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09.11.2017

The small business millionaire

Not long ago I was recommended a book to read called THE SMALL BUSINESS MILLIONAIRE - by Steve Chandler and Sam Beckford.

It's a book worth reading for anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit, for people who are afraid of making mistakes and for people who want to learn how to succeed.

The book centres around a father/daughter who own a restaurant, who have been going through tough times business-wise. Another key player is a businessman that we don't know too much about really. All we know is that he wants to help. He has eaten at the restaurant, likes the product and wants to see the restaurant succeed. 

So why the drama? Businesses fail all the time don't they? Something like one in five businesses fail completely within the first year of operation. One of the key points in this book asks the question WHY do businesses fail and what can we do when faced with a dwindling customer base even though our product is exceptional.

Let's move away from the book for a moment. If you have a product that meets the customer needs and expectations what could possibly be the problem? In short, the problem could well be you!! We need to examine ourselves and our reactions to the business environment and the problems that business face every day. 

So back to the book....here we have a business that produces excellent food - in fact, the "best food in town". But there are problems. Let's look at the problems and the solutions one by one and see if we could apply them to other business situations.

First of all, there is the problem of CASH FLOW. As the restaurant-owner father says in the book, people always talk about the "lack of cash flow" but if there is no cash to flow in the first place, how can there be a cash flow problem? And he's right. So first we need to think about who or what can create cash flow.....and in this case it's the customer. We may well have the best product in the world but if no-one is buying the product, what good is it in a business sense? 
So, the customer or client...how can we reach the potential customer and encourage them to come and try our product. The book talks about the restaurant running an advertisement campaign in the local paper. Every week they run the ad and every week the results are the same - little or no increase in custom. So next we need to ask the question if the expense in running an advertising campaign (however big or small it may be) is worth the cost? Advertising and marketing need to be measurable in a very basic sense. If your advertising isn't working, change it. Do not continue throwing good money after bad. But how can we change something when we have no money left to implement these changes? The answer to this question leads us to the next point......

ASK FOR HELP. There is no shame or weakness in asking for help. Over the course of our lives we help people when asked and sometimes there might come a time when we need help. So ask for it. It is not a sign of weakness. In fact it's the complete opposite. It is a sign of strength, a sign of determination, a sign that you haven't given up and a sign that you want to beat the problems you are facing. We all need help at times, so ask for it. Everyone wants you to succeed in your business circle and if they can help they usually will, it's good for them as well as good for you if you succeed. Let's look at an example here. If you have debt with a supplier that you are struggling to pay, what's better for them? That you go bankrupt and don't pay the debt or that you become successful again and can pay the debt? The answer is obvious. Ask for help if and when you need it. 

The next point to talk about is HOW WE REACT TO PROBLEMS.  A problem may well seem like a problem and sometimes in the short term it's something that causes concern, even sleepless nights BUT, what would happen if we see each problem as an opportunity, an opportunity to change, an opportunity to react and an opportunity to improve things. Problems are thrown our way to test us and we need to learn how to use the problems we encounter as opportunities. Sometimes we won't learn straight away, sometimes we will react in a way that doesn't produce results and sometimes we will fail - but who hasn't failed sometime in their life. It's also about how we react to these mistakes and how through making mistakes we ensure a better future, a better "next time".  The book let's us know that the successful businessman helping the father/daughter had failed many times before he made a name for himself.

The book, ultimately, is written as a short novel. Entertaining to read with business and human messages to digest, it's a book that everyone should read. The messages are all there. We need to think about them and adapt them to our own needs. Thoroughly recommended. And available on Amazon. 

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