Too many small businesses are stuck at the bottom of the economic mountain, watching in frustration as larger competitors hog the top, snagging resources and reaping the benefits.
Bigger companies can afford to use quantity discounts to undercut prices. Banks are happy to accept small-business deposits but don’t build strong relationships with credit and loans for their smaller customers.
Even programs marketed for small businesses, such as vendor finance programs and dynamic discounting programs, often benefit the large company that takes the discount. Even government help seems to favor the well-connected. Just see what happened with the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program.
Just surviving will be a huge success for most small businesses this year.
And few expect to break even given all that’s happened as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Yet Meriwether Cider in Boise, Idaho, is on track to meet that mark, thanks in large part to Covid-related federal assistance, according to Ann Leadbetter, who owns the business with her husband and two daughters.
Also helpful: Meriwether Cider makes money a few ways, so while some lines of revenue took a hit, others went up. Sales are down at its two sit-down venues — a cider house in downtown Boise and a smaller tap room at its bottling facility in nearby Garden City. So are its sales to bars and restaurants. But the company has made more from its distribution to grocery stores and the curbside pickup it now offers customers.
As part of our CEO Secrets series, which invites business leaders to share their advice, we are focusing on start-ups that have launched during lockdown. Each week we will look at a different type of entrepreneur. This week, we hear from fathers balancing a new business with childcare.
A consignment of 300kg of chocolate in an industrial container arrives at the house of Keith Tiplady, 35, in Leicester.
He moves hundreds of packs of pure chocolate pellets to a dedicated room in his house, where he also stores 1.5km of ribbon.
This is the “new normal” for Keith, who is now a chocolatier
Are you an entrepreneur who has tried out multiple business ideas, but hasn’t yet figured out the perfect idea for your new business? Well, you’re not alone. In fact, many startup founders experience a few failed products before finding success.
The best way to avoid falling into this trap is to launch an MVP (minimum viable product) that validates your startup idea before you put all of your time and energy into it. There are countless ways to launch a business MVP, so let’s go over the most important steps and what has worked for me in my business.
1. Let the idea find you, instead of forcing an idea
Many startup founders (and I’ve also made this mistake) approach finding a right startup idea the wrong way: they start from a blank slate. Then they try to come up with ideas that people may possibly find cool. They start with ideas rather than problems.
This is actually a backwards approach. Instead of trying to find a startup idea, you should instead look for problems that you might be having or problems that others are experiencing.
Are you trying to find the inner drive and inspiration to become an entrepreneur? We surveyed over 1,200 American adults from diverse backgrounds all over the country, seeking to understand the factors that lead people to pursue their entrepreneurial goals.
Our big takeaway? It isn’t all about money, or success, or even business.
It’s this: If someone feels that their life has meaning, they’re more likely to become an entrepreneur.
When you’re an entrepreneur, you generally need to understand every function of your company: operations, sales, marketing, finances, and human resources. Many business owners, however, only concentrate on departments that are directly linked to sales and increased ROI, and put human resources on the back burner.
However, by not making HR a critical department in your operation, you are sabotaging your company. This is not to say that a startup should immediately hire an HR coordinator, but if you run a small business, you need to be knowledgeable about HR. Implementing the following practices will put your organization in a stronger position for growth and financial success.
The BBC’s weekly The Boss series profiles different business leaders from around the world. This week we speak to Mette Lykke, co-founder of fitness tracker Endomondo, and chief executive of food waste app, Too Good To Go.
For many people, leaving the stability of a well-paid job to join a start-up might seem daunting. For Danish entrepreneur Mette Lykke, it’s a leap she’s made not just once, but twice.
Back in 2007 she was working for management consultancy firm McKinsey, but decided it was time to change direction. “I was missing the feeling of having a real impact,” she says.
Do you want to make the jump from working for an employer to running your own business? Odds are that if you suck as an employee now, then you won’t make it as an entrepreneur. It sounds harsh, but that’s real talk.
As an employee, if you don’t build the skills you need to thrive as an entrepreneur, especially in terms of having a strong work ethic, then it’s incredibly difficult to flip a switch and all of a sudden thrive as an entrepreneur.
Tyler Stauss’ startup idea – to create an online index of promo codes – did not fall from the sky or come to him in a dream. “I started my career at a startup called SurfMyAds.com,” he said. “After a year there, I started a company in the same space called GoPromoCodes.com.” Ten years later, Stauss is still running the website.
“I don’t think I could have done it without working for the first company,” Stauss said.
I’ve sat on many boards over the past two decades and seen my share of high-functioning boards and low-functioning boards. Here are some observations I have from this exposure:
If a company moves from strength-to-strength with predictable outcomes, easy financings, low staff turn-over, and limited competitive threats, then the composition of the board probably doesn’t matter as much. Even the best companies with the best outcomes, however, usually hit some difficult moments where a highly-functioning board matters.
In the best cases, boards come together to help the company get through its trough – in the worst cases, infighting can mean an otherwise great potential business is hampered with misaligned incentives and drama.