Tag Archives: Small Business

5 things you can do to run your tiny business like a huge corporation

Categories: Management | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why is your business small? And why are huge corporations huge? There are many reasons. Huge corporations usually are in businesses where there is a huge market which gives room to be huge. By definition, they have the most efficient ways of getting work done otherwise they wouldn’t be able to compete with the other corporations which also thrive on efficiency and potent marketing. Your business is small. It might be a niche business or a specialty service. There is no shame in having a small business and no shame if you don’t grow — just as long as you don’t shrink. But, in real life, you either grow or you shrink — so grow, and then give up your worst customers if you get tired. So, what can you do like a big corporation?

(1) Analyze
Big companies analyze their routines. They have set routines for all processes and have refined exactly how these processes are taught, done, and measured. To create a routine, you first need to make a list of all of the various ways you could do a various process. Try them all out, and then compare the results. You might find one is more time consuming but gives really good results, while another is time consuming but just wastes your time. As a general rule in business, time is of the essence and it pays to focus on what is critical and put less attention on what is less critical.

(2) Routines
As I mentioned in point 1, it is good to be regimented. You have to have discipline, daily, weekly and monthly habits to get ahead in business. Routines may evolve over time, and that is fine. But, you need to have all aspects of your business boiled down to a routine.

(3) The creative process
The creative process is the one aspect of your business that specifically should not be routine. Yes, you can have processes for creativity. You can have meetings, phone calls, trips to special places (like the beach in my case) where you think better. However, to be creative, it is best to shake up your daily routine and try something different, meet different people, and see how different businesses handle particular tasks. I was very inspired in Japan when I ordered an ice cream at Narita. It took them 20 seconds to process my order and have an ice cream in my hands. Americans would have taken two minutes for the same task. The Japanese are always a source of inspiration for me. Perhaps my processes can become lightening fast like the school girl ninjas I saw at the soft-serve bar in Japan.

(4) Hiring and firing
Large companies don’t just hire someone who seems good. They have multiple interviews, they test learning curves, they test abilities, and they try people out before giving employees critical tasks. Small businesses by definition have sloppy hiring practices — me included. We entrepreneurs lack the resources and skills to compare a new hire to thousands of others. Big companies also promote from within rather than hiring a new person to do a critical task. You cannot trust a stranger as well as a seasoned employee. Sure, the new hire might have better skills, but are they loyal and do you know their personality quirks? Big companies are refined about knowing personality types and getting rid of the ones that don’t fit their company image. Small companies are a disaster in this respect to the point that hiring disasters seems to be their company culture — what a disaster!

(5) Contracts & Legal issues
Big companies are very particular about legal issues. They will invest huge sums of money in Attorneys to make sure they stay out of trouble. Small companies are more concerned with getting work done and growing and less concerned with what can go wrong. An injury or a law suit could ruin you. Also, employee disputes can become a huge problem. Sometimes it is easier if you have contracts to govern employee behavior, injuries, maternity leave, etc. It is better if you have it all thought out ahead of time.

(6) Wait a second, the title says “5 things” you can do, not 6…
Yes, but here are some things you should probably not do as a small company to mimic big companies. The private jet looks fun, and might be a source of inspiration, but don’t get one now. Wait until you are ready and can afford it. In the mean time, have a photo of a private jet in your office and tell everyone it’s yours… in the future. The expensive offices may be too much. Sometimes it is more important to have an office that fits your personality and where your employees feel their best. Big offices downtown might be good to capture that energy of productivity. If that is what you need then pay the sky-high rent — it might be worth it. But, get what is right for you instead of blindly copying the big guys. Being too stiff and wearing suits all the time might be good for the big guys. It might be better for you to do yoga, meditate, and talk long walks by the beach wearing a tank top. It is hard to say what is right for you. Startups have a lot to learn about proper business procedure. But, some of the stuff the big guys do might not be so practical for the rest of us. Find out for yourself.

The best thing I did as a child was my small business

Categories: Of Interest | Tagged | Leave a comment

I was just talking to a childhood friend. We have known each other since age 14. He knows me better than anyone, and knows a lot about my childhood that I have simply forgotten like my coin collection for one. But, we were talking about the good old days. I told him that the best thing I did as a child was my landscaping business. It taught me business skills which I would not have survived without. I had a difficult time getting a job as an adult. But, since I had my own business since I was 14, I had the skills to drum up customers and get jobs done! My mom, dad, friends, and others tried to talk me out of doing my business and just focus on study or getting a regular dumb minimum wage job. I am so glad that I didn’t listen to these nay-sayers. I would have been ruined if I had.

I started when I was 14 with a small lawnmover. I got half of my neighbors to hire me. I didn’t charge much, but I made fast money because their lawns were small. As time went on, I purchased a huge lawnmover that could mow huge lawns in twenty minutes. I bought a small pick up truck and started doing lawns in other neighborhoods ten minutes or more away. I was not so smart how I ran my business. If I ran it with my consciousness I have today I would be rich. But, that is okay. As a child, you are expected to make tons of dumb mistakes. The point is that I learned how to get clients, run a business, hire people, buy equipment, and more at a very young age. The other kids talked about dumb things all day long, but I was up to date on lots of political issues, business, and more!

As an adult I started a tutoring business, notary business, and several online directories — one of which makes a lot of money. Without that foundation I created as a child, I never would have succeeded as an adult. I would have been a complete failure. When your kid has a crazy idea to do a business. Don’t talk him out of it. Just talk him into thinking about the business in a reasonable and cautious way. Some people want to be millionaires overnight without understanding the complexities of growing a business. Step by step is my way, and leads to really knowing what you are doing before your business gets out of hand. And that is something to learn from!