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2018

Starting a business from scratch isn’t the only way to become an entrepreneur. Buying an existing business can be a faster, easier path. Here are three steps to buying a business. (Note: This information is for buying an independent business only, not purchasing a franchise.)

 

Step 1. Find Your Business

  • Search online. BizBuySell.com, BusinessesForSale and BizQuest are three popular sites with plenty of inventory. If you’re just beginning to explore the idea of buying a business, they can show you what’s available and how much it will cost you.

 

  • Contact businesses you’re interested in. Is there a local business you’ve had your eye on? Contact the owner and ask if they’d consider selling. Some business owners don’t actively advertise a business for sale; others are open to selling if someone makes an offer. If the owner doesn’t want to sell, perhaps they know someone in the same industry who does.

 

  • Go through a business broker. Once you get serious about buying a business, you’ll want to work with a business broker. Ask your local Chamber of Commerce, other business owners and your lawyer, accountant, or banker for recommendations. Most websites that list businesses for sale also list brokers.

 

Step 2. Check It Out

Before you fall in love with a business for sale, do some due diligence in these four key areas:

 

1. Is there a market for this business? Do some market research to assess whether the market for this business is growing, shrinking or stable. You don't want to buy into a faddish business that will burn out in a year. 46034772_s.jpg

 

2. Why is the business for sale? If the owner is retiring or moving out of state, that’s one thing. However, if the owner hasn’t been able to make a go of the business, they may just be trying to unload it on someone else. Unless you truly feel you can turn such a business around, it’s best to steer clear.

 

3. How strong are the financials? Look at financial statements, tax returns, bank statements, and all contracts, including equipment or property leases. As when purchasing a used car, carefully maintained records are generally a sign of a well-run business—but don’t take them for granted. Assess sales projections, cash flow projections and financial projections. If financial statements haven’t been audited, have your accountant do so.

 

4. What about the people? Avoid buying a business that depends heavily on the skills or personality of its owner, or the knowledge of key employees. Those employees may not stick around when you take over, and without the original owner in place, current customers may leave.

 

Step 3: Plan for Financing

Where will you get the capital to purchase your business? As soon as you have a rough idea of the cost, start exploring your options.

 

If you’re trying to get a business loan, keep in mind the bank will assess the four factors above. If you can’t finance the purchase yourself or get a loan, see if you can finance the purchase through the seller. For example, maybe you can pay a portion of the cost upfront, then pay off the rest by giving the seller a percentage of your monthly profits.

 

Get Pro Help

Never go it alone when buying a business. In addition to getting advice from your business broker and accountant, have your attorney review employment contracts, customer contracts, intellectual property and any other legal documents affecting the business. The less familiar you are with the industry in which you are buying a business, the more important it is to get outside opinions and assistance.

 

No matter how excited you are, don’t rush into this decision. If you put time and thought into your purchase, your new business will have a better chance of success—and you’ll have a better chance of enjoying it.

 

More information:

      1. Tips on How to Finance Your New Business Venture
      2. Get answers and information about business financing
      3. Find the right financing for your business

 

About Rieva LesonskyRieva Lesonsky Headshot.png

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.

 

Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.

 

Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

There are more tools than ever before to help small business owners run, market and scale their businesses. Digital resources give entrepreneurs access to capabilities once reserved for big corporations. Besides the No. 1 digital tool every business needs – a great website - here are 26 other digital resources almost every small business can benefit from.

 

 

  • Cloud storage and sharing tools: If you’re not already using cloud-based file storage and sharing apps, what are you waiting for? These apps have truly changed my life—no more emailing files to colleagues or forgetting documents at the office. Now, many cloud storage and sharing tools go beyond that function to incorporate full suites of products, such as accounting, email and more.  Check out Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, Zoho One and Google Drive to see what they have to offer.39379279_s.jpg

 

  • Project management tools: Whether you’re a solopreneur or have employees, keeping track of everything on your plate can be a challenge—especially as your business grows. Project management software helps you assign tasks, schedule deadlines, monitor progress, chat with your team members, collaborate on work and more. Different tools offer different features—some are more focused on scheduling, others on collaboration, and many now incorporate cloud storage/sharing as well. Personally, I love Trello, but other entrepreneurs swear by Basecamp, Asana or Wrike.

 

  • Mechanical memory: If you’re anything like me, you collect ideas everywhere you go/look/read. I used to write all my notes down on scraps of paper (which I’d usually lose) or notebooks (which made them hard to find later). Thanks to what I call “mechanical memory” apps, there’s no need for all that anymore. If I see a video/photo/article/post I want to remember, I just save it to Pocket. Colleagues of mine swear by Evernote.

 

  • Travel tools: If you ever hit the road for business, you need Tripit to store all your travel information in one place, and Expensify or Shoeboxed to make scanning, sorting and storing receipts a snap. (Can you tell I’m not a big fan of little scraps of paper?) If you mostly travel by car, don’t start your engine without Waze. This mobile traffic app that crowdsources real-time driver feedback to tell you the fastest way to get anywhere.

 

 

  • Customer Service: If you sell products, collect leads or otherwise interact with customers on your business website, live chat can enable you to manage customer service quickly and easily. In addition to interacting live, you can also automate chats to handle common questions or problems. A few small-business-friendly live chat solutions to look at are Olark, MyLiveChat and ClickDesk.

 

Whether most of your business is conducted online or “IRL,” digital apps will change the way you work (for the better). What digital apps do you rely on?

 

 

About Rieva LesonskyRieva Lesonsky Headshot.png

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.

 

Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.

 

Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

Have a question about your business? Let’s see if I can help; write your question in the thread: found here. -- Steve

 

Q: Hey Steve, I love running my own business but I am not a natural salesperson. Any advice for an entrepreneur like me?

 

A. I have good news for you. While I am not a sales expert, I have had the opportunity to interview a lot of great salespeople and sales experts over the years. What I have learned is that sales is a field that can be learned – and that a few tricks along the way can help.

 

Here are three of my favorites:

 

1. Listen more, talk less: Master salesman Tom Hopkins told me that if you want to increase your sales, it would be wise to remember that we have one mouth but two ears. Says Hopkins: “Listen twice as much as you talk and you’ll succeed in persuading others nearly every time.”

 

And what should you be listening for?

 

2. Listen for clues: People learn and process information in different ways. Some people think in words, others think in pictures, and still others are primarily kinesthetic (that is, feelings are paramount for them.) Understanding the way in which a prospect interprets information can allow you to craft your pitch in a way that works best for them (instead of best for you.)54161036_s.jpg

 

          • Visual people say things like, “I see what you mean.”
          • Kinesthetic people say things like, “This computer just doesn’t feel right to me.”
          • Auditory people might say, “I like the sound of that.”

 

These sorts of word clues can help you communicate better with leads. For example, it would be best to show a visual person what makes your product great, rather than just telling them with words.

 

 

3. Remember, it’s about helping, not selling: The purpose of tailoring your pitch appropriately is not to manipulate someone into buying something they may or may not want, but rather, to build rapport and show the prospect that you are more about helping them solve their problem and less about making the sale. Do that, ironically, and your odds of making the sale go up dramatically.

 

Related Articles:

Jolt Your Sales: Q&A with David Newman, author of Do It! Marketing

10 Easy Ways to Quickly Boost Sales

 

Q: I am a wedding and event photographer and my issue is that I never seem to make enough money to feel flush. It’s not for lack of trying, that’s for sure.

 

Let me share a story with you of someone who solved this exact problem.

 

I have a pal who sells real estate in Los Angeles. Like many real estate agents, he started out selling homes for a living. And a nice living it was … until it wasn’t. Things turned south for him in 2008 and he didn’t know what to do. So, he sought out his mentor – a wise and experienced real estate broker who had been around the block a few times – and asked him what to do.

 

A: “Fish for, and catch, bigger fish,” was his answer.

 

The mentor explained that it essentially would take my friend the same amount of effort to sell a seven-figure commercial property as it did for him to sell a six-figure house, but the paydays on the former would be much better.

 

My buddy heeded his mentor’s advice and jumped in, learning about commercial real estate, cultivating the corporate owners of such properties and altogether embarking on a tangentially new career. Although it took him two years, it was worth it. He discovered that his mentor was right – bigger clients meant bigger deals and yes, bigger paydays. It also meant better pay for less work because he needed to do fewer deals.

 

All in all, it worked out very well for him and, I bet, it could for you too.

 

Related Articles:

How To manage your biggest client Among Others

6 Ways to Find New Clients (Even If You Don’t Think You Have Time)

 

 

About Steve StraussSteve Strauss Headshot New.png

Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can also listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business SuccessSteven D. Strauss.

 

Web: www.theselfemployed.com or Twitter: @SteveStrauss

You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Steve Strauss is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Steve Strauss. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

Have you recovered from the holidays yet?

 

All of that indulging (and over-indulging) and selling (and shopping) adds up. Sometimes you need a vacation from your vacation. But alas, that is likely not in the cards. Indeed, now that the decorations are put away, the diet begun, and the sales and specials but a memory, it is time to get back to work.

 

Almost.

 

Not long ago in this space I wrote a piece called, “4 ways to still hit your year-end revenue goals.” The idea was that, even though you may have been on the verge of missing your money forecast for the year, there were still some ways to hit your target. The bad news was that I had to include ideas like getting a loan and sharply cutting overhead.

 

It is obviously preferable to not need an article like that. Let me suggest, therefore, that the smart way to recover from the holidays is to start the year off right by having a focused strategy and planning session.

 

Your strategy session could be as big as a full-blown, day-long meeting with your staff or as little as an hour by yourself at Starbucks.

 

Either way, the reason for starting the year with a strategy session is best summed up by Michael Gerber in his famous quote from his book, The E-Myth: “Most small businesses spend too much time working in their business and not enough time working on their business.”

 

The start of the year, before things get too hectic or too far along, is a great time to work on your business; assess where you are and where you want to be and then figure out how best to get there.41925620_s.jpg

 

There are three steps to this process:

 

1. Look at where you have been. The easiest and best way to do this part of the process is by using variations on the 80-20 rule. The 80-20 rule states that 80% of your income comes from 20% of your customers. There is gold in identifying those 20% and talking good care of them.

 

Beyond that, consider doing these 80-20 analyses as well:

 

      • Which 20% of your products bring in 80% of your sales?
      • Which 20% of your web pages get 80% of your pageviews?

 

2. Look at where you want to go. Based upon your 80-20 reviews, as well as your experience and intuition, the next step is to decide what changes need to be made, where you need to double down on what is working, and which efforts are probably not worth your time.

 

3. Figure out what resources your need to get there. Knowing where you want to head, the question becomes how do you get there? Will you need more money for marketing? Do you need to cut overhead? Can you form some strategic partnerships?

 

Finally, be sure to put it all down on paper. Again, it need not be overly lengthy or complicated, but writing down where you have been, where you want to head, and what you need to get there should be very illuminating.

 

The idea is to create a roadmap for your business. It’s like an airplane pilot; he or she would never just jump in the plane and head south with hopes of finding Florida. Rather, he would create a flight plan – what direction to head, how much fuel is needed, dangers to avoid, and so on.

 

That is what this review session really is. It is your process for creating a flight plan for getting to where you really want to go this year.

 

Related articles:

How To manage your biggest client Among Others

Developing a Strategic Plan that Makes Sense

Fine Tuning Your Marketing Plan

 

 

About Steve StraussSteve Strauss Headshot New.png

Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can also listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business SuccessSteven D. Strauss.

 

Web: www.theselfemployed.com or Twitter: @SteveStrauss

You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Steve Strauss is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Steve Strauss. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?' – Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

Martin Luther King Jr. Day was signed into law in 1983 and took effect three years later. It is fitting and proper that we as a country, and we as individuals, use that day to not only reflect on a great man’s life and legacy, but to observe our own lives in relation to the values Dr. King promoted.

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What values are those? Equality. Justice. Brotherhood. Teamwork. Non-violence.

 

So it may seem odd, as we celebrate Dr. King, to consider how his message can be translated into business, but let me suggest that he has much to teach all of us, entrepreneurs included.

 

Consider the following:

 

1. Leadership matters: One of the lessons of history is that it is easy, especially in retrospect, to look at an event and consider it “inevitable” because, well, it happened. But there was nothing inevitable about the civil rights movement, no guarantee of success. Indeed, considering both the institutional and private animas towards African Americans at that time, that Dr. King undertook the battle he did is an act of bravery rarely seen.

 

How did the movement succeed then? For starters, it required leadership. Dr. King was but an unknown preacher in a small Baptist church when he accepted the personal calling to make a difference. But he was willing to be brave and bold and do what he thought right.

 

And no, of course what we as entrepreneurs do is not akin to the work of Dr. King. However, it is analogous. As an entrepreneur, it is incumbent upon you to lead, to be brave and bold, and to encourage your team to be its best. As Dr. King said,

 

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”

 

2. Getting people to buy into your vision matters: Great leaders see things others often do not, and with words and action, they can inspire people to accept their vision and bring it to life. Dr. King envisioned a country where people are judged, not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. That vision inspired millions to join him on his quest for justice and equality for everyone.

 

Your job is not dissimilar.

 

As an entrepreneur, you too need to have a vision for your enterprise and engage people to believe in it so much that they will invest in it, or will work for it, or will buy from it. It is your vision that carries the enterprise forward.

 

3. Empowering your team matters: There is no leader without a follower. One of the geniuses of Dr. King is that he empowered everyday people to believe, to act, to follow, even when that meant that they were risking their lives. Dr. King had successfully engaged them about his vision for peace, equality and justice – and in turn they were inspired to commit extraordinary acts of non-violence that changed history. Dr. King led, but his team believed and took action to achieve his dream.

 

The great entrepreneur similarly enables his or her team to do and be their best – but greatness is usually accomplished through mission, vision and purpose. Better known as the M.V.P. trifecta, which Dr. King amplified in every action and is a unique skillset entrepreneurs should strive to master. Educate your team on your enterprises mission, inform your team on your vision and empower your team with purpose.

 

4. Being in service matters: As Dr. King’s inspiration, Mahatma Gandhi, said,

 

“Consciously or unconsciously, every one of us does render some service or other. If we cultivate the habit of doing the service deliberately, our desire for service will steadily grow stronger, and will make, not only for our own happiness, but that of the world at large.”

 

A great business doesn’t sell, it serves. Service matters. Service gets noticed and rewarded. As the life of Dr. King proves, it is service that can make a difference in your life and others.

 

 

About Steve StraussSteve Strauss Headshot New.png

Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can also listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business SuccessSteven D. Strauss.

 

Web: www.theselfemployed.com or Twitter: @SteveStrauss

You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Steve Strauss is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Steve Strauss. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

Instead of writing a typical New Year prediction piece I will focus on what you should be doing as a small business owner this year, based on what’s going on in the economy and beyond.

 

As a disclaimer, keep in mind I am not a psychic and I do not play one on TV, so I do not guarantee the outcome of these predictions.

 

Prediction: Small Business Owners Will Be Guarding Their Valuable Employees

The labor market has gotten very tight, with unemployment hanging around just over 4 percent. This means that it has become an employee’s market, giving them more choices and options when it comes to employment. And, with no clear economic catalysts to immediately derail the economic or labor trains, I predict more employees will be looking for new opportunities.

 

This leads me to further predict that savvy small business owners will pre-empt their best and brightest employees from leaving. This means raising wages, offering more competitive benefits and perks, and of course, giving employees clear opportunities to take on more responsibilities within the business.

 

Related article: 6 Things Entrepreneurs Can Do to Attract and Retain Good Employees

 

Prediction: Small Business Owners Will Be Spending Quality Time with Their Tax Advisors

The end of the year saw the passing of tax reform and while it is touted as simplifying taxes, for small business owners, it actually makes things more complicated. If you have a C-corp, you will have new tax rates. The same goes for pass-through entities, but with all kinds of complications depending on if you are a service provider (and what service you provide), what you pay as W-2 wages to other employees and overall, how much you earn (again, varying on whether you file by yourself or with a spouse).

 

With that, savvy small business owners will head to their accountants early and often this year to make sure they are making tax-efficient business choices. As accountants are just getting up to speed and there are a lot of specifics related to small business in particular, business owners will want to check back often throughout the year to make sure things are on track and there are no surprises come tax time.

 

Use this tax guide to help inform conversations with your tax professional and advisor

 

 

Prediction: Small Business Owners Will Be Locking in Low Interest Rates on Loans

We have had an extended period of low interest rates, moderate growth and low inflation, the latter courtesy of our Federal Reserve (aka the “Fed”). However, as growth continues, I predict the Fed will continue to raise interest rates at an accelerating pace either directly and/or indirectly. Directly, they will raise rates through votes during their Fed meetings. Indirectly, as they unwind their multi-trillion-dollar balance sheet, the effect will be upward interest rate pressure.

 

So, with rates potentially going up, I further predict that small business owners will engage in a last hurrah and lock in low interest rates on business loans, whether that be for working capital, equipment or otherwise, while rates remain at lower levels.

 

Find the right financing for your business here.

 

Prediction: Small Business Owners Will Be Using More Cloud and AI-Based Technology

The democratization of technology continues and more and more high-level technology is becoming accessible to small business owners at affordable prices. While the cloud reigned supreme in 2017, many small business owners have yet to harness its power, and I predict they will do so in 2018 to help run their businesses more efficiently.

 

I also predict that AI (aka “artificial intelligence) will become more important for small business owners who will begin to embrace it for tasks ranging from chat bots to voice assistants to help with tasks that currently human assistants perform (like maintaining calendars, booking travel and reminders). Technology is providing immense opportunities for small business to do more with less and I believe with the economy on solid footing, 2018 will be the year that more small business owners start to harness that power.

 

So, those are my 2018 predictions. If you are a small business owner, consider getting ahead of your competition for the year by seeing how my insights might help you accelerate your growth in the twelve months ahead.

 

About Carol Roth

Carol Roth Headshot for post.png

Carol Roth is the creator of the Future File ® legacy planning system, “recovering” investment banker, billion-dollar dealmaker, investor, entrepreneur, national media personality and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation. She is a judge on the Mark Burnett-produced technology competition show, America’s Greatest Makers and TV host and contributor, including

host

of Microsoft’s Office Small Business Academy. She is also an advisor to companies ranging from startups to major multi-national corporations and has an action figure made in her own likeness.

 

Web: www.CarolRoth.com or Twitter: @CarolJSRoth.

You can read more articles from Carol Roth by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Carol Roth to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Carol Roth is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Carol Roth. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

“As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake

the world as in being able to remake ourselves.” – Mahatma Gandhi

 

If there is one thing we can be assured of in business – and life – it is that things might change. Strike that. It is that things will change.

 

One day, a potential big client shows up – hooray! That budding prospect then becomes an existing client for a few years. Great. And then, for whatever reason, that once-promising new client is a sad-to-see-you-go old client. Boo hoo.

 

Change happens.

 

That’s why what Gandhi says above applies perfectly. Our greatness is not in our ability to remake the world – clients come and clients go, change happens – but in our ability to remake ourselves such that we can better deal with inevitable change.29204641_s.jpg

 

So, change is headed your way. The question is: how will you deal with it?

 

Fortunately, business people far smarter than I have given this topic a lot of thought. What do they say, what is it you are supposed to do and what is the best way to handle the inevitable change that will affect your business?

 

One word: Pivot.

 

You maybe have heard of that word in a business context before. It was first utilized in the great Eric Ries book, The Lean Startup. Ries uses it to discuss a strategy whereby, when a new startup faces an unexpected change, event, or fork in the road. What should they do?

 

Pivot.

 

It’s just like in basketball. In basketball, an offensive player at some point will stop and hold the ball. An opponent will then come at him. The offensive player may then pivot away from the defensive player into a new spot. If another defensive player comes at him there, he will pivot again to another new spot. Instead of getting flustered or frozen by the oncoming, unexpected defensive player, the shrewd offensive player simply pivots away from the problem into a (hopefully) safer spot.

 

In business, this is the same idea. What Ries and other business people have realized is that the pivot is the best, quickest, most economical way to deal with the unexpected. But what does that mean exactly? It means, ‘This isn’t working, try that.’ Or, ‘That isn’t working, try the other.’ Don’t fall for the analysis paralysis trap. Instead, notice the upcoming change and quickly pivot to a new, better course correction.

 

Here are some famous examples:

 

For 100 years, Nintendo made playing cards in Japan. In 1959, they struck a marketing deal with Disney, but then, a few years later, our friend Change knocked and the bottom fell out of the playing card business. Noticing the success their partner was having with toys and animation, Nintendo pivoted to that area.

 

Starbucks started out in 1971 selling only espresso machines and coffee beans. Later, Chief Marketing Director, Howard Shultz, went on a buying trip to Milan and saw people sipping espresso drinks at cafes throughout the city. Convinced that this change would soon come to America, he compelled Starbucks to accept this necessary pivot. How? By buying the company.

 

The point is, change can be big or brief. Pivots can be large or little. The trick to handling the inevitability of change is to notice it, to remake ourselves – as Gandhi suggests – and not get frozen by it. Finally, make the bold choice to pivot, and head in a new direction that harnesses change in your favor.

 

Related Articles:

1. Great Entrepreneurs Start Small – Consider Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Martha Stewart

2. Great entrepreneurs start small – Consider Howard, Ray and Amadeo

3. Great Entrepreneurs Who Started Small (Part III)

 

 

About Steve StraussSteve Strauss Headshot New.png

Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can also listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business SuccessSteven D. Strauss.

 

Web: www.theselfemployed.com or Twitter: @SteveStrauss

You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Steve Strauss is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Steve Strauss. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

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