Extractive summaries and key takeaways from the articles curated from TOP TEN BUSINESS MAGAZINES to promote informed business decision-making | Since September 2017 | Week 314 | September 15-21, 2023
Here’s the Secret to Growing Your Small Business, According to Execs at UPS, Airbnb, Mastercard, and Other Big Brands
By Entrepreneur Magazine | September 22, 2023
Extractive Summary of the Article | Listen
Small business owners know that every day brings a deluge of decisions about technology, finances, marketing, service providers, and overall business strategy. So where to begin? Well, you could ask leaders at large companies — because they’re often seeing the macro trends that play out in micro ways for smaller entrepreneurs. Entrepreneur magazine called 10 companies and asked their executives what small business owners need to know now, given today’s changes in technology and industry. Here’s what they said.
- Become 10% more efficient. Today’s small business owners must focus more than ever on bringing deflationary forces into their companies in order to offset rising costs on everything — a goal technology and automation can help to achieve. That can sound difficult and abstract, a simple benchmark: 10% more efficiency. First, consider all you could achieve if your operation gained just 10% more efficiency. Then look for small changes to get there.
- Build a broader network. A lot of small business owners feel like they need to know everything and do everything themselves. That’s an especially crushing feeling today, as technology and market demands are constantly changing. Don’t try to do everything. Instead, focus on your strengths — and build a network to complement your skills. To start look beyond family and friends. Seek out people with skills opposite of yours. Trust your gut, but also measure results with data. Tap into free resources like seminars and public grants through your local Chamber of Commerce. And always tell your story, so potential partners can find you.
- Get your money faster. Most failing small businesses have cash flow problems. Many people say you should borrow money but another tip is that you can work harder to get your own money in faster.
- Be innovative with funding. The problem is well-known: Small business owners, and particularly women and people from diverse backgrounds, struggle with access to capital. But the solution is often not well-known: Instead of banging down the doors, start exploring the increasingly large number of programs out there designed to fill in the gap. To find these programs, don’t just think about your funding needs — because some of them include ways to think about funding as a component of bigger-picture thinking.
- Think more about privacy. The work-from-home movement has been great for convenience — but it’s not so great for privacy. When you’re setting up your proper legal entity, think about services that go beyond the basics.
- Prepare, prepare, prepare. If you’re prepped in your pitch, you can have a conversation that targets the person who’s across the table very specifically. Also, you can be honest.
- Become very financially literate. You have to admit what you don’t know. And many entrepreneurs — particularly women — do not know finance. Attend Chamber of Commerce meetings and meet with local bankers so if you need capital, you’ll be in a situation where you know what to do.
- Remember the little things. If you’re running a small business, you have a serious advantage over the big guys: You’re often involved in people’s lives at intimate moments. Think — what small gesture will show them you care? Because they’ll remember it. Not every business offers something as intimate as housing — but every business knows something about its customers. If you reduce their stress by even a little, you’ll earn their loyalty for a long time.
- Beef up on cybersecurity. Large businesses think a lot about cybersecurity. But its small businesses are often too busy. The bad guys know this. Entrepreneurs really need to make this a priority. Think not just about your own company but also your entire supply chain and anywhere there might be a weak link. And creating a vulnerability map is a good starting point.
- Invest more in the digital pivot. The pandemic taught small businesses a hard but important lesson: If they aren’t prepared to help themselves, they’ll be reliant upon someone else’s less-than-perfect help. That was especially true for digital solutions. Many local restaurants had no website or delivery systems, so they turned to food delivery apps — which took a huge chunk of their incomes. The more a small business owner knows, the more they’re prepared to adapt.
2 key takeaways from the article
- Small business owners know that every day brings a deluge of decisions about technology, finances, marketing, service providers, and overall business strategy. So where to begin? Well, you could ask leaders at large companies — because they’re often seeing the macro trends that play out in micro ways for smaller entrepreneurs.
- Entrepreneur magazine called 10 companies and asked their executives what small business owners need to know now, given today’s changes in technology and industry. Here’s what they said: become 10% more efficient; build a broader network; get your money faster; be innovative with funding; think more about privacy; prepare, prepare, prepare; become very financially literate; remember the little things; beef up on cybersecurity; and invest more in the digital pivot.
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Topics: Entrepreneurship, Startups, Growth