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26 Posts authored by: Carol Roth

Over the course of a long career advising and strategizing with entrepreneurs, I have noticed a trend, particularly amongst those driven by creativity and passion. For these creative types, it is that their biggest strength – the incredible creativity that sets them apart and drives them to pursue an opportunity – is often their biggest weakness in business.

 

I have gone deep with the owners of some of the coolest and most interesting business concepts around – the type of entrepreneurs who are doing phenomenal, creative and impactful things with their businesses. From the outside, it looks like they have a veritable goldmine. They are the businesses others look at and go, “why didn’t I think of that?”

 

However, as I get to peek behind the curtains (i.e., look at their financial statements), many of these “innovative ideas” are not being executed in a way that makes the entrepreneur enough profit to get by. Some aren’t making any profits at all.

 

High-touch vs. Systems

 

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For many of the high-touch or creative businesses, the uniqueness that sets them apart is what keeps them from reaching the next level or even turning a profit. Instead of being focused on creating something that is perhaps slightly less unique, but scalable and repeatable, the entrepreneur is married to the complexity. They feel it would compromise their vision to streamline what they are doing. Often, that is at the expense of making money.

 

When a business has specialized high-touch services it is also difficult for them to be replicated, even by team members. This leaves the owner burnt out because he is working too many hours or is having a hard time teaching his staff to deliver on the value proposition. This also leaves the entrepreneur with a job, instead of a business.

 

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Pricing Reality

 

For some entrepreneurs, their unique product or service is in demand but only at a price point that won’t support the business’s viability. By requiring certain elements are done by hand, by an artisan or with a special material, they have priced their product or service out of the market. It’s a needed product or service, just not at the price that it would require to keep the entrepreneur’s vision intact.

 

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     What your Prices Say About your Small Business

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So, what does an entrepreneur do when the vision that drives you is what’s keeping you from being successful?

 

Compromise has to happen.

 

If you are in this position, are you willing to let your creative vision inform you, but also to scale back some of the uniqueness for the sake of growing the business (or staying in business)? That is the million-dollar question.

 

I hope you can make that mindset shift. You don’t have to give up your values or your mission, but you may have to implement them in a way that cuts out the smaller details in order for the business to thrive.

 

The challenge is to do that in a way that is still appealing to the customer, as well as to you as an entrepreneur.

 

Ask yourself, “Is what’s setting me apart holding me back?” If it is, you need to decide whether passion or profit is your priority.

 

About Carol Roth

Carol Roth Headshot for post.pngCarol 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.

Regardless of if you have a new start-up or a long-standing family business seeking to grow, having a board can help your business become more successful.

Whether your board is loosely structured as an advisory board or has a fiduciary responsibility to the business’s shareholders via a formal directorship, you need a plan of action to get the most out of your advisors.

 

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Here are some key ways to help your advisors help your business to be a success:

 

1. Know your advisors’ competencies. Advisors can bring a bevy of benefits to companies, so know what you want and what will help you the most when seeking an advisor.

 

2. Set clear and realistic expectations. What is it you want your advisors to assist with? It could be help with raising capital (through direct contacts or credibility), strategic advice, marketing and PR, product development, business development, sales or a whole host of other connections and areas. Know and communicate your expectations.

 

Many of the companies I advised find the most value in using me as a sounding board and a check-in point to keep them on track. That is an underrated value of having someone who can provide discipline on your advisory board. On the flipside, don’t expect your advisor or board member to be running your business for you. That’s never their role.

 

3. Know what you are looking for. You should know your needs before you seek an advisor, just like you should know a job description before hiring a candidate. While you may run into someone who is so fantastic that you just want them involved in your business, it’s likely going to be most helpful to have a list to check a potential advisor’s skills against.

 

Also, it can be tempting to add cachet to your company by adding brand name individuals as advisors. However, if these big wigs don’t do anything for your business, they will end up being just a waste of space on paper.

 

4. Have diversity in your advisors. Your business will benefit from having advisors that don’t all have the same skills or demographics. If your board is comprised of people with the same age, sex, industry background, etc., you are missing a huge opportunity to expand the benefits advisors can bring. Having diverse advisors will expose you to a wider array of connections and thinking.

 

5. Ask for the help. I always tell those that want to engage me as an advisor that I am always available to help, but they have to ask. First, I don’t know the goings-on day-to-day in the company, so I won’t know what issues are most pressing without being told. Also, I am very busy. There are multiple things on my mind at one time, not always the company. If you want something done, ask and be specific in your ask. The onus is on you, not the advisor, to find a way for them to be helpful.

 

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I would also suggest you schedule regular check-in meetings, via phone, Skype, in-person or otherwise. This is usually a practice with formal boards, but not necessarily with advisory boards. This makes sure that you, as an entrepreneur, don’t forget to utilize the advisors as you get caught up in the day-to-day fire drills of running the business.

 

6. Be responsive. If you ask for help and the advisor wants to help or is helpful, be responsive. I have had far too many entrepreneurs ask for my help, only to find when I requested something specific, like a piece of collateral required for me to bring my contacts and expertise to bear, they never got back in touch (or perhaps, took quite some time). Advisors can be helpful, but you need to fulfill your part of the bargain. You have a responsibility to follow through on any tasks required to help your advisor help you and the business.

 

Even worse are the entrepreneurs who ask for help and then bounce to the next person for help without following through on the work the first advisor has done. I have seen this many times. It is not fair to send an advisor on a wild goose chase or have him invest time in one direction for you to get bored, fall off the face of the earth and then ask another person a new set of initiatives. You will not only lose business benefits, but you will earn yourself a bad reputation.

 

7. Give advisors a “vested” interest. Many advisors love to give back to entrepreneurs, but being an advisor is both a commitment and an opportunity cost, even if that cost is that they just can’t be on another board. Consider giving them an equity stake so they have a vested interest in participating in the success of the company.

However, the second part of that is to make that equity interest “vest,” i.e., earned over time. As many flaky entrepreneurs as there are, there are also flaky advisors. So have a trial period to test out working together and if you both see the value, have that extra kicker available.

 

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.

Your customers want to pay you for your product or service, but are you making it difficult for them to give you money? Carol Roth discusses what stands in the way of you and added revenue – from a poorly trained sales staff to a confusing website layout.

 

 

Transcript

 

Hey, it’s Carol Roth, and I want to talk to you about a big mistake that businesses make in terms of their growth and their revenue – and that is making it difficult for customers to give you money.

 

Now this may sound counter-intuitive, but far too many business do this. The first issue is with ill-trained sales staff.

 

I have a colleague who was planning a wedding who called different venues and different caterers and the like, and had so many people give conflicting information; so many people who couldn’t answer basic questions about their offerings – at the end of the day she didn’t go with a company that had the offering she wanted, she went with the company and the venue that had the ability to answer her questions. So, make sure your sales staff is well-trained.

 

This happens to me at spas all the time. I call spas. They’re not able to say this is what you want, this is our service that matches it, here’s an up-sell. They do a really poor job of tracking that entire journey. And if you have somebody who is interfacing with the customer, they have to have that nailed. So, make sure that you’re training them properly – giving them all the information that the customer needs to give you money. It is imperative.

 

     Related article: How Good Is Your Customer Service? Here Are 6 Steps to Find Out

 

I will say the same thing for websites. Sometimes going online and trying to be self-served, it’s impossible to find key information. Whether the information is about the goods and services, the different facets of those, the pricing, or even a number to call more information – don’t make it difficult – again, online or on social – wherever your customer is interfacing, for them to get that information they need for them to give you their money.

 

     Related article: Ten Top Hacks to Increase Sales on your E-commerce Website

 

And the final step is: make sure you have a good payment processor. So, think about how your customers like to pay you and make sure that’s not a roadblock for them to give you money. Because at the end of the day you are in business for customers to give you money, and you want to make it as easy as possible.

 

Learn more about taking payments online, in-store, anywhere.

 

About Carol Roth

Carol Roth Headshot for post.pngCarol 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.

When you are a small company, signing a big, name-brand company may be a dream come true. Not only do big companies have bigger budgets than their smaller counterparts, but they add tremendous credibility and appeal to a small business’s client roster, potentially leading to more business.

 

However, this entrepreneurial dream can turn into a nightmare for businesses who aren’t well-versed in the work process of bigger corporations. Here are some of the issues to be prepared for before you solicit and agree to work with a big corporate client.

 

     Related Content: 5 Simple Steps to Getting Corporate Clients

 

Lengthy and Detailed Vetting and Sell-cycle

 

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First, it can take a long time to get through a big company’s approval process. There are many managers who may require approval, budget cycles to align with and more.

 

And just when you think you are finished, you’ve only just begun!

 

Second, major corporations are quite careful about protecting their reputations, so many have a thorough vetting process for each vendor to ensure they are not associated with any business that could become a public relations problem for them down the road.

 

Be prepared for a vetting that seems like a cross between the Spanish Inquisition and a TSA extended pat-down. This may include giving up sensitive information about your best clients, your revenue, how much your top clients account for in terms of revenue and even background on the executives.

 

Third, many big businesses outsource this vetting to a third-party provider who may ask things that seem irrelevant to your business or the scope of your proposed work with the company, but are just part of the process.

 

Crazy Contract Terms

 

Big company legal departments like to earn their keep and that often shows up in standardized, but somewhat insane, legal agreements and policies. This can range from required non-disclosure agreements to travel and ethics policies and more.

 

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When you work with small and mid-size businesses, you may be able to negotiate certain aspects of these agreements or get workarounds for key terms, but it is very difficult to do the same with larger entities.

 

I have seen contracts that ask for industry exclusivity for relatively small value contracts and others that ask for full name and likeness rights and even those that prohibit entrepreneurs from making political donations. Read these contracts carefully, then consult with a lawyer and make sure that you not only understand what you are agreeing to, but that it’s worth what you are gaining from the relationship.

 

Extra Insurance Requirements

 

Many big businesses require your business to carry all kinds of supplemental insurance at certain levels. Some of the types of insurance you may be required to carry include general liability, commercial auto, employer’s liability, worker’s compensation and professional liability/errors and omissions insurance.

 

This can become frustrating for multiple reasons. First, the type of insurance required may not even be relevant to your business or the engagement at hand, but because it’s a company policy, you still haveto spend additional – and not insignificant – money for no reason other than it’s a policy and a cost of obtaining the business.

Second, many insurance companies that service small business don’t carry all of the types of insurance you are required by your client to carry or they may not carry the coverage at the levels required by the client. You can work with a broker to piece together the coverage you need or you can seek to get an exemption.

 

     Related Content: Six Tips to Get Paid on Time

 

Slow Pay

 

Big companies are good at managing cash flow, which means you need to be good at managing yours as well, because they often take anywhere from 30 to 90 days to pay. Some even have a non-negotiable discount if they pay you within a reasonable amount of time, so you need to factor that in when you set your payment terms.

 

You may also consider asking for a retainer up front and/or payment staged at milestones as a method of ensuring that your own cash flow doesn’t suffer while you provide services.

 

     Related Content: Cash Flow Management Resource Center

 

Big Corporate Politics

 

The final issue to be prepared for is the challenges of navigating internal politics. As mentioned above, corporate structures can impact initial sales cycles, but sometimes, even when you are entrenched and continuing to work with the big company, it can remain an issue.

 

This can be exacerbated by frequent turnover in key departments or having to work with different departments who may have ownership of different facets of the goods and services you are providing. The best advice here is to be patient but persistent and never become complacent. Red tape can be frustrating, but do what you can to be your own advocate.

 

Big companies can truly help a small business enter the big leagues, but they can also be a big pain in the backside. Your expectations and preparation can help soothe that pain so you see more benefit for your efforts.

 

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.

When you get the itch to be an entrepreneur, you have options. You can build a business from scratch, you can franchise a business from another brand franchisor or you can buy a business from  another entrepreneur looking to exit.

 

Getting a business going is the most difficult part of a business’ lifecycle, one that most new businesses do not survive. So, you may follow the path of logic that you minimize that startup risk by buying an established business. While it costs more money up front, you may think that an established business track record, vendor relationships, knowledgeable employees and a customer base will allow you to hit the ground running.

 

However, as with everything related to business, it’s never that easy. Buying a business can sometimes be equivalent to taking over someone else’s problems.

 

Here are some things you should know before you engage the purchase of any business.

 

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Here’s the thing about people—and entrepreneurs are no exception—they are greedy. Their greed is something that you need to understand when you consider buying a business.

 

If a business is doing well and the owner expects it will continue to do well, most entrepreneurs won’t want to part with it. I have advised dozens of businesses to sell when they are nearing the peak of their growth rate, knowing that they will get a premium price for selling their business at that time. In almost every case, business owners don’t sell when things are going well. They have visibility on future growth because they think that they will be missing out on more value (this is often referred to as “leaving  money on the table”).

 

In fact, the greedy entrepreneurs want to wring every penny out of the business, so they convince themselves that if they can wait just another year, their business will be worth more, and then, they will sell it. When the next year comes, they go through the same rationalization.

 

Ultimately, when they see an upcoming business speed bump (or sometimes, encounter a total catastrophe), they decide to sell. This means that when a business is up for sale, often it is because things are going south, or the writing is on the wall that something negative is on the horizon. So, you should just assume going into your evaluation process that you are going to be inheriting someone else’s issues, whether they be minor or major.

 

Entrepreneurs are Good Salespeople

When the entrepreneur puts his or her business up for sale, it's his or her job is to sell it and it benefits the entrepreneur to portray the business in the most positive light possible. The owner, and potentially the owner’s advisors, will tell you that the business is only for sale because of some believable reason; retirement, a move or some other story that may even be true in part, but is also part of the marketing spin of the sale process.

If the entrepreneur really loved the business and thought it was going to continue to grow and increase in value, would he or she be walking away entirely – or finding some way to keep a hand in the cookie jar?

 

See point one about “greed” above.

 

You Don’t Have Perfect Information

When you meet the current owner, whether the person seems savvy or not, he or she will have one important thing you will never have before purchasing the business – full information.  Information is power, and in relation to this new business, you are at a significant disadvantage in the area of information.

 

The current owner knows every in and out of the business, from previous issues to current issues to the status of the relationships with the vendors. He or she knows how much of the business is reliant upon him and his or her connections (and how hard it may be for you to take those over once the owner leaves). This individual knows which employees are gems and which, frankly, suck, as well as how much productivity comes from each employee.

 

The owner knows which employees will probably quit after the business is sold. He or she knows which systems are out of date, which equipment is on its last leg and what his competitors are up to that jeopardizes the company’s very existence.

 

There are also things the owner probably doesn’t even realize about his or her own business. Whatever the case, these are things that you will not know and are very hard to evaluate through a due diligence and inspection process.

 

Regardless of what you ask, the owner will put a positive spin on the answers (see the “good salespeople” point above). The owner may not straight up lie, but since his or her objective is to sell the business, creative answers will be given to your tough questions.

 

Additionally, you are never going to be able to ask all of the questions that you want and get access to every piece of information necessary, as the sale process is usually confidential. While you would love to interview top vendors, customers and employees, you may have limited or no access to them, as such conversations could put these relationships with the company in jeopardy if these important entities believe that there is a sale process going on. So, you will always be at an information handicap when evaluating the business.

 

You Still Need to Run a Business

Additionally, just because you are buying a business rather than starting one from scratch doesn’t mean that the basic tenets of business don’t apply. They do. You still have to answer to your customers; in this case, you must hope that the customers you “paid for” when buying the business don’t use the sale of the business as an opportunity to leave or renegotiate terms. You still need to be a manager and you have to hope that the employees you “paid for” when buying the business don’t use the sale process as an opportunity to quit, demand a raise or slack off. You still need to be able to multi-task and wear different hats.

 

You still have costs and expenses. You still have to manage cash flow. You still have to work; businesses don’t run themselves.

 

Buying a business may let you start at “square two” instead of “square one” in many regards, but don’t think that it guarantees your success. Approach a purchase prudently and be aware of the issues above to better your business success odds.

 

Related:

How to Buy a Business in Three Steps

Tips on How to Finance Your New Business Venture

Questions to Ask Before Buying A Franchise

 

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.

There are many instances where declining business can be beneficial to the growth of a small business. In her latest video, Carol Roth details three circumstances where saying no is saying yes – to a healthy bottom line.

 

 

Transcript:

 

Hey it’s Carol Roth, and I want to talk to you today about the best time to turn away business. Now, as an entrepreneur you are probably always chasing that almighty dollar, but unfortunately, chasing cash is not a business strategy. So if you want to grow your business, here are the times that you should say no and actually turn away business.

 

The first time is when somebody won't pay you what your worth. You obviously have a rate that you’ve set based on what you think your value is, what the market thinks your value is, your time, your experience, your skill set, your network. If somebody is not willing to pay you, especially as an established business, anywhere near what your rate is then feel free to walk away. It gives you that opportunity and that time to go find clients who will pay you what your worth.

 

The next time you should turn down business is when somebody is asking you to do something that isn’t core to your mission and strategy. You should have a goal and a benchmark for everything that you do. And certainly sometimes clients offer cash to do other things, but if that’s not aligned with what your business is doing or where you want it to go, then again say no in order for you to have that opportunity to grow your business.

 

And then the last time you should say no is when something turns out to be a time suck, or at least when you assume it will be a time suck, even if somebody is willing to pay your rate. If you know that it is going to take you ten times as long as it would take you with another client to do the same thing, well, that is probably on a per hour basis and is not the right dollar amount for your time. Something is going to be so time consuming and so painful for you as a business owner, then again, just say no.

 

Now, I know it’s hard as a business owner to turn down business, but if you want to make room for those new opportunities, you have to learn to just say no. So, join me in turning down the things that aren’t relevant and start pursuing the things that are.

 

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.

Small Business Profile: Sweet Beginnings

While the economy is improving, certain communities remain behind the curve in terms of employment and opportunities.  For example, while national unemployment hovers at just over 4 percent nationwide, in Chicago’s North Lawndale community, unemployment is around 23 percent.

 

However, in every challenge there is opportunity. Brenda Palms Barber, the CEO of Sweet Beginnings, LLC, decided to take things into her own hands.  “As a frustrated leader of a nonprofit with a mission to improve the earnings potential of the North Lawndale community through innovative employment initiatives, I knew I had to provide our participants with the second chance they so desired and greatly needed,” she said. “If the employers in North Lawndale would not be willing to hire our program graduates, then it was in my and my team’s own hands to create a way.”

 

Palms Barber helped create Sweet Beginnings as a social enterprise that trains the formerly incarcerated for jobs in manufacturing, food service, customer service, hospitality, retail and more. They do this in part through their beelove® brand of certified, natural urban honey and honey-infused skincare products. As they say on their website, the company is “where your purchase transforms lives.” Sweet Beginnings’ growth allows them to employ traditionally difficult to train individuals, and to empower them with financial and life skills to help build independent and more meaningful lives.

 

Employees at Sweet Beginnings start with job readiness training, which is provided by Sweet Beginnings’ non-profit parent company, the North Lawndale Employment Network. Currently, Sweet Beginnings has eight employees, all of whom spent time in prison.

 

Sweet Beginnings beelove products don’t just provide opportunity, they are fantastic natural products that are beloved – no pun intended – by locals and celebrities alike. The company says that due to the support of married entertainers Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz, who recently talked about the company’s products in People magazine, their most popular product is currently their beelove nourish & smooth body cream.

 

Having a small business dedicated to teaching skills to former prisoners has had a tremendous impact in North Lawndale. , “When communities are ravaged by poverty and violence, generations of families suffer as neighborhoods are drained of their primary wage earners, investment from local business owners and a tax base which can support community social resources,” Palms Barber said.  Now, between beekeeping (which Sweet Beginnings does to make their honey-based products), harvesting and selling honey and honey-infused products, they provide transitional jobs for those returning to the workforce, while developing important and tangible skills the participants can use to become more competitive in the job market.

 

The results speak for themselves. Sweet Beginnings says that more than 75 percent of those who complete their program will go on to secure permanent positions with other employers, start their own business or enter into post-secondary education. Fewer than 8 percent will return to prison.

 

As in any small business, Sweet Beginnings employees learn a number of skills.  The company says their employees learn manufacturing, sales, inventory, quality control, customer service and digital literacy, which transfers to positions in a wide variety of industries.

 

Sweet Beginnings has a goal to provide transitional employment to at least 60 citizens returning from incarceration and other hard-to-employ jobseekers in the next three years. To do so, the company is expanding distribution. In addition to selling products via their beelove website, they also sell in all Mariano’s Fresh Markets, Hudson’s at O’Hare and Midway International airports and other Chicago-based retailers. They are looking for other retail partners.

 

If you are looking to make a social impact with your small business, Palms Barber has some additional tips to share.

 

  • “First, it is important for a social enterprise to be in clear alignment with the mission of the nonprofit organization. I also learned it’s wise to listen and embrace your critics’ feedback because they will lift up critical gaps in your business assumptions that you may be blind to address, resulting in a stronger business model. One thing about Sweet Beginnings is clear – we have done nothing traditional or conventional. Be open and willing to carve a new path and create a new direction for the business. Not every social enterprise will fit into a neat box.”

 

  • “Another key piece of advice is the importance of engaging and retaining professional legal counsel. Invest in legal counsel upfront because they will guide the legal structure that supports your long-term vision.

 

  • “Finally, I have to say that everything takes longer then you think it ever, ever, ever will. It takes time to grow a messy idea to a profitable business!”

 

Everything worthwhile takes time, and it is clear Sweet Beginnings’ time invested is really paying off.

To learn more about Sweet Beginnings’ beelove products and mission, visit their website.

 

Bank of America's related social efforts:

Learn how Bank of America supports formerly incarcerated individuals operating mission –driven organizations.

Bank of America helps neighborhoods in need get access to critical funding and assistance.

Bank of America is deeply involved in community development work related to affordable housing, small business lending and neighborhood revitalization.

 

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.

Preparing for a sale can add substantial value for you as a seller, if you do it early and correctly. Part 1 of this series covered transition plans and management incentives, and Part 2 covered key financial decision making and organization.

 

Once you have familiarized yourself with those steps, continue with the important steps outlined below.

 

Create a Future Strategic Plan

Nobody wants to buy a business that’s best years are in the past. Understandably, buyers pay more for future opportunities and growth.

 

Even though you may be ready to sell your business, you need to demonstrate your business has plenty of opportunities ahead of it. Therefore, it is important that you create a three- to five-year strategic plan.

 

This will help you identify opportunities and issues to address prior to selling the business and give potential buyers a roadmap to future growth prospects. The more opportunities and growth you can demonstrate to a buyer, the more value they will place on the business.38311345_s.jpg

 

Beware of Making Unnecessary Investments

If you are contemplating a sale, resist the urge to make investments that aren’t required to keep the business operating or those that may not show a financial benefit in the short-term, like an acquisition.

 

If you are planning an exit within a few years, it is risky to have to integrate an acquisition successfully on a short time table or pursue a brand new and unproven operating strategy. This is as important a time as ever to make sure that the rewards justify the risks.

 

If an investment lowers your financial performance in the short run, you may be penalized in terms of a lower valuation, even if the investment pays off in the long run. Obtain objective input from your trusted service providers to give you an extra level of scrutiny to ensure that your investment doesn’t decrease the company’s value during a sale.

 

Also, beware of making acquisitions or pursuing opportunities that could complicate your business to investors. For example, if you sell a shelf-stable food product and suddenly decide to sell a product needing refrigeration during transportation, your decision could limit the number of buyers for your business; some buyers with shelf-stable only distribution may not see the combined business as a fit for their business – or they might give you less value for it.

 

Beware of Business Cycles

While you can’t always time the market for selling your business, you can time your own business cycle. If your business is growing, you may worry that your next year will be bigger and that you may be missing out on value by selling it today.

 

However, timing works both ways and you will severely decrease the value you receive for your business if you wait to sell until the growth has slowed. I personally have seen the sale value of businesses cut literally in half because the owners waited one year too long and sold after a non-growth year.

 

Growth businesses get to participate in future value through getting a larger, growth-oriented valuation multiple for their business. Also, there are mechanisms such as earn-out structures that can help you participate in future growth of the business.

 

After reviewing your numbers, if you have had growth over the past few years and expect that to continue for at least the next year, you are at the right point in your business cycle to take advantage of a sale. If you have hit the skids, you will want to right the ship to get the most value possible when selling your business.

 

Selling a business can be an emotional endeavor, but it can also create a serious payday for you as an entrepreneur. Be thoughtful and thorough with your preparation – and make the sales process pay off for you.

 

Related: Exit Strategies: Positioning Your Company for Sale (and Cashing Out the Right Way)

 

 

 

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.

Just like any other facet of your business, when it comes to a sale, planning is critical. In Part 1 of this series, I covered prioritizing shareholder objectives, getting a team in place and more.

 

Below, I share additional steps, so that you can get full credit for the strong business that you have built.

 

Identify and Eliminate “Non-core” Expenses

Closely-held companies can often be run for tax efficiency, which maximizes short-term tax benefits for shareholders by minimizing reported cash flow and earnings.

 

Strategies of running expenses through the business that aren’t critical to the day-to-day operations of the business — such as your car or a “company meeting” in the Bahamas — may soften your tax bill, but are ultimately detractors from sale value.

 

Businesses are typically valued as a multiple of cash flow or earnings. For a business that is valued at 6x cash flow, for example, saving the taxes on $100,000 from extra expenses (at whatever tax rate you pay, so some fraction of the $100,000) will cost you $600,000 of value in a sale. 35643204_s.jpg

 

Start cutting these non-core expenses two years prior to selling your business. If you are close to initiating a sale and it is too late to eliminate such expenses, work with your investment banker on what is called “pro-forma” financial statements.

 

This pro-forma will identify and add back the expenses that would not be needed by the new buyer. While a buyer might fight you on some of those, you should get at least partial credit for reasonable add-backs, enhancing your sale value.

 

Get Your Financials Audited

While an audit can be a lengthy and pricey process, it is critical for a sale of a business with any meaningful valuation (if you have more than $5 million of revenue, this means you). If your financial statements have not been audited by an experienced and reliable accounting firm, they are not typically regarded as trustworthy by potential buyers.

 

This can result in a worse deal for you in two ways:

  • First, in financial terms, it can lower your valuation.
  • Second, regarding business and legal terms, you may be penalized by having to make stronger guarantees and warranties as part of the transaction.

 

Have your financials audited for the last complete fiscal year prior to the year of the sale. If you are a bigger company, have at least three years of audited financial statements.

 

As a bonus, if you do an audit in the years prior to selling your business, it can point out weaknesses in your company’s financial operations and controls, giving you sufficient time to correct them prior to an exit.

 

Organize Your Key Documents

Many small and middle market businesses are guilty of letting their record-keeping slide a bit – or a lot. However, getting your files and documents in order will preserve value in a sale.

 

While you won’t get a higher valuation for your organizational skills, you will prevent “value leakage;” this is where a seller is financially or otherwise penalized in terms of part of the deal proceeds being held back or via onerous legal representations as the deal is finalized and the agreement is drafted.

 

The more administrative items that are unaccounted for or are in disarray, the more penalties you will likely incur from a buyer. These items include a wide array of documents and files, such as all contracts signed, technical drawings, and back-up copies of source code.

 

Also, examine your contracts on a regular basis and look for any special requirements, such as change of control provisions, which could have an impact on a sale by making a third party required to give consent to keep the contract valid (this could range from a vendor to a landlord, the former potentially affecting prices paid). Review your contracts and special situations with your service providers to make sure that they will not adversely affect your sale process.

 

Continue working on the steps above and stay tuned for our final installment of tips to help you prepare for a sale.

 

Related Content: How to Get Your Business Ready for a Sale: Part 1—Before You Plan to Sell

 

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.

Jen Welter is the first woman to coach in the NFL. As I read her new book, Play Big, I was deeply impressed by the powerful insights it offered for entrepreneurs. So, I reached out to her to talk through some lessons derived from her book and her own experiences to share with you here on the Business Advantage Small Business Community.

 

Play Big

For a small business, the challenge is often how you can compete with companies that are further along in their development. Welter suggests you play big on your own terms, with your own advantages. For example, she advises if you are at a disadvantage in terms of staff, resources etc., “…instead of trying to ‘out-big them’, why not out-little them? What you lack in size you have in mobility and responsiveness, so out-little and out-fast them – it’s what I did my whole career!”

Play Your Own Game

Success is not a one-size-fits-all proposition for anyone. For business owners, defining your own vision of success is critical, and being authentic is your competitive advantage. As Welter says, “Never try to play someone else’s game; you have to define your own. You cannot be all things to all people, nor should you want to be. What makes you different is absolutely what makes you special. Why fit in when you can stand up and stand out?”

 

Dr. Welter had to use her own measures of success as she played pro football and ultimately coached in the NFL. Use the same philosophy as you decide what goals and objectives are right for you.

 

Give Feedback with Grace

In Play Big, a great learning moment came from one of Dr. Welter’s coaches, who told her not to play for his football team, but he did so in a way that ultimately empowered her. Welter says that, “The best gift a coach can give a player is to make him or her better. If I knew a coach had my best interest at heart and was invested in me personally, I would run through a wall for that coach.” 

 

The same philosophy can be applied to your business dealings, with employees and partners. As Welter notes, “Feedback can be hard to deliver, especially when it seems like a ‘no’ or bad news. However, sometimes by sharing the thought process and a bigger picture for how a person fits in the puzzle or skills which would change the dynamic with improvement, you can actually set the person up for success, which should be the goal.”

 

Go All-in

One of Welter’s top mantras is, “If you really want to change the game, you have to be willing to bet on yourself. There is no guarantee for success, but there is a guarantee that if you don’t go for it, you will always wonder what would have happened if you would have tried.”

 

Entrepreneurs make that commitment up front, but sometimes that dedication becomes hard to sustain. However, continuing to be “all-in” makes all the difference in being successful. Welter adds, “…once you do go for it, you have to go after it. You will never regret the work you put in.”

 

Don’t Question Yourself

As an entrepreneur, you constantly face new challenges, which can bring about doubt and rejection. As Welter says, “Being an entrepreneur means that you are betting on yourself. You have a unique vision that has allowed you to see business in a different way, so guess what, there are going to be a whole lot of people who call you and/or your idea crazy. Guess what? I was told I was crazy my whole career. Guess what else? I love my brand of crazy. You can’t change the game by doing what has always been done and if someone else could see what you do, they might have already done it!”

 

Be Vulnerable

Finally, a key area that entrepreneurs struggle with is the emotional part of being an entrepreneur.  Whether it is opening up on their struggles to family, asking for help or admitting to feeling like a failure, many entrepreneurs put walls up. However, Welter advises vulnerability is a key part of attaining success.

 

“As athletes, we are taught never to admit fear and never to admit weakness,” she notes. “As a player, you want everyone around you to see you in a certain way – your teammates, coaches, fans, opponents should see you as capable, strong, good under pressure, an asset. It’s a persona which is developed with practice. However, what many athletes struggle with is when and if to turn that invincibility mode down, and with whom. This is a common challenge in business, as well. On the one hand, we want to have all the answers, but then we are stuck with no one to answer the questions. Needing help, or as I like to say, seeking next level greatness, means you just might have to get a bit uncomfortable and let that invincibility shield down and get help from others who can complement your talents, answer your questions and coach you.”

 

“Why limit yourself by your view of the situation and your personal expertise? That’s not strength. That’s being stubborn. Find trusted advisors or ‘teammates’ who push you to be better, that you can trust enough to let down your walls a bit.”

 

Hopefully, you can follow some of these tips from a true barrier-breaker to continue to break barriers in your own business. For more on Dr. Jen Welter, visit www.jenwelter.com and to learn more about her book, Play Big, click here.

 

Related Articles:

Interview with Confirm Biosciences, Inc. founder and CEO, Zeynep Ilgaz.

Dhani Jones explains why thinking like an athlete will score for your small business.

Why Thinking Like an Athlete Will Score for Your Small Business

 

 

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.

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.

The Fall Small Business Owner Report (SBOR) from Bank of America shows that while small business owners are generally optimistic, there’s a downward trend of individuals who expect to grow their business – even from just this spring.

 

This trend may not be surprising given the heated political environment and the concerns that, despite the rhetoric about the importance of small business in the economy, policies to help small businesses thrive rarely follow suit.

 

In the SBOR, the two biggest economic concerns impacting business owners weren’t things like consumer spending or even credit availability—no, the top issues were healthcare costs and corporate tax rates, with the latter at a slight increase from just a year ago.

 

Not entirely coincidentally, those issues have been at the heart of important yet stalled legislation over the past year. This means that government could, with the right focus and guidance, truly help small businesses create more optimism and, ultimately, growth. Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 2.58.45 PM.png

 

While most small business owners will tell you that they’d just prefer government to get out of the way, here are a few of the top ideas government could implement to address those top small business economic concerns, as concisely laid out in the SBOR:

 

Free Market Approach to Healthcare: I’ve said many times that the solution to fixing healthcare is to address the costs via transparency and choice. In terms of healthcare insurance, we need coverage that’s available to all, that’s cost effective, and ensures quality care. This requires a free market approach to healthcare where individuals and families can buy nationwide. It also means reducing the burdens on business. You shouldn’t have to depend on an employer to get great insurance, and you—as a small business owner—shouldn’t fear growth because you will be inundated with extra costs.  These fixes will allow small businesses in particular to focus more on growth and hiring.

 

Give All Small Businesses a Real Tax Break: Small businesses outnumber big business by a huge margin (around 28 million vs. less than 15,000), but the big businesses are in for the big tax breaks. And, recent proposals that theoretically offer a small business tax holiday come with a big asterisk in the form of so called “guardrails.” Millions of professional service providers and solopreneurs could face no tax break and also lose deductions. Treat the small businesses as the real economic and hiring engine that they are and more growth will be the obvious outcome.

 

Create Small Business Tax Hiring Incentives: Not only should small businesses get a tax break, but creating an incentive—such as tax holidays for a new employee’s salary for the first year—would take the risk out of hiring and allow small businesses to get the personnel required to grow. If just 5% of the small businesses in this country were to hire their first employee, that would be one million new jobs available!

 

Keep Creating Pressure to Lighten Regulations: Finally, make it easier for small business owners to be in business. While much of the red tape is at the local level, everything from confusion over independent contractor definitions to having to get worker’s compensation insurance for work-from-home employees in some states makes it hard to be a business owner. Let business owners focus their time on running their businesses – and growing.

 

Although the these changes would be ideal for small businesses and perhaps increase owner's optimism in business growth, it's important to remember change doesn't happen over night. For now, I suggest learning a few ways to grow your business.

 

You can read more articles from Carol Roth by clicking here

 

Related article: Four Things Small Business Owners Should Consider Before Offering Employee Healthcare

Related article: Top 10 Overlooked Tax Deductions for the Self-Employed

Related page: 5 helpful tips for tax season

 

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.

 

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

I think of myself as an entrepreneur, not a “woman entrepreneur.” That said, there are things women tend to do as they approach business ownership that often hold them back from being even more successful.

 

Here are some of my top tips to leave the qualifiers behind so women can become more successful entrepreneurs.

 

1. Remember, Entrepreneurship is a Meritocracy. When you are the boss, you are the boss, and your potential is unlimited. You have every ability to pursue an opportunity in the same manner as anyone else, so don’t psych yourself out and create self-doubt that holds you back. Only you stand in the way of your own success.

 

2.  Think Big. Women tend to take on less risk than men. This, again, is not because of some rigged system as much as women holding themselves back from going really big. Whether it’s concern over disappointing someone or a fear of failure, you need to be able to lean into risk and uncertainty to be successful.

 

It’s also often just as difficult to start and run a small business as it is a big one, so why not really reach for a crazy goal? It’s ok to take calculated, educated risk. If you don’t fail at least part of the time, you aren’t pushing yourself enough.

    

    CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM SMALL BUSINESS EXPERT CAROL ROTH

 

55497765_s.jpg3.  Delegate, but Don’t Abdicate, Responsibility. Generally speaking, women are often detail oriented. And the strengths of being good at the details also means you can get bogged down in running your business, instead of growing your business.

 

You need to create systems to teach other people to do tasks that aren’t the best use of your time or the best service to the business. While others may not be as good as you are at a task, if it is good enough for customers to be happy, go with it.

 

4.  Watch Your Language. Women don’t realize how often they portray themselves as non-entities or minimize their value. They apologize where there’s nothing to be sorry for, they draw attention to items that nobody needs to know and they downplay accomplishments. Often, women feel badly about talking about their work and business for fear of coming off self-promotional.

 

Use powerful language, own what you do and don’t offer irrelevant information that detracts from what you are accomplishing. That language informs your attitude, which informs your success. And remember that if you aren’t willing to promote yourself, it’s not likely that anyone else will either. People follow the cues you set for them.

    

     RELATED ARTICLE: 20 Inspirational Quotes for Entrepreneurs

 

5.  Expand Your Network. While it may be comfortable to network with people just like you, it will never get you to the next level. Go outside your comfort zone, approach and mingle with people who are where you want to be and let that inspire you to move up to their level.

 

6.  Set Your Own Goals. Lastly, it’s important to note we all have different definitions of success. For some people, family accomplishments are more important than professional ones and deserve extra focus. There are also some that judge contributions to a team and seeing projects succeed as more important than individual compensation or overall business growth. There are others that frankly don’t want the stress and responsibility that comes with trying to pursue an eight-, nine- or ten-figure business.

 

All of this is ok, as our individual success should be measured by our own goals and objectives. There may always be a differential in the types of businesses each individual pursues and how they approach them. If you are pursuing something based on your own measure of success, that’s not anyone else’s business to judge.

 

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.

 

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

You have already demonstrated a sense of optimism if you have taken the leap into entrepreneurship. However, as the business roller coaster goes through its peaks and valleys, maintaining a positive attitude and the drive to keep going can be difficult.

 

That’s why it’s great to pause and get some inspiration via wise words from others. I’ve assembled 20 quotes from innovators, athletes and entrepreneurs (including one from me) that can give you a push in that time of need.

 

Consider posting your favorites in plain view as a constant reminder of the leadership, persistence and motivation you need to stay the course and make your business an even bigger success.

 

Leadership39734350_s.jpg

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” - Peter Drucker

 

“There's never a wrong time to do the right thing and never a right time to do a wrong thing.” - Lou Holtz

 

“A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit.” - Arnold H. Glasgow

 

     CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM SMALL BUSINESS EXPERT CAROL ROTH

 

Persistence, Success and Failure

“Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.” - Bill Gates

 

“You miss 100% of the shots you don't take” - Wayne Gretzky

 

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” - Henry Ford

 

“Fail often so you can succeed sooner.” - Tom Kelley

 

“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” - Michael Jordan

 

“Flaming enthusiasm, backed up by horse sense and persistence, is the quality that most frequently makes for success.” - Dale Carnegie

 

Problem solving

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” - Albert Einstein

 

“The most serious mistakes are not being made as a result of wrong answers. The truly dangerous thing is asking the wrong questions.” - Peter Drucker

 

Ambition and Focus

“Jet pilots don’t use rear view mirrors.” - Joel H. Weldon

 

“Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps, down new roads, armed with nothing but their own vision.” - Ayn Rand

 

“Ambition is a dream with a V8 engine.” - Elvis Presley

 

“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” - Vince Lombardi

 

“Entrepreneurs too often make choices based on ROE (Return on Ego) vs. ROI (Return on Investment).  A particular opportunity may make you feel great, but if that opportunity is not supporting your goal, or isn’t the best way to achieve your goal quickly and efficiently, then pursue the opportunity that will.” – Carol Roth

 

      RELATED ARTICLE: Great Entrepreneurs Start Small – Consider Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Martha Stewart

 

Competition and Motivation

“Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” - Theodore Roosevelt

 

“And while the law of competition may be sometimes hard for the individual, it is best for the race, because it ensures the survival of the fittest in every department.” - Andrew Carnegie

 

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.” - Steve Jobs

 

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.

 

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

It is often said that “money makes the world go ‘round.” This couldn’t be truer for entrepreneurs, who may find that money goes out the door at a more rapid pace than it enters the business.

 

Business owners often need to be entrepreneurial when it comes to operations, including finding ways to get creative with financing. While we always think of money as our only currency, many of us provide expertise, goods and services with substantial value that can be bartered to grow your business.

 

Done correctly, you can use barter-based partnerships (let’s call them “bartnerships”) to take care of some business needs while building great collaborative relationships in the process.

 

However, like anything else, where you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail. And, in the case of bartering, that means anything from incurring hefty legal costs to unexpected tax bills.

 

Here’s a roadmap to help you barter and partner better so that it adds to your business.

 

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ARTICLES FROM SMALL BUSINESS EXPERT CAROL ROTH

 

Vet potential partners

When you go to partner on a barter deal, you want to ensure that your “bartner” has a positive reputation and shares your base business values.

 

One way to do this is to approach associates in your network where you already have a positive relationship. You can also seek recommendations from trusted business associates and advisors. If you expect to barter regularly, consider joining a barter group that verifies or rates participants, or even a barter exchange that intervenes in negotiations.

 

Whether you know your bartner or not, do an online search and check reviews, their social media postings and Better Business Bureau complaints to see if there is any history that could create an issue for the relationship and your business’s reputation.

 

Establish a fair exchange

Even in barter arrangements, the dollar remains the core standard of value. Both parties need to set and agree to a firm dollar value for the goods and services they’re exchanging to create a benchmark of “fairness” for the transaction.

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You want to make sure that the trade has as equal a value as possible. For example, if a web developer wants to barter for legal services, the parties may choose 12 months of website maintenance with a $2,400 value for the creation of three template contracts that also have a $2,400 value.

 

While you may want to get a great deal with a lopsided arrangement benefiting you, that often backfires. You don’t want the other party to do a lousy job or feel like they are being taken advantage of – that can impact the quality of the trade and the relationship. Going for a win-win arrangement is always the best for both parties in the long term.

 

Date before marriage

Successful marriages typically begin with a low-key first date before the parties move in together and ultimately tie their lives together. Keep your first barter with a new partner like a first date – small in scope and low-risk.

 

You need to evaluate how you work with a partner before entering into a business relationship. Even if both parties have good intentions going into the bartnership, like marriages, they don’t always work out as planned. Until it’s very clear you can work effectively with and trust this partner, keep it small. It’s much easier to take on a larger exchange or partnership once you have a few small successes behind you.

 

Put everything in writing

The word “barter” may sound casual, and while a handshake may technically be viewed as a legal contract, it’s tough to prove in a court of law. A barter agreement may be even more complex than a straight cash-based compensation arrangement, so you need to identify all aspects of your agreement in detail and put them on paper.

 

By doing this, you limit misunderstandings before, during and after the barter arrangement. Document every detail thoroughly, from what is to be delivered by which party at what quality level and in what time-frame, as well as any remedies if one party doesn’t follow through.

 

Also, if you create a product or service collaboratively (such as working together to create an email list), specify what happens at the end of your agreement. If the agreement stipulates that your barter partner takes full ownership at the end of the partnership and you can no longer use the email list after a defined period, perhaps you should agree to supply fewer names than your partner.

 

RELATED ARTICLE: Which Gig Economy Delivery Service is Right for your Small Business?

 

Know the finish line

Your agreement might last for a week, a month or longer, but it shouldn’t last forever. You absolutely need to set an end date for the arrangement. Even if you enter into an identical arrangement many times in the future, it’s best to create a new contract or at least put together an amendment or extension each time.

 

If your first agreement worked well, creating the next one will be a simple matter. But, if you discovered that some provisions didn’t work as expected, you now have the flexibility to tweak the next version.

 

Communicate early and often

Don’t wait until the final deadline to check in with your partner and find out how things are going or to let them know where you stand on your deliverables. Define key milestones with your partner and check in with each other to ensure you’re both on track and maintaining appropriate quality levels.

 

Naturally, when unexpected issues arise, don’t wait for a milestone date to speak up. A setback on one side can affect the other side. Plus, an informed partner may have a solution to fix the issue.

 

Talk taxes with your accountant

When you trade goods or services that have a cash value, the taxing authorities, of course, want their share. This means that you should discuss tax implications with your accountant before entering a barter agreement.

 

In the U.S., the IRS typically requires you to report barter arrangements on your tax forms. However, if you exchange like goods or services, you both gain and lose valuable assets, so you may not need to pay excessive – or any – additional taxes if you properly track both sides of equal-value exchanges. However, IRS valuation rules can be complex, so that’s why a chat with your accountant is advisable.

 

Using your expertise, goods or services as currency can be a big boost to your business, but plan well so you reap the full benefits and minimize the risks for your business.

 

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.

 

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

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