Business Growth = Change. If you want your small business to grow, you have to continually change. Whether it's pricing, packaging, process, delivery, organization...or just customers' minds! Little or no growth can happen without some level of change.
A Bob Dylan song, "Positively Fourth Street," had a great line in it - "...I wish that for just one time, you could stand inside my shoes, and for just one moment I could be you." Have you ever thought about trying to stand in your customer's shoes?
Good and loyal employees are what underpin success. Making your employees owners may be the smartest thing you ever do. It gives employees a more positive job perspective and an advantage for optimizing value and hedging against business failure.
"Buzz-words" are the stock in trade of big corporations not entrepreneurial endeavors. Lofty words or phrases that, often, become words to hide behind; to put under your pillow to help you sleep better, but don't help you gain the success you seek.
Wasn't this entrepreneur stuff supposed to be controlling your own destiny and riches beyond your wildest imagination? Yet, as each day passes you feel like the proverbial hamster on a wheel, running as fast as you can...mostly in place!
Great customer service is critical to the success of any small business. However, so is a quality product. They are two sides of the same customer experience coin. You have to be focused on both or you won't keep customers, long-term.
As you grow your company you will have to hire and manage people to achieve that growth. You will have to learn how to be a boss and how not to become like the one (or ones) you hated most in your business life. The jerks!
A line from "Cool Hand Luke" that is, often, what causes negative customer relationships. Not just with direct communication with the customer, but, as likely, with the internal communication (or lack thereof) within a company that affects that customer.
There is no one size fits all mentor for entrepreneurs and small business owners. An advisor or mentor relationship has to fit a small business like a good running shoe fits your foot. It gets you where you want to go, with support and without blisters!
Recently, there was an article in the Wall Street Journal on CEO "burnout." While it focused, primarily, on larger public companies, "burnout" is an issue that is applicable with lessons to be learned for entrepreneurs and small business owners.