A Critique of Small Businesses

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As a part of Living in the 21st Century I wanted to take a closer look at small businesses. I’m not talking about freelancers and independent contractors right now, I’m talking about your friendly neighborhood “startup.” The type of business that brings together a small group of clever people to tackle some hard problem, and runs into all the issues inherent in that task. The following are a few truths I’ve learned while working with them.

1. You have big dreams, which is a very good thing.

2. You want those dreams to come true all at the same time, which is a very bad thing.

3. You need to be more willing to take chances, take risks and execute on plans.

4. Moreover, you need to be a lot more willing to show yourself off to the public, even when you know that your product still needs work.

5. In fact, just stop inventing reasons not to launch, there is nothing new under the Sun and all of your problems have been seen a thousand times before.

6. Narrow your scope, everything can be done but not everything can be done at the same time.

7. Set priorities and not just the fake ones that last until the end of the “product road mapping” meeting.

8. Stick to your guns, your pristine list of priorities has no value if every new whim manages to wiggle its way to the top.

9. Pick a market, trying to be everything for everyone is roughly equivalent to be nothing for no one.

10. Pick something to do really well, whether it’s service or features or a funny cartoon mascot of a Badger, find one thing that you can be good at and devote your energy to being really good at it.

11. Ignore most of the rest, once you know what you do well do that and let the rest fall into place in its own time.

12. Make better use of your money, most of your problems early on will involve it.

13. Making better use of your money often means pretending that you have less of it, especially when things are going well.

14. More specifically, save when you’re ahead so that you can spend when you’re behind and understand that almost all markets work in cycles and that the most debilitating problem you can face is to be under-prepared for when that cycle turns.

15. You have no idea what your customer really wants, the faster you understand this fact the better off you’ll be.

16. Knowing this, be willing to show your customers your product and see what they do with it, then get over your ego and change your offering to meet your customer’s needs.

17. Meet less and for better reasons — there is almost nothing that a 6 hour long meeting can accomplish that could not happen in 1/3rd that time if everyone stayed on track.

18. Talk more and for less formal reasons — continuous dialogue between members of the team is what will grow the business, don’t be afraid to say your ideas out loud, write them down and prioritize them as appropriate.

19. Write everything down, a useless notation today could be a key insight tomorrow.

20. Stop reinventing the wheel, the wheel exists for a reason and that reason is that it often works.

21. Focus on making one small change at a time, the first step to changing the world is changing the light bulb.

22. Realize that all evolution involves these tiny steps and become more comfortable with the boring, everyday improvements that lead to the major shifts.

23. Be less concerned with everyone elses definition of success, keeping up with the Joneses is not a growth strategy.

24. Be more concerned with accomplishing goals, and with setting goals that you have the talent and tenacity to accomplish.

25. Understand when a goal just can’t be accomplished right now, and be willing to set it aside for the greater good.

26. Be willing to say no to otherwise good ideas that just don’t fit into the way that your business operates.

27. Realize that the business you have in five years will be entirely different than that the business you have today, take joy in that fact and work everyday to stay alive long enough to see what it looks like. (Images)

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  • thanks for sharing your article

  • spa supplies

    Your blogs and articles are very realistic and up to point. This article is quite true how small business class pay attention and work harder on their business.

  • Such valid points, I deal with businesses who fall victim to such mistakes all the time. I think I'm going to print this out for new business owners I meet! Mind you, I could probably pay attention to one or two of the points more myself! Anyway, I really enjoyed reading this post, glad I found this blog too! Keep up the good work.

  • Fan

    That is true. Aside all that you have mentioned, you need to believe in what you dream of doing too.

  • Start small and measure the success! Be prepared to kill your darlings fast...

  • I also want to agree that is worth to start a small business, even
    it takes a lot of time and effort .But it's amazing when you are your
    own boss.

  • Be willing to say no to otherwise good ideas that just don’t fit into the way that your business operates. 

  • seo

    Meet less and for better reasons — there is almost nothing that a 6 hour
    long meeting can accomplish that could not happen in 1/3rd that time if
    everyone stayed on track.

    I truly agree on this, i really hate a long meeting and behind that you are lots of things.

  • At least this article can help us to find a good hostel for us. Sometimes we don't get what we all want, but as long the hostel is clean I think that is ok.

  • Thanks for the article. Very interesting. 

  • Thank
    you for providing such a valuable information ,It helpful for me.

  • I am great fan of your blog.Every time I come here I see something very new.Thanks for sharing the information

  • this kind of advice makes me smile,your definitely right in this.. thumbs up.. :))

  • Its a very good post. I was very pleased to find this site.

  • Very informative content.I like this very much and thank you for sharing it with us.

  • I have a small B&M, and your post truly speaks to me. Indeed, it's tough  and all but hard work.  At the end of the day, you know that you are in-love with your work, and by that we need to stick with our guns and strive to make it better. Thanks, Steve.  

  • This Articles prove to be of a high value and quality for readers. I like to read this information.

  • Great Post. Nice to learn so much

  • Nice post with much useful information  It´s a pity that´s too late for me. I´ve gave up my business 3 month ago. The rent was priceless for me . I thought, I make more money

  • Hi,
    I have read your blog post. You have shared knowledgeable information. Thanks for updating me with this kind of post.

  •  I have found here much useful information for yourself. Many thanks to the editors for the info

  • Great post, very informative. Interesting!

  • It is so true that the business you start with might not be what you would be doing in 5 years time, it may be completely different and nowhere near to what you started with but you still succeed, this is called evolution

  • Very interesting article!

  • a critical but very constructive, those are the ones that help people improve, I think the points you mentioned are super important,when starting a business whether large or small should take into account these points, very good information .

  • Tim

    Very nice and helpful information thank you very much for sharing it! I think a lot of people are too afraid to start up theri own small or big business and i think that list might help a lot of them. I like the last of your points this must be something to write in big letters on the front door of my bureau;)

  • Great tips, besides, they can be useful for any business, not just for a small startup.

  • These are very good and encouraging tips. I know lots of people wh odidn't start their businesses just because they were afraid to lose everything. I will share this article with them - they must overcome their fears to start a better life!

  • Jacque3012

    Ask yourself whether you believe this team is capable of executing the business strategy outlined in the plan.

  • "Realize that the business you have in five years will be entirely
    different than that the business you have today, take joy in that fact
    and work everyday to stay alive long enough to see what it looks like." - This is something I tell myself everyday when I wake up, hoping and praying to build this company into my dreams.  I've got nothing to stop me but myself and here's to hoping I make it there!

  • I totally see what you're saying. Thanks for sharing.

  • These facts lies with this type and we came across such business almost everyday. Some mailing lists also aimed to make collective efforts to populate such things.
    However, as mentioned, these types are time oriented and as quickly appear, so quickly disappears and switch to another name and product. So, they are not reliable. 

  • I think the hardest thing is making the money last, the cash flow just has to work. You have to make a chart in advance so you can monitor every little change that might occur. And don't be too optimistic!

  • kk

  • dj münchen

    ... as your site was recommended to me by mister wong, Im reading with delight.
    Greetings from Germany

  • Very nice information shared by you. I was just searching this type of information and luckily I got it from your blog. I like your blog also. Keep it up.

  • seo

    this is nice post.thanx

  • Wow, this is great advice. I own a small business myself and there are some important topics i seem to be doing wrong. I just printed your list to read it again in the next few days

  • Yep, really good material!many thing thta i havent heard before!keep up the good work!

  • Always good to have checklist. nice points to be taken into account.

  • Nice Post. Quite intersting. Well done. Keep it up.

  • Obviously the site is a great one

  • Very interesting, thanks for sharing! :)

  • Thankyou for sharing your knowledge

  • Thanks for your sharing, i thank the success is not duplicate, every body have his method.

  • Yep, really good material. Obvious is many ways, but more than worthwhile spelling it out. Good work!

  • starting a new business is not easy.  determination and ample of guts are needed to succeed.

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