My Library and Courses
Last Update: Thursday March 30, 2017

Key Question: What is the best and greatest use of my time?

Eight steps open many paths in business


  Four Steps to start and run All of us
Step 1. Initial Idea $
Step 2. Start-up $$
Step 3. Incubate $$$
Step 4. Sole proprietor $$$
  Four to run and grow a business orngeldy.gif
Step 5. Employer $$
Step 6. Growth $$$
Step 7. Sustainability $$$$
Step 8. Exit at the top $$$$


The Online Workshop - Case Studies

1. Donna Baase, Cowgirl Enterprises:  Donna Baase is not interested in running a manufacturing plant. She wants to give her customers unique, botanical based skin products.

2.  Small Office - Home Office:   Ron Bowman grew up poor and put himself through school.  He was fascinated by an architecture course so he started fixing up houses for people.  Today he owns commercial space that he developed himself; and by doing so, he has become financially independent.

3.  Marty Edelston, Boardroom, Inc:   Marty says, "Make It Convenient to Work."  He has a home office and is only a short drive from his company headquarters.

4.   The People Part of Business:  Before you hire anybody, be sure to watch this entire episode.

5.  Staying Power:  This episode of the show  is also on the "must watch" list because it helps to lay the foundations for substantial growth and a sustainable business.

6.  Al Smith, Angel & Phelps Chocolates:  Al says to hire slow (and many would add the corollary, "Fire fast.")

7. Sohrab Vossoughi, Ziba Design: Sohrab says that we all need to put in writing your values, vision, philosophy and methodologies because they aren't real until you write them down. And after you write them down, put them up on the wall so everyone can see them.

8. Cheryl Womack, VCW, Inc.: Cheryl says that the early secret to success is to keep overhead low during the startup.  It is often the only way a founder can build a strong foundation.


A few key questions for Step 4

  1. Why do companies do so well selling a mission as opposed to a product?

  2. Is your business for survival, to fulfill a calling, or to self-actualize?

  3. What does it take to feel comfortable dealing with global customers and vendors?

  4. What is the downside of outsourcing?  Is building a virtual company only good when you don't have enough money to do everything yourself?  If the people-part of running a business is the most difficult part, then isn't forming alliances for specific tasks a viable solution?

  5. Would a payroll be a big burden to you?  Would it be possible to re-organize your business to outsource the tasks you don't enjoy?  Could you do more with fewer people if you added more technology?  What strategic alliances do you have now and do they work for you?  What strategic alliances should you form?

For more, consider these questions about  money

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Step 4 - "I am on my own!"                                    Overview Orientation

You are now a sole proprietor. You have taken another Flying Leap! You are on your own!

Most of us who own a small business are driven by freedom, by choice, by ownership.

As Hattie says in the opening of each episode of the show, "Small business people are optimistic — the kind of optimism that is rooted in a great idea. We can create jobs. We can create wealth. We can make the world a better place."

Check your financing. Are you staying on top of your financials? Do you understand your P&L? Are you hitting your projections?  Have you set new goals for next quarter?

If you grow quickly, you may feel a need to hire some help. Once you do, you will have gone on to Step 5, an Employer.



The Four Pathways Within  Step 4

1. The Basics - Understanding oneself

There is no more corporate safety net. You know how to sell to survive. And you may be discovering how quickly you can replace your old income while you enjoy the process of building your business.

If you have completed a quarter (13 weeks), have you calculated any of your critical ratios? Review our show all about money. If you are coming into these Steps here on Step 4, we recommend that you actually work through Steps 1, 2 and 3.

Of course, you have no employees, but look at the coterie of people around you. Ask them for ideas and insights. All of them.

2. Your community - Working and growing together as a team

Have you developed relatively easy access to some of your local bankers, accountants, and lawyers? Are you supplier, vendors and customers becoming some of your friends?  Are you developing a network of solid business advisers within your community?

So now, before you start thinking about hiring, let's stop and examine where you are:

Check efficiencies. Where can you save time? In how many ways can you save money? How can you make your next sale in a shorter period of time? What about part-time employees? sub-contractors? If you haven't already, please look at how Donna Baase is doing it! And look at how the SoHo folks are doing it.

Check your customers. Customer satisfaction will be one of the cornerstones of your business. If you believe you have delivered on your promises and your product has performed well, ask for a letter of recommendation. Of course, it would be ideal if you could nurture each customer until they volunteer such a letter. But you will know when the time is right to ask your customer for their evaluation.

Case Studies. Though every episode of the show could be a valuable resource for you, there are several stories in the series that demonstrate that efficiencies can make a difference. The most efficient company in the USA is among them.

Look at the study guide about Boardroom and consider their I-power methodology to create efficiencies that can help more dollars drop to your bottom line. Consider subscribing to their magazine, BottomLine.


3. Structuring your time - dealing with today.

Time management is one of Hattie's areas of expertise. As you read through the study guides, you will be constantly asked to examine ways to be more focused and efficient with your time.

4. Projecting the day you hire an employee or "full-time" sub-contractor

Think long and hard about hiring people. Employees are a difficult and time-consuming transition for most entrepreneurs. Being a sole proprietor is no longer a limitation to growth. Being a virtual corporation with a web of subcontractors and other types of business partnerships is a 21st century concept.