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Advice for Small Business Owners

Pay Back the Founders

One of the commonly misunderstood components of an investment in a growing business by people who have not been there before is the concept of paying back the founders. That is, the company has a value, and people sacrificed in some way to help the company get to where it is today. That might have […]

It Pays to Give Away

A few years ago, when just starting out in the consulting business, I would have been reluctant to give up any business at all. If someone asked me to write them a tiny script, or a massive desktop application used by thousands of people simultaneously, I would have been eager and raring to go. The […]

How well do you know your own business

When Carl and Maria Griffin entered the Dragons’ Den to showcase their business and hopefully land an investment, they were awakened as to the true nature of their business. Their business, LiteLocker, makes it trivially easy to install and remove Christmas lights, by installing the system alongside the eaves of a building. The units can […]

Are You Magnetized?

Over the last few years, I’ve begun to suspect that in some sense, I’m a magnet, and I’m not sure why. Not that I’m complaining – on the contrary, this magnetism has brought me large amounts of business, but I’ve tried to understand how this can be replicated. First, though, I should explain what I […]

When You Work for Yourself

Perhaps one of the factors of life as the self-employed freelancer is in regard to what happens when you get sick. Or, if it isn’t you who gets sick, a family member who you have to care for. Even for those under the impression that they rarely get sick, it tends to happen, as Murphy’s […]

The Difference Between Marketing and Sales

I have a client with an interesting employee – he can take a product, and figure out who the best customers of this product are. He knows how to reach those people, as well as the people who would ultimately pay for the product. He can get these people to seriously consider using his product […]

Competition is Healthy

When a new product was launched by a company with a large amount of clout and marketing power, a project I was working on had its management team move into crisis mode fairly quickly. The competing product, at first glance, seemed to compete directly with the product we were building, which raised the question as […]

Your Biggest Asset and Liability

In last week’s episode of Dragons’ Den, one pitch went sour for the simple reason that the biggest asset in the business was also its biggest liability. This is a fairly common problem in family-run businesses, often a function of one member of the family remaining in control of a business even when it has […]