  • People
  • Likes Pictures, Stories

Many of us learned to rely on our left brain thinking in school. We were rewarded for meeting certain standards. Reading and writing, science and mathematics were all important subjects. We were taught the “right way” to do things and measured against predefined levels of achievement.

Right brain thinking is much more individual and unpredictable. Creativity is hard to control and impossible to measure. In school it was often ignored or relegated to an optional art class.

Successful business needs both kinds of thinking. A business full of right-brain thinking will have lots of fresh ideas and the passion to make new connections and grow. A business full of left-brain thinkers will analyze and measure to keep itself under control. You need all of these things to be successful.

The right-brained part of your team will help you develop ideas, services, products that make you unique and successful in the marketplace. This is where you big picture thinking happens. People who rely more strongly on right brain thinking also recognize patterns and can handle the complexity of working with people issues. Their ability to make connections helps them develop strong relationships. Right-brained people are forever optimistic because they see possibilities instead of risk.

The left-brained part of your team will keep you grounded. These people like order and efficiency. People who rely more strongly on the left brain like facts and numbers. They like to document routines and processes that they can measure. They want a stable world that can be easily controlled.

You don’t have to do it all yourself! The good news is that you don’t have to do everything yourself. Even as a solopreneur, you can build a team of associates and advisors that includes right-brain and left-brain thinkers. Managing the different viewpoints may be a challenge at times, but it will be well worth it. Your business will thrive when you use both sides of your brain!

7 Small Business Marketing Strategies to Survive and Thrive

7 Small Business Marketing Strategies to Survive and Thrive

Small businesses in particular are feeling the pinch of this recession. You can survive and thrive even in this economy with these 7 simple marketing strategies:

1. Transfer your skill set to another market. Many business owners get stuck thinking negatively about the impact the recession has had on their business. Creative business owners think about how to transfer what they know and are doing already to other markets and prospects.

2. Look to other prospects other than your ideal client base. If you have been serving middle class clients for the last umpteen years, switch it up and target a more upscale client that can pay cash.

3. Don’t look at shutting down extra service or features; look at expanding little extras that cost you little to nothing. By adding those, you stay above the competition and it requires less work.

4. Slim down your most expensive offerings into smaller chunks that people can and are willing to buy.

5. Throw in a few freebies to entice people to buy. Repurpose a few things that you already do or provide but people rarely recognize into small freebies that you promote. You would be surprised at how much people will appreciate that right now.

6. Cash is king right now. Keep a close watch on your payroll and expenses. Make sure you have enough cash on hand to survive a prolonged downturn. Slow sales happens to every business owner at some point. Make sure you are prepared for it.

7. Make time to brainstorm inexpensive marketing techniques that you haven’t explored before that are inexpensive and effective such as changing your menu of product or services, exploring different clientele, changing your geo-targets, etc.

Resist just lowering prices. Follow the steps above for small business success and you can ride out this recession.