Adding Value As A Small Business | Up And To The Right | Episode 045

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  The competitive landscape is becoming increasingly complicated in our world. Small business owners often find themselves competing with big-box stores and online retailers that can run much more advertising, negotiate lower costs for their goods, and have more stores of cash to weather difficult economic times. It’s more important than ever that we understand not only what value we currently add for our customers, but look for and integrate new ways to add value to stay competitive. In today’s podcast, join Stephen Krausse to learn how you can add value as a small business owner to help you make your business better in actionable, practical ways. — Listen to the podcast here: Adding Value As A Small Business | Up And To The Right | Episode 045 We’ve done a couple of talks about principles of business. I want to talk about adding value. The competitive landscape is becoming increasingly complicated in our world. Small business owners often find themselves competing with the Big-box stores and online retailers that can run much more advertising and can negotiate lower costs for their goods. They have more stores of cash weather in difficult economic times. It’s more important than ever that we understand not only what value we currently add for our customers, but look for an integrate new ways to add value, to stay competitive. It’s time to roll up our sleeves and get to work. — We try to avoid buzzwords, key phrases and the short-term trends that may be chic, but not having stood the test of time. We take these business principles and practical solutions, and we integrate them in ways that help you make your business better in an actionable practical way that helps you stay authentic to who you are but also helps improve your entrepreneurial journey. When I went back a few episodes ago, I defined a principle of business as something that is foundational, fundamental. It’s something that you have to have and build on in order to have a successful business. What Is Value-Added? Also, it has to apply to every business model that I could think of at the time. That set a pretty high bar for a concept to be a principle of business versus simply being a good tactic or a business strategy. Those two core components are important. It has to be fundamental and universal. What is value-added? According to Merriam-Webster, it’s a product whose value has been increased, especially by special manufacturing, marketing, or processing. Before we go any further, I want to talk a little bit about the use of the word marketing here. I take exception to it, not because marketing doesn’t add value, but because I don’t think it’s the core thing. Marketing is a tool to share information about a product or service. It’s not an end unto itself and it isn’t what I would consider a value-add in that sense. What I think more appropriate is experience. Marketing is very much used […]

Practical Communication For Small Business | Up And To The Right | Episode 044

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  Communication is so foundational that it’s almost a bit trite to specifically call it as a business principle. However, we leave a lot of communication unintentional, which is unfortunate because we should be using it to effectively transmit our intended message to our intended recipient and have them understand it the way that we meant. On today’s podcast, Stephen Krausse takes a deep dive into communication and how small business owners can integrate it into their day to day operation plan so that they can make the most out of the communication tools that they’re using. Remember, communication is a key principle in business, and all of the communications channels that we use in business should be labeled and handled with care. — Listen to the podcast here: Practical Communication For Small Business | Up And To The Right | Episode 044 I wanted to talk a little bit about communication. It’s so foundational that it almost might seem a little bit trite to specifically call out communication as a business principle. I think it’s worth doing, because we intentionally use a narrow group of communication channels. A lot of times, what I’ve seen is that we leave a lot of communication unintentional. I wanted to talk a little bit about communication in general and hopefully get your mind on the idea that it’s a pretty complicated topic. It’s something worth spending time on as a small business owner and get communication to the top of your mind a little bit. I’ll help you find ways to integrate it into your day-to-day operation plan so that you can make the most out of the communication tools that you’re using. The communication philosophies or ideas that we know about that can help you communicate more effectively and make sure that what you’re communicating is what you intend. That’s what we’re going to talk about. It’s time to roll up our sleeves and get to work. — I think you’re going to find this time well-spent. This is episode 44, Practical Communication for Small Business, and let’s get right to it. I want to go back to episode 41, where I talked about what the six fundamental business principles were or the ones that I identified. I want to throw a reminder out, what I defined a business principle as? There are a lot of good things you can do for a business that are not necessarily principles. A business principle is a concept that is both fundamental and universal, which means it’s relevant to all businesses and it’s basic. You have to have it to build a business upon. What Is Communication? That sets a pretty high bar for what a principal can be because it has to be something you have to have to build a business and it has to be something that’s universal to all businesses. Probably, of all six of these principles, communication is the one that has the least argument against it being a business […]

Planning For Small Business Success | Up And To The Right | Episode 043

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  There are two extremes that small business owners can fall into when it comes to business planning: under-planning and over-planning. The first one leads you astray while the other one slows you down. How do you strike a balance in planning so that it really benefits your business? Stephen Krausse recognizes the critical importance of planning as a key business principle that small business owners should consider. In this episode, he introduces a four-step planning process that works efficiently for small businesses when done right. He also tackles the concept of the planning horizon, an important consideration when building the habit of planning. Stick up to the end to get some recommendations on what planning tools may work best for your business. — Listen to the podcast here: Planning For Small Business Success | Up And To The Right | Episode 043 We’re going to talk a little bit about planning, the second principle in my series on business principles. Planning is one of the key principles in successful small business operations, but it can also be a trap that I call plancrastination. We’re going to talk a little bit about what a plan is, how much planning is needed, some tools regarding planning or some tools we can use to plan. Is there a planning process that you can standardize that works and practical for small businesses? — This is episode 43, Planning for Small Business Success. The principle at play that we’ve talked about already a little bit is planning itself. That’s one of the key principles that we talked about in episode 41. The first thing I want to talk about is, does planning matter to small business? If you lack planning, you take action without intent and that wastes time and money. If you over-plan, you waste time and you push improvements down the road. The benefits of those improvements or the things you might be gaining by having implemented something new, you don’t get as quickly because you keep planning. You’re over-planning and you’re pushing the results down the road as well. Those are the things we want to avoid. We need to create a balance around those two items: over-planning and under-planning. By nature, I’m a planner sometimes and I’ll get into this mode of planning where I start digging into something beyond the scope of helpful. I’ve recognized that I do that. As small business owners in general, we don’t necessarily like to plan. We like to fly by the seat of our pants and I’ll do that too in some cases. It depends. If I’m thinking about it, when it’s a technology issue or something that might involve something nerdy and cool, I will tend to dig into that more deeply than is appropriate for the project or for that business. I have to reign myself in when I’m looking at technology solutions. Where I might under-plan is in accounting structure or something like that, where it isn’t my forte and […]

Practical Vision In Small Business | Up And To The Right | Episode 042

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  What is your vision statement? Do you even have one? As a small business owner, you may be one of those who think that vision statements are applicable only for big businesses. When we hear the word “vision” what usually comes to mind is a self-aggrandizing statement hung on some corporate office wall. Stephen Krausse believes that should not be the case; in fact, small businesses need to have a practical vision in order to succeed. In this episode, he explains the true definition of vision, what a vision statement should look like, why small businesses should have it, and when and how they can use it. — Listen to the podcast here: Practical Vision In Small Business | Up And To The Right | Episode 042 Let’s talk about vision. In the last episode, I set out the principles that I think guide businesses in the concepts that I think we can call principles. The first of those was vision. Give me a few minutes to explain why I think vision is not only applicable for big businesses, but it’s also something that we can use in a practical and easy way to guide the decisions that we make every day. — We’re talking about vision. For small business owners, it’s very easy for us to look at vision statements in a different perspective of mission statements in these things we put on a placard in the lobby that apply more to big businesses who are trying to have a self-aggrandizing statement, rather than something that helps manage and operate a business successfully. That’s what I want to talk about because I think there is an opportunity to use vision to operate and run our businesses better with more structure and more integrity than if we don’t have a clarity around our vision. Is vision just for big business? I don’t think so. Being clear about our vision is more than a wall hanging, more than a Twitter post, more than an infographic and even more about more than customer relationships and product development. If you do a search on vision, you’re going to get a lot of stuff. You’re going to get a mountain of books, articles. While I’ve read my share, honestly, they don’t do a lot for me when it comes to how you use vision in a small business setting, in a small business environment in a way that isn’t something you put in the office behind your head or in the lobby when customers come in to see it. It becomes a decoration more than a guiding principle or a guiding piece of structure for your business.   I want to talk about how we can get that value out of it. What we want to do is have a short, practical, actionable concept of vision. I want to talk a little bit about the definition of vision because I think that’s the first thing that we come up with that we stumble […]