The hardest nut to crack – the resistant manager

Picture of some nutcrackers. Taken by ?Raul654...
Picture of some nutcrackers. Taken by ?Raul654 on December 25, 2004. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whatever business you are running, you will eventually run into the hardest nut to crack – a manager who is pickled in old ways, deeply invested in the status quo and heavily supported by the insidious political subsystem.

Unless you are the owner of the business, your head could be on the block unless you handle the resistor or resistors effectively. Suddenly without wanting it you are reluctantly thrust into the role of the “change agent”. You are the one who is going to have to sell the change to the hard-core resistor. Continue reading “The hardest nut to crack – the resistant manager”

Is your product and offering compelling in this market?

English: A bewildering choice of honey! Haverf...
Honey selling in France – (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A small business that specialises in a range of products made from honey had a small stand outside a large Dis-Chem pharmacy, a health and beauty discounter. There were so many products made from raw honey and beeswax, together with the other ingredients, that the stand looked confusing. No potential customers were visiting the stand. What went wrong? Continue reading “Is your product and offering compelling in this market?”

How do you cope with uncertainty in coming up with a new product or service?

The Uncertainty Principle (The Spectacular Spi...
The Uncertainty Principle (The Spectacular Spider-Man) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An existing business owner needs to handle uncertainty: cash flow, keeping essential staff skills, supply cost increases and even power cuts to name just a few. For the start-up founder or someone starting something from scratch the level of uncertainty can be much higher. How do you as a start up business person handle high levels of uncertainty? Continue reading “How do you cope with uncertainty in coming up with a new product or service?”

Starting something from scratch – fear trip or adventure?

English: ladder and sky.
English: ladder and sky. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes we get trapped in our fears. No place to turn to. Or so we think.

A middle age woman wrote to an agony aunt telling her that she hadn’t been romantically intimate with a man for five years and asked how she could get out this cage she had trapped itself inside of. The agony aunt recognised and acknowledged the woman’s situation. She praised where the woman crying out for help was in her life and acknowledged how difficult it was to get back into relationships and feel intimacy, friendship and trust again. If she continued creating greater mental barriers, the more difficult things would become.

The agony aunt advised the woman to take small steps such as signing up for a dance class where she would be able to hold hands with men and press some flesh, practice talking to strangers, harmlessly flirt with men in appropriate situations and perhaps even sign up to an online dating agency. Continue reading “Starting something from scratch – fear trip or adventure?”

Do you always have to be right?

English: From the series Lateral Thinking
From the series Lateral Thinking (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I knew this guy once who was always right about everything. I’m not trying to pick on him but use his attitude as an example. When you were having a conversation with him, he would tell you what was the best car, the superior whiskey, and even the best place to buy clothes.

In his need to always be right, you couldn’t get a word in edge ways or persuade him to an alternative or different point of view. It’s interesting that he still ekes out a living in some backwater, barely scraping enough money together to keep his rigid lifestyle going.

This may be an extreme example of someone who is set in their ideas and ways. But it illustrates the dangers of the need to be right: it shuts out progress. Continue reading “Do you always have to be right?”

How do you turn your small business into an innovation machine?

Innovation (Photo credit: Seth1492)

A dog day care business faced stiff competition with similar businesses starting up. The owner decided to introduce new services such as caring for older, sickly pets, offering on-site vaccinations and placing webcams in the facility so owners could check their pets anytime. This innovation helped the business expand from 11 locations to 100 franchise outlets and wholly-owned shops.

The perception exists that small businesses are not as innovative as larger companies. Yet while this may be true for common village professionals like shopkeepers, real estate agents, plumbers, lawyers and doctors, many small business owners are highly innovative.

Why is innovation so important to small businesses? Continue reading “How do you turn your small business into an innovation machine?”