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In a Small Business, There Are No Absolutes. Everything is Relative. What Works, is What Works for You!

small-business-blog-what-works-for-youWhile a trite expression, "no two businesses are alike," is a fundamental one. "Experts" are constantly telling you, the small business owner that you MUST do this, or you MUST do that, or you will fail. I have never believed that and my more than 30 years' experience as a small business CEO and advisor and my interaction with, literally, thousands of companies, has more than reinforced that. There is no one size fits all solution!

I have seen businesses succeed without a smattering of a plan (something I strongly urge all companies to have); with all employees as shareholders (another strong feeling of mine), or with none but the owner as a shareholder; without a single dollar of outside capital (no debt, no equity, just operating out of cash flow), or dozens of small equity participants, or millions of dollars in investment. I have watched other businesses find success with only "word of mouth" marketing, some with no sales force but the owner. What works is what works for you!

Now some of you, who pay attention to both my blog posts and my tweets know that I am also a strong believer in change, as a catalyst for growth. Now how do I (and you) reconcile this point?

Well, back to what works. If it's working, my advice is keep doing it. But, of course, if your results start to suffer (as many small businesses have found, especially, over the past three years) then you almost have to look for new ways to do old things. Find new ways to do what works for you.

But even when you go down that path, you need to be careful how you sift through the plethora of advice that's out there, not just from Yoda, but other much smarter and more eloquent folks (you'll note I didn't say more experienced) than me. Here's some guidance to help you.

First, approach the advice landscape as a Chinese menu. Seek advice according to what issues or problems you face, or what opportunities you're trying to capitalize on. Second, understand where the "advisor" is coming from. Most every professional advisor has specialized focus - sales, marketing, HR, etc. (although my perspective is always as a CEO or owner so that's a little different). Understand that when they're giving advice in their area of expertise and when they're venturing beyond (smart people tend to think if they're smart over here, then they must be smart over there as well). Third, pick those "nuggets" that seem to fit for you, your style and your small business. Don't allow the hot "strategy du jour" to drive change, simply for change's sake.

But no matter, at the end of the day, get as many perspectives as you can and find the one that works best for how you do business.

"The Entrepreneur's Yoda" knows these things. He's been there. May success be with you!


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