How Can Busy Entrepreneurs Recognize and Solve Business Problems?

What Are You Missing? Start-up executives can become too close to the project, to busy managing the minutia, and stretched too thin due to lack of staff, time and financial resources to notice the flaws in their plans. In most cases, the work is extremely hard and requires numerous, long hours that turn into days and then turn into months. It becomes difficult for the Founders, and executives to stay focused on the critical tactics and strategies necessary to lift their company to the next phase in growth.

Meetings with trouble-shooting Consultants or venture Coaches can help Founders navigate through the challenging times and rough waters of launching a startup. Experienced Consultants know how to walk the fine line between enthusiastically recognizing the business model and market potential while offering critical consulting advice and strategic planning. Founders need to recognize that the Consultant’s analysis and criticism is a strategic necessity for the realization of the company’s short term and long term potential. Moreover, a good Consultant will be able to quickly assess the strengths and weaknesses of the plan and zone in to recognize the problems or blockages – good Consultants are natural trouble shooters and problem solvers. Founders need to recognize when their plans are not being realized and take the risk by hiring and paying for an outsider who can become a part-time addition to the company’s strategic capital.

In a recent meeting with confident and enthusiastic Founders of a promising startup business, let’s call it The Glick Company, and myself (a business venture consultant), it became evident that the Glick’s Founders were overlooking and not performing on several critical issues in their plan.

In this case, the Glick executives had an incomplete product launch and capital strategy. They were busy working on the product refinements and hoping for one large customer that they were not paying attention other critical problems. Collectively, the Founders could not “see” some of the problems that were blocking the progress of their company. One of the two Founders determined outside advice was critical for the company to reach its potential. Many of the strategic pieces were in place, but the firm lacked the cohesive tactical and execution plan in several areas.

After a meeting and several telephone calls, the consultant identified that the Glick Founders had not tested the product in the marketplace, put together any other pricing or marketing strategies (besides the one large deal), did not have a strong capitalization plan in place and were not aware of how to take advantage and re-position their strengths for an upcoming investors meeting. There were workable solutions to their challenges, but it took an outsider to recognize the challenges and provide a vision and a plan for the executive management team to follow.

During the two hour meeting between the Glick Founders and the Consultant, the payoff was recognizing what was not working and how to avoid additional, future problems.

The meeting ended with several new ideas, plans and strategies for the Glick team to implement. The product was to be tested in the market place; the Founders would have very useful and accurate feedback from a qualified focus group. Marketing materials outlining the features and benefits of their product were going to be developed. The Glick sales team was to begin marketing the product to the top 1000 qualified buyers to try to obtain Letters of Intent and fill the manufacturing pipeline. Back up manufacturers in place were to be found and pricing guidelines and models were to be implemented. We determined ways to best present the company, the team strengths and the progress at an upcoming investors meeting to ask for additional capital investments. Each of the solutions became milestones towards the progress of launching the product in the marketplace.

Would this outcome have been the same without hiring a Consultant or a Coach? It is hard to say, but the Glick team was extremely pleased with the time and money spent working through some of their strategic challenges and determining new solutions to existing problems. Within a week after the meeting, I received a email from the Founder stating that the investor meeting went well and additional capital was raised. This was the best news I could hope for….

Social Media Marketing For Small Business Entrepreneurs

I was thinking the other day why I have enjoyed consulting with small business owners for so many years. Talk about reality shows. What is more real than talking to the person who created, owns and operates a business? They have made their dream a reality. It’s a whole different conversation and level of engagement from talking to a marketing or business development manager working for a small or mid-size company. I don’t mean to imply that the marketing or business development manager knows less about the company’s business than the owner. It’s about the level of passion for the business. Passion or entrepreneurial zeal, as we know, doesn’t always translate into being able to run a company successfully but I love to hear their story.

I enjoy the initial phase of a search engine optimization or pay per click management campaign for any new client. We call this the discovery phase where we gather quantitative and qualitative information about a business to lay the groundwork for the project. The more we know about what they do, how they do it, who they are trying to reach and what their goals are the better we can develop and implement a successful online marketing strategy for them.

One big difference I notice almost immediately when talking to an entrepreneur is the desire to talk about their business. You never have to worry about keeping the conversation going that’s for sure. Entrepreneurs love to talk about their business. It’s their passion. That’s why they are doing it. Many businesses, if not most, are built based on the personality of the owner and more often than naught these owners have an outgoing, engaging personality. That is why social media marketing can be so powerful for small business owners.

Social media marketing is not just about creating profiles on facebook, myspace, LinkedIn and other social media networks to try to create buzz and links to your web site. It’s about being actively engaged in the networks. Let people get to know you. Be real. Tell them about your business, why you do it and how you do it. Not from a sales and marketing stand point so it sounds like every other Tom, Dick and Harry selling the same thing but from your personal stand point – your personality – let it shine through. Just a warning here, if you are a real drone with a negative view point on the world this might not work. :>) Find people with the same interests as yours and participate in their discussions. It has to be a two way network for it to work best.

Are you thinking how in the heck am I supposed to find enough time to do this plus run my business? This is a valid point but if done correctly this can reap big benefits for your business. Millions and millions of people are participating in social media networks every day. Instead of actively participating in 4 or 5 determine which one best fits your desired demographic and focus predominantly on that one. Also, you might really enjoy it. Just talk about your favorite topic – your business.

Entrepreneur Small Business Idea – Develop a Management Consulting Firm

This article will show you how you can start your own management consulting firm as an entrepreneur. Management consulting is a growing field, where you come in to a business with outside experience as a manager, survey the business and provide recommendations as to how the business needs to change its management structure. Read on to find out how you can start your own management consultancy.

If you have previous management experience, or you are a very avid student of management, this may be the right business for you to start. There are many businesses out there with fairly “green” managers that have come up through the ranks, but don’t have any formal training.

An organization is at the mercy of its management. If the managers are weak, lack in motivating or empowering employees, or they don’t understand the vision of the company, that organization may be in serious trouble.

As a management consultant, you will perform evaluations, observations of employees, look at overall structures of management, and finally give recommendations in multiple areas that require change.

You may need to tape record interviews with employees so that you can take notes later, and you will need enough management experience of some kind under your belt so that you can provide sound advice.

To get this business started you will need a computer, telephone, basic contracts and non-disclosure agreements. It is recommended that you start locally near your home, but ultimately this will be a business requires extensive travel as you visit businesses all over the world that need advice. As you get more clients you can expand your business to include multiple auditors that provide a company-branded report back to the client.

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