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The Big Book of Small Business: The #1 Guide to Growing, Prospering and Succeeding Today
     

The Big Book of Small Business: The #1 Guide to Growing, Prospering and Succeeding Today

by Andrew Griffiths
 

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Smart, realistic, and powerful advice to help any small business reach its full potential
 
Packed with inspirational and practical advice, this guide will help every business owner build the business of their dreams. Andrew Griffiths welcomes the "age of the entrepreneur," the most exciting time for business owners, ever. In his down-to-earth,

Overview

Smart, realistic, and powerful advice to help any small business reach its full potential
 
Packed with inspirational and practical advice, this guide will help every business owner build the business of their dreams. Andrew Griffiths welcomes the "age of the entrepreneur," the most exciting time for business owners, ever. In his down-to-earth, street smart style, he identifies new opportunities for smaller business operators to grow their business fast. He also shows how an entrepreneurial attitude can improve every aspect of a business, from customer relations to promotion to backroom accounts. With more people than ever before starting new businesses, competition is increasing at unprecedented rates. Everyone is looking for a silver bullet to give them a competitive edge—this book is it.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
As entrepreneur Griffiths argues, how we do business has changed, and the greatest risk to any business today is a failure to evolve. Using straightforward language, Griffiths (101 Secrets to a Winning Business) breaks down the fundamentals of small-business ownership, covering such topics as commitment, pricing, image maintenance, relationships, marketing, customer service, advertising, and troubleshooting. He makes a good case for the “age of the entrepreneur” and for businesspeople to take charge of their enterprises and conduct themselves with intelligence and honesty. However, the advice is more philosophical than practical, and while the layman’s language is clear and reassuring, the book would be more useful for psyching up a would-be entrepreneur for the challenge than providing instruction in the nitty-gritty of how to do it. Agency: Three60 Agency. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
"[The Big Book of Small Buisness] is useful for psyching up a would-be entrepreneur." —Publishers Weekly

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781742374284
Publisher:
Allen & Unwin Pty., Limited
Publication date:
04/01/2012
Pages:
368
Product dimensions:
6.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Big Book of Small Business

The #1 Guide to Growing, Prospering and Succeeding Today


By Andrew Griffiths

Allen & Unwin

Copyright © 2011 Andrew Griffiths
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-74269-351-4



CHAPTER 1

What is the difference between success and failure?


I get asked this question a lot and it is not an easy one to answer. Sure we could look at a bank-account balance, but if that was the only indicator we had to measure an entrepreneur's success it would be a sad world indeed.

Personally, I believe anyone who is brave enough to step out of their comfort zone and enter the challenging realm of self-employment should already be classified as a significant success, because there is no doubt that running your own business is tough. However, I have noticed that most financially successful entrepreneurs share common personality characteristics, including an overriding desire to be good at what they do. I discuss these characteristics throughout this book and you may be surprised to notice how many you already have. Often what drives people to be entrepreneurs in the first place is the fact that they are good at what they do and they know it, and they would rather make money for themselves than someone else.

If I had to pick one defining characteristic that separates success and failure, it would have to be passion. Those entrepreneurs who are passionate about their businesses will not accept half measures — they sincerely want to be the best at what they do. They are passionate about their products and services, their customers and their staff. This passion enables them to embrace change and meet head-on the everyday challenges that all business owners face. Sure, they encounter setbacks, but they don't get caught up in the negatives, preferring instead to move forward, learning from their mistakes and refining the way they do things. They are passionate enough to share their triumphs and tragedies in a philosophical way, and they will help other people to succeed wherever they can.

In this opening chapter I want to explore the concept of attitude and how it is, without doubt, the single most important aspect of success. Most of the time, success is about changing the way we think, learning from others or even gaining a greater understanding about ourselves.

In this chapter we are going to explore the following topics and discover why having the right attitude is so important for the successful small business entrepreneur.

• Some things can never be measured in dollars and cents

• How proud of your business are you?

• Size doesn't matter

• Do you have the commitment to build a successful business?

• What every business owner and entrepreneur needs

• Always think big (how big is up to you)

• Have a strong moral code — with no shades of grey

• Develop a reputation for being fair

• Be more than your business

• Make decisions — procrastination is a killer

• Successful people don't play the victim

• Back yourself completely

• Remember to celebrate your victories

• It's not that serious — have some fun


Some things can never be measured in dollars and cents

All too often business success or failure is measured purely in terms of profit. I find this approach really wrong; a change in attitude is needed. From working with literally thousands of business owners around the world, either through my books or through seminars, I've found that most of them seem caught up on the same issue: they overlook their other successes and evaluate what they do based on what kind of car they drive or the size of their house.

I love small business and everything it stands for. It represents people willing to give life a go, to go out on a limb and be brave enough to take a risk and put everything on the line. But most of all I love the fact that most small businesses are actually very good at what they do — and this is because of that vested interest and risk. They know that losing a customer will have an immediate effect on their personal income. By contrast, if a person working for a large organisation loses a customer it is unlikely to cost them anything personally (unless it is a very big customer); their income is reasonably secure regardless of the loss.

But to me the real success of small businesses is what their owners build and achieve. I encounter truly amazing people doing amazing things, often for marginal profit or sometimes none at all. But they are proud of what they do, the service they provide, the jobs they create and the reputation they are building.

Many of us need to stop and take stock more often. Rather than just looking at how much money is in the bank at the end of the week, we should post a victory board highlighting the successes we have had that week as well. What great things did we achieve?

Changing the way we think about success makes us more forgiving and understanding of ourselves. We start to say things like, 'I haven't got a lot of money in the bank, but I do have a lot of very happy customers. The money will come.' And believe me, it does.


How proud of your business are you?

After being on the road for a few weeks I decided I had better get my car cleaned, so I drove it to an automated car wash I use now and then. As I waited patiently in line, the owner of the business came over to say hello. He is a very positive fella and I always like his energy.

Today he was carrying a squirt bottle with some special cleaning liquid in it that was supposed to make my wheels look brand new. He walked around the car, squirted it on each wheel, gave me a big smile, two thumbs up and then headed to the car behind me. He didn't try to sell me anything, there was no ulterior motive — he was simply being professional. When he got to the next car he pulled out a tin of spray and started to attack some stubborn stains on the bonnet as the people in that car waited for their turn in the wash. Once again, he did this for no reason other than because he is a motivated and professional business owner who is clearly proud of his business.

This man could have just as easily sat in his office reading the paper, emptying the coin machines a few times throughout the day. Instead he was all over the car wash, helping people, chatting, laughing and, most importantly, making sure his customers were leaving happy and contented.

To me this is the sign of a man who is not only smart but also very proud of his business, and boy does it show. I happen to know that since he has taken over the company, revenue has increased by 70 per cent. Interesting what happens when you add some passion and energy to a business.

If you own your own business, be proud. It represents a lot of blood, sweat and tears. All too often we forget the hard work we have put in to get here and simply look at where we are today, not where we have come from. So rather than finding fault in your business and looking for the things you haven't had a chance to do yet, give yourself a big pat on the back for what you have achieved and walk a little taller today.

When a business owner is proud of their business it shows, and remember: passion plus energy equals profit — ALWAYS.


Size doesn't matter

One of my greatest frustrations, and one I refer to often in my books, is what I call the 'Small Business Syndrome'. Have you ever held back on taking your business to its full potential because it's 'only a small business'? That's the Small Business Syndrome.

Experience has shown me that the best-run businesses are small ones, and size is certainly no excuse for not providing great service, doing smart marketing, maaking great products or being innovative and dynamic. Often small business owners are almost apologetic for being a small business. I think it is well and truly time to move on from this mindset and embrace the fact that small businesses are the engine of the business world — there are millions of them and they generally lead the way in all industries.

Being small is in fact a wonderful opportunity. Imagine being the CEO of a huge multinational corporation — how do you make a change to the way the business operates? Countless meetings and arguments may eventually lead to board approval, then the sanctioned changes would need to be handed down to the next level to start the long and winding road to implementation. Once this road is navigated, the changes eventually reach the frontline staff who actually sell the product or service. But in a small business, if you want to make a change, you just do it. How empowering is that?

My main message here is to be proud of your business, regardless of the size. Building a winning business has nothing to do with size — it is all about attitude.


Do you have the commitment to build a successful business?

As an author, I meet a lot of people who want to write a book. In fact I am amazed at how many people have this dream. But of all those people who want to write a book, very few actually do it. The real question here is: why don't they? Coming up with an idea for a book is pretty easy. I'm sure most of us could sit down with a pen and paper and rustle up a few good ideas in a couple of minutes. But what happens once these great ideas are staring back at us from a sheet of paper?

Writing a book takes time, commitment and discipline — just like running a successful business. When I got the phone call from my publishers saying they liked the manuscript for my first book enough to publish it, I assumed I could sit back, put my feet up, hit eBay and buy my first Porsche. The reality was a little different. My publishers did like the idea, but I had to rewrite the entire manuscript from start to finish. They edited it three times and it took almost twelve months before it was ready to go to the printers. Finally the book was ready for the shelves, and this was when the real business of selling my idea stepped up.

Running a successful business is a lot like writing and publishing a book. It's very easy to fall in love with the idea, but the reality is that it will take a lot of time, dedication, discipline and hard work just to get it up and running, and then there is no guarantee it will work. Successful business entrepreneurs have this commitment and dedication and, from my observations, this is a characteristic of their personality type. It is not something they have to decide to do — it just happens.

My advice here is simple: if you're not 100 per cent committed to building a very successful business ... get a job. Enjoy a weekly pay cheque (there is nothing wrong with that) and forget the romantic concept of owning your own business. If you are not completely dedicated it will only end in tears and heartache.


What every business owner and entrepreneur needs

One of the best skills I have learned, that has not only helped me to build better relationships but also to reduce stress in my life, is how to have more empathy. To me this means the ability to put myself in the shoes of another person and look at a situation from their point of view.

It is an interesting exercise, and one that we all need to do a little more often, especially when we are feeling overwhelmed by events going on around us. When you make the conscious decision to think about a situation from another person's perspective, it takes you out of your own stressed-out head and lets you see the situation in a way that may not have occurred to you before.

Being empathic generally makes us more compassionate, more understanding and more tolerant — not feelings we necessarily experience enough in an increasingly chaotic world.

So, how do you become more empathic? Like most things in life worth learning, it takes some time and energy. If a difficult situation arises, instead of simply reacting with anger or frustration, stop and take a moment to start thinking empathically. Ask for time to think the matter over. Try to ignore your own feelings for now and look at the situation from the other person's perspective. How would you feel if you were in their shoes? Are their problems, complaints or actions reasonable? You might come full circle and end up back where you started, but at least you will have thought the situation through fully.

With empathy comes understanding, and I have learned this from some quite exceptional businesspeople. It is the basic principle of great salesmanship; it is the force behind humanitarian movements the world over. Empathy is powerful stuff, but how does it help us to reduce stress and improve relationships? It shifts the centre of our universe (being us) to another point, and this gives us a fresh view of the situation at hand.

Just as it is hard to feel pain when you laugh, it is hard to be stressed out and angry when you look at any situation with empathy. Try it — I guarantee that you will be surprised by how calming it is.


Always think big (how big is up to you)

What is the difference between the person who opens and runs a successful pizza restaurant and the person who opens and runs a chain of pizza restaurants around the world? I believe it is all in the thinking process. If you think big you can be big, but most of us get too busy doing what we do to let thoughts about where we are going manifest and form. There is nothing wrong with being a small successful business, but likewise there is nothing wrong with building that small successful business into a hugely successful big business.

I know there will be some people reading this who will feel there are a multitude of limitations that prevent them from achieving world domination (in the nicest possible way) but, from my own experiences and observations of entrepreneurs, there is little doubt that those who aim high and think big tend to achieve more.

I personally have a series of big plans, which I have broken into timeframes. For example, in the short term, I would be happy to pay off my credit cards (like most of us); longer term, I want to sell a million books. Both plans are significant to me and I believe I will do them, even if I am not sure when. I have a list of about ten major goals, and when I read the longer-term ones my analytical brain goes into seizures — but I honestly and sincerely believe I will achieve them all.

Think big and go for it.


Have a strong moral code — with no shades of grey

How many examples do you know of high-profile people who were shining stars but became corporate disgraces? It really is quite disheartening when business leaders once featured on the front of dozens of major magazines are just a few years later being dragged into court and often prison. Why does this happen? How can they have fallen so far? What corrupted them?

In reality, the answer is most likely that they were always corruptible. It's often the case that no one was looking closely enough to catch them out earlier.

We all need to live by a strong moral code. Be very clear about what is right and what is wrong. There should be no shades of grey, because often these are places where you falter. What is your moral code? Do you have situations that you have to deal with which could be considered grey areas?

Of course there are differences between moral, ethical and legal codes, but in reality they are closely linked. Once you cross a line, it is a lot easier to keep crossing it and most offenders do.

My philosophy is simple — I will not do anything, ever, that can come back to haunt me. I don't want to ever leave my office with a towel over my head, scurrying away from a host of reporters. Apart from the devastating impact it has on your fashion sense, it ruins lives, often those of innocent parties.


Develop a reputation for being fair

There is a saying that for a negotiation to work, all parties need to win. The level of the win varies, but that is the ideal outcome. Some people adopt an egotistical stance of having to win everything at any cost whenever they enter a negotiation. We all know these kinds of people. They negotiate on the purchase of a bus ticket. They are obsessed with winning, to the point where they spend their life burning other people and, eventually, people don't want to deal with them.

Negotiating is a part of life. In business we need to be good negotiators to make sure we can run our businesses as profitably as possible. But the key word here is fair. I have to negotiate with suppliers, such as graphic designers, media outlets, printers and subcontractors. I want to have a good relationship with these companies and I want them to do the best job possible for my clients. If I negotiate them down on price to the point where the project is only marginally profitable, they will lose interest, I will get a marginal quality job from them and the loser is my client.

I make it clear to my clients from the start: we want to do the best job at the fairest price. If they want a cheaper job done, they have to go somewhere else. This philosophy has enabled me to build an excellent network of suppliers who do a great job every time. They make good money out of each project, my company makes good money and the client gets the best end result possible.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Big Book of Small Business by Andrew Griffiths. Copyright © 2011 Andrew Griffiths. Excerpted by permission of Allen & Unwin.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Andrew Griffiths is an experienced entrepreneur and the author of business books which include 101 Secrets to a Winning Business, 101 Ways to Have a Business and a Life, and 101 Ways to Market Your Business.

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