Professional Jeweler Archive: Five Tips for Business Survival

February 2002

Managing/Your Business

Five Tips for Business Survival

Recognize common flaws that trip up small businesses and avoid them

icant percentage of entrepreneurial ventures die a premature death because they fail to implement necessary life-saving strategies to succeed. Here are the fatal flaws that entrepreneurs fall prey to when starting or growing their businesses – and strategic solutions.

Fatal Flaw #1: Failure to Work from a Plan

Whether your business is a germ of an idea or well into its growth cycle, it’s suicidal not to have a plan. We’re not talking about formal business plans the likes of which are required when securing funding from a bank or venture capital organization. What is necessary, however, is some written plan identifying the current stage of your business, where you expect it to go growth-wise in the coming year and how you intend to get there. The plan needs to be realistic and specific so you can benchmark your performance along the way and make necessary alternative plans.

All business planning should have a contingency plan also. What will you do if the economy declines? What if your product or service is no longer in as great a demand?

Fatal Flaw #2: Failure to Understand and Effectively Use the Concept of Marketing

Planning includes specifics from a marketing perspective. Unfortunately, most small businesses throw money at unproductive marketing tactics rather than seek expertise on developing a strategy aligned with their core values. Or they fail to allocate enough money to provide the marketing efforts necessary to fuel profits. You must address both issues to maximize marketing efforts.

Fatal Flaw #3: Failure to Deal Effectively with the People Factor

Owners must have a leadership strategy in which they trust their employees to perform in their respective roles. Far too often entrepreneurs are reluctant to let go of the reins – often at the cost of losing valuable employees who are talented and could play an integral role in the company’s growth. Authentic caring about employees counts too. As Len Roberts, chairman and CEO of Radio Shack, says, “You can’t fake caring. If you really understand why leaders fail, it’s because they are unable to care.”

Flaw #4: Failure to Communicate

Entrepreneurial leaders must be powerful communicators who connect with their people to convey what is most important. They don’t have to be charismatic, but they have to be compelling in their ability to help others capture their passion for the company’s vision and purpose and to embrace the cultural values that drive the company’s success.

Flaw #5: Failure to Adapt With the Times

Change is as fluid in entrepreneurial ventures as in major corporations, so planning is critical to enduring success. This requires an attitude that embraces change and the allocation of resources to identify and make necessary shifts. Those unwilling to adapt with nimbleness will see their profits plateau – even fiercely erode.

– Bette Price

Bette Price is an author, speaker and president of The Price Group, a leadership development company. She is the coauthor of True Leaders: How Exceptional CEOs and Presidents Make a Difference by Building People and Profit (Dearborn Trade Press, 2001).

Copyright © 2002 by Bond Communications