People always ask if we have any suggestions for being successful. They question if we can name what we think contributed the most to our success. As one of the major business advisors in Houston, we’d like to share our observations from years of business experience. Applicable for both online and physical businesses, here are our top eleven tips for success:
- Always ensure all of your phone calls and emails get returned. In addition, make a lot of contacts and requests through phone, email, or even in person. We’re absolutely shocked at the number of people who don’t bother to return the request. It’s disrespectful and classless to ignore someone’s request – it disappoints them. When people are disappointed, they let others know you’ve wronged them. The fewer people out there talk bad about you, the better.
- Help anyone who asks. It doesn’t matter what it is (as long as it’s legal) – if someone asks you to assist them and you can, don’t hold back. Whether it requires setting aside some valuable time, writing a check, rolling up your sleeves, or just responding to a question from someone who doesn’t know as much, suck it up and help.
- Try knowing more than most people do about your business or industry. Go to a trade show or seminar every now and then. Participate in forums or discussions, whether they’re online or not. It’ll keep you connected to the people in your industry, making you a guru. The internet is a brilliant tool for getting you there.
- Treat your employees well – because they deserve it. In our business, our employees get away with a lot. They can come and go as they please, get surprise perks all the time, and are well paid. While some take advantage of these, they don’t last long. Being bad to your subordinates always come back to haunt you. It also means that you’ll get hosed. Try to make the workplace as casual, comfortable, and fun as you can. Show your employees by example, how you want them to treat co-workers and customers. They’re going to follow your lead. If they don’t like coming to work, it will show in what your business produces.
- Appreciate everyone who assists you in climbing the ladder – especially those who didn’t gain anything from it. This is another thing that we’re shocked more people have not caught on to. A simple, heartfelt thank you acknowledges the time and effort of these people, cementing them as allies. Trust us: you need all the allies you can get.
- Befriend your competitors. Yes, you’re all competing for customers, but you’re all frogs in the same pot of boiling water.
- Keep your sense of humor – it’s invaluable.
- Over-deliver to your customers. Remind them you’re watching out for their business and treat them as if they’re your friends.
- Get a hobby – race car, motorcycle, hot tub, whatever. You need a transition away from business to your personal self. Ensure you have one. It’ll give your mind a chance to disengage and enable you to background process all you’re thinking about. Transferring information from the conscious mind to the subconscious one is like working out using different muscles – it’ll help you gain results.
- Be very careful who you choose to listen to, but have a go-to team, and defer to someone niftier than you. While people mean well, it takes far less courage to poke holes in someone’s idea than it does to highlight the positive. Try keeping some good advisors around you.
- Don’t give up.
Irrespective of the books you read about getting rich quick, it doesn’t happen that way (most of the time). While some of us make it look simple, it really isn’t – but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it.
If you want an appointment for business consulting in Houston to help you in your journey to success, contact TruView Business Advisors now.Read More
If you’ve long wished to be self-employed, to design your own destiny, or call your own shots, try bypassing all those yeah-buts that’ve been stopping you everytime. While business ownership may not be for the ordinary, it’s the only way to go for those who understand the American Dream by accomplishing a satisfying lifestyle through business ownership. Successful business owners share specific character traits that have assisted them in getting there. They have what it takes to overcome barriers – to evaluation situations – and have a can-do attitude. Let’s discuss three types of attitudes:
The self-protective type
This person usually wants to be comfortable. They work hard to seek a routine comfort level, avoid pain, fly under the radar, play it safe, and avoid risks. This probably describes most people to a certain degree. In maintaining the status quo, shaking things up, or not making waves, all of us have a certain degree of comfort. But if being more extra cautious can’t be overcome, business ownership may not be in the cards. Besides, being self-sufficient equates to being self-employed. It requires you to be confident in your abilities and get out of your comfort zone. While many people may think it’s riskier to work for profit instead of a steady paycheck, millions of people are laid off and fired every year in the corporate world; being an employee is rarely low risk.
The self-involved type
To a large degree, this person believes that they are the strongest, fastest, biggest, the best, and the smartest. However, their ego can let them down. These people are systematic, focused, and successful goal setters – but they can have trouble as enterprise builders. They may not be willing to listen to others who are in the position to advise them, like financial advisors, attorneys, accountants, or other business experts. Since they can’t empathize with others, they’re unable to lead and inspire. So, they can’t piece together the building blocks that set the foundation of successful business operation – a group of people working together as a team. Interpersonal and management skills along with the ability to delegate, must be present somewhere in the DNA of an owner of a long-running business.
The self-esteemed type
These individuals have the inner motivation and creative spirit that drives them to accomplish what motivates them. They embrace personal responsibility and believe if there’s a problem, they can come up with a solution. They know what they aren’t aware of and the skills they lack and fully intend to hire others to fill the gaps. They know what makes them tick and have a God-gifted inclination to be responsible for doing the right thing – with judgement and honesty. They also believe that others will do the same.
Keep in mind that none of the above types is the stand-alone secret of business ownership. It’s the genetic makeup or right combination of these attitudes that are the stuff that successful business owners are composed of. For example, self-protectiveness is a natural instinct. It’s impossible to survive without it. However, this attitudinal gene should be tempered and can’t be so dominant that it’s difficult to overcome. A measure of risk must be allowed to take a leap of faith. By exercising due diligence on any specific business of interest and performing a self-assessment before pursuing a business acquisition, a potential business ownerr can accomplish an acceptable risk level for their individual situation.
In search of business advisors in Houston? Well, you couldn’t have come to a better place. Call us now to know more!Read More
If two firms are selling similar products, how can you differentiate yourself so that customers purchase from you and not your competitor?
If you’re opening a business that’s selling the same thing as everyone else, then there’s no reason for your business to exist. Coming up with a unique concept with some stunning product innovation and development is the key to success. So, it’s essential to provide at least some products as part of your mix that customers can’t get anywhere else.
That being said, it’s not possible for a small business just making its way into the market to compete with big business on volume. However, it can compete with them on relationships. Relationships with customers, employees, and vendors. Here’s how:
Change your views
According to Andrew Carnegie, making money becomes an easy proposition after the other guy’s basket is filled to the brim. It means that a business does not have to be a zero-sum game. Nobody needs to lose for someone else to win. Instead, try developing mutually-beneficial relationships with your vendors to assist them in producing, while offering the kind of high-quality, well-designed, fun, and useful products that will delight your customers.
How do you do this? Honestly, these relationships take time to develop. Still, initially, you should spend a significant amount of time familiarizing yourself with your vendors, learning about their business and the issues they face. You should then be looking for ways to assist them, make them more profitable, more productive, and of course, happier. And in turn, allow them to get to know you, your business, and what you stand for.
When you develop relationships like this, you’ll be shocked at how many of your vendors aren’t willing, but happy to provide you great pricing, high quality, fast delivery, and exclusive, custom-made products. While it’s difficult to beat the mass merchants on a lot of things, you can sure defeat them on relationships.
Train your employees to sell solutions, not just products
There are many instances of firms where training is perceived as an afterthought or a burden. However, comprehensive training for new hires on every aspect of the products you sell enables them to truly serve as the experts, and offer valuable service to your customers. Thus, you’re not doing, “items-based selling,” but “solutions-based selling.”
When a customer approaches one of your employees and asks about a product, the representative must start asking questions to understand their needs – maybe even finding needs said customer didn’t know they had when they first came in. It’s after assessing their needs that the employee can recommend the best possible solution for them – whether it’s the product they originally came in for, or not. That is truly one of the biggest differentiators out there – and excellent customer service, to boot.
Create an environment where customers want to shop
Don’t underestimate the significance of developing an environment where people want to shop. This applies whether your business is online or brick and mortar. It’s having that, “air of enthusiasm,” or something you can feel in the bright visual displays of useful, clever, elegant products. The customer can feel genuine interest in the their needs, and employees’ smiling faces. Customers can sense when employees are enjoying their jobs and having fun – it’s a contagious attitude, which hopefully causes customers to spend more time shopping. This differentiates you from others irrespective of what you’re selling.
In search of a business for sale in Houston? Call TruView Business Advisors: we’ll have several options from which you can choose.Read More
The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc globally on a big scale. The COVID-19 threatens lives while the measures required to stop its spread threaten livelihoods. The combination has forced numerous businesses into financial distress and will continue to impact businesses for months to come.
Due to this pandemic, there are three categories of firms available for transactions: firms that have advantaged from the crisis (value likely to be up), those that were healthy before the pandemic and are now distressed, stressed, or shot down (value likely to be down), and firms that were distressed or teetering pre-pandemic and are now even worse off (value going down even further).
Since the coronavirus crisis and the resulting distress aren’t size-specific, industry-specific, or geographically restricted, private equity investor of every type on the buy/sell-side of M&A transactions need to come up with a high-pressure, high-risk period in an economy so distinct that it is not possible to predict precisely based on previous recessions or historical models. Even as the market has flipped from fierce competition for fewer deals and seller’s market of high valuations to a buyer’s market of more deals at fewer valuations, a large number of deals will be distressed. For dealmakers who are accustomed to healthy company transactions, the idea of distressed investment offers big opportunity, but also a big challenge.
Distressed investment is to healthy company investment as sprinting is to marathoning. While both of them are running races, they have very non-transferable and unique characteristics and requirements to compete effectively. Just like a marathoner isn’t likely to do well in a sprint without substantial support and preparation, a healthy company investor diving head-first into the distressed M&A market is likely to find themselves struggling to keep up and without sufficient risk mitigation. But those that have the power to adapt to this new normal will have opportunities for substantial returns.
Can the Business Adapt Quickly to Survive?
As the business emerges from its immediate crisis, distress creates the chance for an investor to get it right. After developing a deep understanding of how the business got to the condition it is in, you’re in a position to pinpoint what can be changed to improve performance going forward. The immediate to-do list should comprise an analysis of the company’s days payable outstanding (or DPO), vendor contracts, historical liabilities, capital structure, workforce, days sales outstanding (or DSO), pricing, customer base, structure, along with shedding of non-money-making/non-core locations, units, and assets. While forecasts are challenging today, business fundamentals remain. More money has to come in than goes out; it’s typical that 20% of the revenue generates 80% of the profit, and bet on good management every time.
When it comes to predicting the capability of a distressed business to survive and eventually thrive in the long-term, investors usually look backward by challenging every line on the income statement and the balance sheet and look forward based on consumer-trend and economic forecasts. No one has a clear picture of how consumers will behave once a reliable forecast is available, and mandates are lifted, thanks to the uncertainty that the coronavirus pandemic has injected into today’s market. It has become important for the long-term viability assessment to challenge every assumption about the behaviors of the consumer in the same way that the historical analysis has always challenged all the line items within the financials. Will customers return to restaurants and stores, or will the coronavirus pandemic-driven migration to online sales change the retail landscape irreversibly? Will people return to hotels, airplanes, and face-to-face interactions, or have they become so accustomed to digital interactions that those sections will never return to the pre-2020 levels?
Plus, demand is not the only uncertainty. It is important to question the assumptions around supply too since you aren’t dealing with just a single faltering business, but with whole faltering industries. Look at the whole supply chain, from distribution to facilities to parts, and factor in where supplies are coming from – are they being produced somewhere abroad, where production could be closed even as the US opens again?
Business managers and investors who get the answers to questions like these right will be the ones who are positioned to succeed in the upcoming years.
Interested in certified business valuation or selling a distressed business in Houston? Let TruView Business know.Read More
There is no doubt that the COVID-19 situation seems to change with each and every day. The disruption and chaos that the pandemic has injected into both daily life and business is obvious. Just as it is often difficult to keep track of the ebbs and flows of the pandemic, the same can be stated for keeping up to speed on the government’s response and what options exist to assist companies of all sizes.
In this article, we’ll turn our attention to an overlooked area of the government’s pandemic response and how businesses can use a whole new lending platform to navigate the choppy waters.
As the pandemic continues, you will want to be aware of the main street lending program, which is a whole new lending platform. It was designed for businesses that were financially sound prior to the pandemic. Authorized under the CARE Act, the main street lending program is quite attractive for an array of reasons. Let’s take a closer look at what makes this program almost too good to be true.
This lender delivered program is a commercial loan. Unlike the PPP, there is no forgivable component. However, the main street lending program does have one remarkable feature that will certainly grab the attention of all kinds of businesses. It can be used to refinance existing debt at a rate of around 3%. With that stated, it is also important to note that businesses cannot refinance existing debt with the current lender. Instead, a new lender must be found. Generally, loans are a minimum of a quarter million dollars and have a five-year term. In another piece of good news, there is a two-year payment deferment period.
The main street lending program can be used in a variety of ways. In short, the program is not simply for refinancing existing debt. Additionally, there is no penalty for prepayment. The way the program works is that lenders make the loans and then sell 95% of the loan value to the Fed. This of course means that the lender is only required to retain 5% of the loan on their balance sheet. The end result is that lenders can dramatically expand the amount of loans they can make.
Whether it is the PPP or a program like the main street lending program, there are solid options available to help you. Businesses looking to restructure debt or put an infusion of cash to good use may find that the main street lending program offers a very flexible loan with great interest rates.
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