Thursday, January 14, 2016

Putting risks to work for you

      Running a small business teaches the owner many things. One of them is knowing that everything you do carries a risk. Not all risks turn out well, but some do.

     If your mother had not given birth to you, you would not be reading this. Likewise, if you had not taken the risk of failing, you would not be in business.

     Life is full of risks. A tree limb can fall on you, but you still walk under trees. An oncoming vehicle can swerve in front of you, but you still drive.

     In business you are continually taking risks. You bring in new products or you offer new services. You make adjustments to customer service. You begin a promotional campaign on social media. 

     In every case, you risk failure. But small risks can help you inch toward your goal. And small risks help you prepare for the bigger, more important risks ahead.

     To grow a small business into a larger operation takes a dream, a plan, and follow-up. Taking risks along the way is part of the game. Of course, if you've built your small business to the size that you're comfortable with, and you don't want to grow bigger, that's one thing. But, if your dream is still not realized, then taking risks can get you there. Do the planning, step lively, and look back only to learn from it.

     Building bakeries -- Mary tried baking all sorts of goodies in her bakery until she settled on the mix of products that brought in retail customers and wholesale clients. She let the business "settle in" for a few years before deciding that the time was ripe to expand. She took a big loan, expanded her facilities and equipment, hired additional people, and purchased a van. When this expansion "settled in" Mary headed toward offering her first franchise. By taking risks along the way, she was following her long term plan--and the biggest risk of her life. 

     Once you get a risky step in the rear view mirror, it's time to consider the road ahead. That fear of failure can serve you well. Just don't let it prevent your tackling the next risk. After all, your mother didn't hesitate.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Teaching your way to success

     You are expert at what you do. And the general public is hungry for information. Put the two together, and you have a valuable way to promote your business.

     Hold a teaching session at your place, or offer to teach your subject at organizational meetings, senior centers, and elsewhere. Put your thinking cap on, and you'll come up with more than you want to do.

     Wellness -- An expert in Reiki holds regular classes in both beginner and advanced sessions. This is in addition to offering Reiki sessions privately to clients. These classes result in extending the interest in Reiki in the area, and it brings more referrals and clients.

     Social media -- A computer expert does animation, cartooning, web design, and the intricacies of social media. She decides to hold classes at her place, showing people how to use social media. Many business people attend the sessions, and they learn ways to promote using social media. This has brought new clients for the other services offered.

     Farming -- A dairy farmer turns his milk production into yogurt and specialty cheeses. Twice each year he offers extended classes in yogurt and cheese making. These are popular and are always filled. This hands-on teaching activity extends his marketing reach throughout the area--and brings in extra income. 

     Pottery -- A potter holds classes in her studio. She schedules both one time and on-going classes for both beginners and advanced students. These are priced accordingly, but the classes usually fill up, and she maintains a waiting list. The full schedule goes on all year. This promotes the sale of the potter's works.

     Teaching others can extend your marketing reach and bring you more clients. Attendees will pass the word around. And you use social media to do your advertising.