Tip It Up for Success (not literally!)

101 Tips for Small Business

It’s quite easy for small business owners to become distracted by their day-to-day responsibilities. But in this competitive economy you can’t afford to miss out on the newest business innovations.

That’s why we asked 50 of the top small business bloggers to share their best tips for small business owners. Their response was incredible. While some shared nuggets of wisdom, others gave us actionable tips you can use right away. Here’s your crib sheet to the best business advice the blogosphere has to offer.

On the Small Business Advantage

1. “Respond. This is the single biggest advantage you have over the big guys. Not only are you in charge, you also answer the phone and read your email and man the desk and set the prices. So, don’t pretend you have a policy. Just be human.”
— Seth Godin, Seth’s Blog

Continue reading “Tip It Up for Success (not literally!)”

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Get in the Flow…

Over the last 3 years I have worked with many different types of people helping them to get their business back on track.  There are many opportunities out there for cash rich investors so choosing the right deal is crucial.

The opportunity cost of working with a business owner who doesn’t share common values can result in lost time and money.  I do not charge upfront fees, my remuneration comes in the success of the business being turned around from an insolvent liability to a saleable business.

It’s very much people first and business model and margin second, here is a summary of tips for a successful turnaround. Continue reading “Get in the Flow…”

Is Anyone Listening?

Even the most successful business leaders who have made it to the very top will undoubtedly talk about times when they felt isolated and a little lost.

To be a great business leader is a balance between – being a great listener, excellent delegation and decisive leadership.

A major part of being a leader is managing people; which is certainly one of the most feared and yet rewarding aspects of running a business.  Everyone has horror stories of a nightmare boss and their manic tendencies that drove them crazy.  Additionally, most business leaders have experienced the pain of managing employees who are simply unwilling to change or take responsibility for their actions.

It is the job of the business leader to create an environment where people feel safe.  They are the glue that sticks the business together and gives it direction.

Employees should be inspired, take pride in owning their responsibilities, and feel motivated to grow and contribute.

A good leader will consciously demonstrate the behavior that will have the most positive effect on their employees.  Leading by example is a key part of that philosophy.

The business leader must earn the respect of the employees by being able to look at issues from alternative perspectives. If employees feel that their ideas are not being listened to and considered, they will simply stop making the effort. Continue reading “Is Anyone Listening?”

Are you having FUN yet?

FUN [definition]

  • enjoyment, amusement, or light-hearted pleasure
  • playfulness or good humour
  • behaviour or an activity that is intended purely for amusement and should not be interpreted as having any serious or malicious purpose.

The fundamental key to success is Fun!

If your competitors are doing exactly what you are doing, but having more fun doing it – they will be more successful. Why? – because it will feel more like a game and less like a job!

When we are playing a game most of us hate to lose, but we know, if we do, there will always be another chance to win. A game feels like it is fun because we compete to win, but we aren’t afraid to lose – the stakes aren’t life threatening.

If we think about losing our job or our business – we will, by habit, create a web of fear that prevents us from clear thinking.

What is more – we will forget to enjoy the ride and when needing to make big decisions, we will cloud our judgement with the fear and anxiety we have built up in our mind.

It’s like a top golfer missing a putt or a world-class footballer missing a penalty in the last moments of a final. They make simple errors, they wouldn’t normally make, because they are completely absorbed by that fear.

Sports psychologists will take them back, mentally, to how it felt before they needed to win to earn money. When it was – “just for fun”.

We all know how to have fun. We just need to recognise that in ourselves. We need to transport those feelings and emotions back into our business life. Continue reading “Are you having FUN yet?”

Retire – but I can’t play golf!

Recently I asked one business owner, when he wanted to retire.

“Retire,” he said. “I can’t play golf!”

Tennis, Bowls, Gardening…there are other ways to spend your retirement!

When we got chatting we discovered he dreamed of building a property portfolio. I reccommended he look at building a portfolio of HMO cash-flow positive properties.

From my experience I knew that would give him a healthy passive income.

I helped him workout what his family needed on a monthly basis to live comfortably. Then we worked it back to see what size portfolio he would need.

This gave him a target figure and time scale to work towards. With the capital he made from the sale of his business he had enough to buy his first property – and there he had a new business that didn’t need him to be there 24/7.

It was the perfect solution for someone who wanted to retire but didn’t want to play golf or sit watching Loose Women all day!

Over the Horizon Thinking starts by asking you – to put yourself in the present moment.

Until you can understand where you are today, in relation to where you want to go, you will find it hard to realise yours, and your businesses – full potential.

It is virtually impossible to build a plan unless you have that knowledge. So the first question is how do we get that knowledge?

It’s easy really – by being aware of our fears and frustrations, dreams & wishes!

Sounds a bit deep but if you can find the time to sit down and work out what you really want, you will have an advantage when building your master plan.

I found out what I wanted by being aware of those thoughts throughout a busy day at work. I discovered that – what I wanted, and what I thought I wanted – were two different things!

You too might find that some parts of the business still get you excited and other aspects fill you with fear. You might like dealing with staff – but hate dealing with customers. You might like being outside in the yard but hate being inside working on the computer.

This information can be very valuable, not only when building and delegating, but also when looking for the next step.

Pausing to take a look at where we are, and where we want to go is a great start, because we are prioritising ourselves first and foremost.

I believe that as the owner of the business you have a duty to care for yourself. If you are not fit, healthy and enjoying work, then your staff won’t either, and your customers will sense it, leading to the business suffering.

Often – when I visit business owners, it is the first time they have sat down to talk about their current situation and thought about when they want to get off the merry-go-round.

Whether you decide to sell the business, restructure the business, grow or close the business and walk away – will depend on your motivations.

Make no mistake if you give yourself this window of awareness and opportunity to take a clear look at the current situation you will not regret it. But my advice is; act now – not later!

How soon ‘not now’ becomes ‘never’.” – Martin Luther

Lets assume – you decide to restructure then exit – identifying a target exit date is the first key step.

Once you have a date in mind we can help you work towards that – the exit planning process is about having the business ready for a sale even before the “target exit date.”

At OTHT we use a process we called Reverse Due Diligence. We use a standard due diligence questionnaire that a buyer might use in a Merger and Acquisition (M&A) transaction. We complete it as if we were the buyer – then we analyse the gaps and work with you to fill them in. We take on certain tasks and we assign tasks to the client.

We prepare an Information Memorandum and due diligence pack in advance, so we can identify problems that will cause roadblocks in the sale process and correct them before a buyer is performing “real” due diligence”.

By having this process completed before the target selling date also allows the company to capitalize on unexpected opportunities, such as an unsolicited offer from a Private Equity firm.

Our main focus is on the balance sheet to make sure the value of the business is maximised.

It’s having all the necessary work done in advance that will make your company look prepared and professional and is likely to get better results.

So even if golf isn’t for you and you are not ready to let go of your business – start asking yourself the questions – what do I want, and when do I want it…!