All posts tagged money management

DSEF & BBB: 10 Tips to Help You be a Savvier Shopper in 2013

DSEF & BBB: 10 Tips to Help You be a Savvier Shopper in 2013

blue_with_website-225x30022By Kelsey Owen

A new year is a great time to resolve to be a smarter, safer shopper. BBB has 10 resolutions that can help you fight scammers, prevent identity theft and save money in 2013.

  1. Always check a business out with BBB before you buy.  Nearly 400,000 businesses meet BBB standards and are qualified to use an Accredited Business seal on their websites and business locations.  Visit to find BBB Business Reviews for more than 4 million businesses across North America.
  2. Be skeptical of “job offers” that promise easy money. With high unemployment and long job searches common, scammers are targeting people desperate to find jobs. Beware of any job offer, work-at-home scheme or business opportunity that promises big money for little work and no experience.
  3. Always read the fine print—especially with “free” trial offers.Thousands of consumers complained to BBB this year after signing up for a “free” trial offer online that resulted in repeated charges to their credit or debit cards, sometimes amounting to hundreds of dollars every month. Read the terms and conditions of any “free” trial offer before handing over credit or debit card numbers.
  4. Keep your computer safe. If you haven’t already done so, install anti-virus software on your computer and check regularly for software and operating system updates and patches. Don’t open attachments or click on links in emails unless you can confirm the email came from someone you trust.
  5. Never wire money to someone you don’t know. Many scams require that the victim wire money back to the scammers. Scammers know that tracking money sent via MoneyGram or Western Union is extremely difficult. Once you’ve wired the money, it’s almost impossible to get it back. Stay up-to-date on the latest scams via BBB’s Scam Stopper.
  6. Fight identity theft. Shred paper documents that include sensitive financial data and dispose of computers, cell phones and digital data safely. BBB offers tips and checklists on what to shred, and hosts annual Secure Your ID Day events nationwide to help you stay safe.
  7. Ask BBB for help. File a complaint with your BBB if you have a disagreement with a business or have been ripped off by a scammer.
  8. Create a budget and stick to it.  Setting a budget can help you stay afloat in 2013. BBB has advice on how to create a budget to help you get out of debt and stay out of debt at
  9. Fight fake check fraud.  Thanks to advances in printing technology, scammers have the ability to create professional-looking phony checks. Educate yourself on the common types of check fraud and be extremely wary of checks that come with claims that you’ve won the lottery, are eligible for a government grant or have landed a job as a secret shopper. These are almost always scams.
  10. Get everything in writing. Don’t just take a company’s word for it. Get every verbal agreement in writing to limit miscommunication and misunderstandings between what you expect and what the business delivers.

DSEF and the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) foster honest and responsive relationships between businesses and consumers—instilling consumer confidence and advancing a trustworthy marketplace for all.

About the Better Business Bureaus
As the leader in advancing marketplace trust, Better Business Bureau is an unbiased non-profit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Every year, more than 87 million consumers rely on BBB Business Reviews® and BBB Wise Giving Reports® to help them find trustworthy businesses and charities across North America. Visit for more information.

Why You Procrastinate

Why You Procrastinate

doubtProcrastination is a challenge we all have from time to time.  Perhaps there is a fear of failure, being overwhelmed by a complex project, or too many distractions in our daily lives. The good news is that there are several effective ways to combat this problem. If procrastination gets the better of you, ask yourself the following questions.

  • Are you settling for less? Procrastination may be caused by a lack of passion. If you are settling for less, then whatever it is that needs to be done feels unimportant, and the result is procrastination. So, make sure you understand why you want to achieve your goal and make it meaningful. Realize that action is required to reach what you want, and it is necessary to put forth your greatest effort each time to achieve success.
  • Do you have a clear goal or plan of action? Lack of direction is a common reason why people procrastinate, especially when tackling a long-term project. Set an objective that includes your desired outcome, and then break it down into smaller, manageable parts. If you need to redesign your company’s website, for instance, decide why it should be done and what will come of it. Your objective might be: Redesign the company website to improve customer navigation, increase internet visibility on search engines, and reach a broader customer base. Now that you have laid out the reasons why you are tackling such a project, you can more easily break it down and focus on just one step at a time.
  • Do you have a support system, such as a mentor, role model, or advisory group? When you are self-employed, it may seem like the weight of the world is on your shoulders since everything about the business depends on you. Don’t carry this burden alone. Instead, seek out others to guide and support you along the way. Is there a former employer you trust to give you sound advice? Are other local entrepreneurs interested in creating an informal support group for small business owners? You will be much more motivated to act when you surround yourself with like-minded people who truly want to help and support each other.
  • Have you set your priorities? The list of goals we want to achieve or tasks we want to accomplish can become so long that we don’t know where to begin. Start by prioritizing your goals or tasks in a way that works for you and your business. Some people find that a daily to-do list is the best way to stay focused. Each day contains a list of tasks that either must be completed or canwait until the next day. Implementing such a system will prevent important tasks from being overlooked.

Don’t beat yourself up for procrastinating; it is a common problem, especially in today’s world filled with distractions and personal obligations. Do make the choice, however, to be proactive. Procrastination can prevent you from achieving your goals, so take charge of your business and be passionate in the actions you take.

DSEF & BBB: Not All Customer Reviews & Review Sites Are Created Equal

DSEF & BBB: Not All Customer Reviews & Review Sites Are Created Equal

blue_with_website-225x30022By Myriam Cruz

Looking for pre-purchase advice, more and more consumers are turning to reviews for products and services. However, not all reviews are created equal and many consumers question their validity after several reports claim fake reviews are more common than expected.

An article by TIME Magazine highlights that while various review sites – such as YelpTripAdvisorExpedia and Google – are implementing steps to identify both positive and negative fake reviews, “the system is being manipulated…and that’s all negative for consumers who are using them to try and make smart choices.”

Aside from company staff and marketers, freelance writers are also paid for reviews praising a company, product or service. In one case, a Wall Street Journal reporter plugged the name of a reviewer into a search engine and discovered the “consumer” was a communications manager at the company whose product she was praising.

Are there any consequences for such misleading behavior, you might ask?

Considering similar situations misleading, theFederal Trade Commission (FTC) revised its Endorsement Guides in 2009 to reflect three basic truth-in-advertising principles:

  1. Endorsements must be truthful and not misleading.
  2.  If the advertiser doesn’t have proof that the endorser’s experience represents what consumers will achieve by using the product, the ad must clearly and conspicuously disclose the generally expected results in the depicted circumstances.
  3. If there is a connection between endorser and the marketer of the product that would affect how people evaluate the endorsement, it should be disclosed.

While FTC guidelines provide some protection from misleading customer review practices, they are only part of the solution. Consumers play a vital role when it comes to identifying and denouncing misleading practices.

As Better Business Bureau (BBB) joins the customer review industry, it provides guidelines to help identify real reviews from fake or paid praise. In the end, the best way to obtain information about a product or service is to become familiar with the review process and use review sites that have a user verification process, such as BBB’s email verification.

Do you think it’s worth looking at reviews before purchasing a product or service? Are you more likely to consider reviews for higher priced items?


DSEF and the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) foster honest and responsive relationships between businesses and consumers—instilling consumer confidence and advancing a trustworthy marketplace for all.

About the Better Business Bureaus
As the leader in advancing marketplace trust, Better Business Bureau is an unbiased non-profit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Every year, more than 87 million consumers rely on BBB Business Reviews® and BBB Wise Giving Reports® to help them find trustworthy businesses and charities across North America. Visit for more information.

7 Skills to Greatness

7 Skills to Greatness

We all have a vision of our ideal selves, a version that is hard-working, successful, inspirational, and fulfilled. You should always strive to achieve that level of greatness in both your professional and personal life, but it is also important to recognize and embrace your flaws. Only then will you truly become a realistic version of your ideal self. Here are some skills you can focus on to achieve greatness and make yourself proud.

  • Be punctual. For some people, this is an easy skill to master. However, if you’re one of those people who is perpetually ten minutes late, this is an important one for you to work on. Punctuality conveys a multi-faceted message to others; being on time shows that you respect other people’s time, that you take your commitments seriously, and that you are prepared and responsible enough to get where you need to be on schedule. Lateness, on the other hand, conveys exactly the opposite.  Even though you may not consciously mean to be disrespectful of others in any way, tardiness demonstrates a negative message. Find ways to make punctuality a top priority.
  • Be consistent. If you are consistent, it translates to others that you are dependable and can safely be relied upon to keep your word. This goes for everything from your adherence to company policies to your overall demeanor when interacting with team members and clients alike. People with whom you do business are more likely to trust you when you are predictable in the most positive way.
  • Be responsive. Whether you are listening to a customer’s complaint or a colleague’s concern, don’t throw on your poker face and make the other person wonder what you are thinking. Respond immediately, sincerely, and respectfully to the matter at hand. Demonstrate your desire to help others by addressing questions and comments promptly.
  • Be respectful no matter what. There is bound to be that rare occasion when someone acts in an unprofessional manner, perhaps by using inappropriate language or targeting you as the cause for dissatisfaction. Don’t worry about whether or not you are right; always act respectful even if you aren’t being shown the same courtesy. Later on, when cooler heads prevail, you will never have to worry about how you acted in the heat of the moment. Levelheadedness and decorum are never criticized.
  • Help others. There are several ways to help others while still running your business, such as performing community service, donating to local organizations, or becoming a mentor to a future business leader. Helping others is a great way to use your own success to give back to your community and its members. If you need assistance getting started, contact your local chamber of commerce, parent-teacher organization, or community college.
  • Be right as much as possible, but be okay when you’re wrong. With enough preparation, research, and knowledge of your industry, you will often be right. Equally as important, however, is accepting when you are wrong. Instead of trying to cover up your error or blame it on someone else, admit your mistake and act quickly to rectify the situation. No one expects you to be perfect, but you are expected to be honest and caring about your desire to satisfy your colleagues and customers.
  • Forgive yourself and others for mistakes. Just as you can’t expect to be perfect, don’t expect it in others. You should certainly expect professionalism and hard work, but forgive yourself and others when things don’t go as planned. Solve any problems that arise, identify how to prevent the same thing from happening again, and move forward.

If you are lucky enough to love what you do for a living, then make the commitment to master these skills. Not only will your business be more likely to thrive, but you will command the respect of those around you.

What qualities do you feel are evidence of greatness? Please share your ideas below!

Do You Have a Plan B … and Plan C?

Do You Have a Plan B … and Plan C?

by Judy Dahl

Small-business owners have to be ready for anything, be it a change in your personal financial situation or an outside trend that blows you out of the water. You have to forecast events as much as possible and have a plan B. Even more important, you should have a business model that gives you the flexibility to adapt when the unexpected happens.

Too many eggs in one basket

To my chagrin, I’ve learned this lesson the hard way—twice—in recent years. I don’t blame myself for not predicting the recession. If top-notch economists didn’t see it coming, how would I?

In 2008 my solo freelance writing/editing business was sailing along. The previous year, my fifth in business, had been my best ever. I was busy and confident, adding new clients, serving existing ones, and planning my growth strategy. Then, boom. Economic Armageddon.

Hmm, let’s see. When businesses take a financial hit, what’s their first step? Cutting discretionary spending, of course. Things like training, travel, and communications. Oh no.

I would have been OK if two clients hadn’t comprised nearly 75% of my business. About halfway through the year, one “revamped” its communications plan to send fewer, more targeted pieces. The other stopped using freelance writers altogether through year-end.

I belatedly started an aggressive search for new clients—marketing, networking, you name it—but most, if not all, businesses were in the same boat. Our family cut back spending—no easy task with a graduating high school senior about to head off for college and a high school junior who played (expensive) hockey.

After exhausting cash reserves, we turned to our credit card (we only have one, thankfully), our home equity line of credit, and even our overdraft protection accounts. That sentence bespeaks another article about the bad financial behavior one finds oneself indulging in when under stress. Why didn’t I call a nonprofit financial counselor and get a real plan in place? But I digress.

Fortunately, by mid-2009 both clients were better positioned financially and using my services again. At home we put in place a strict budget and dug out of the hole. But—lesson learned—don’t concentrate too much of your business with too few clients.

No benefits, no business

By 2011 it was again smooth sailing for my business. Then, without warning, my husband lost his longtime job and its sweet, sweet benefits. I was sure he’d get a new one very shortly, with his statewide and national connections and stellar work record. But that hasn’t been the case. Know anyone who wants to hire a good—strike that, GREAT—entomologist?

Anyway, as time passes I realize my business model doesn’t work long-term if we have to buy our own health insurance, especially with our two young-adult daughters still dependent on us for health care.

So, we pay $800 a month for catastrophic care, go to the doctor only in grave emergencies (knock on wood), and cut spending. Again. (No loading up the credit card, etc. this time, though. Ahem.)

And, I’m looking for a job with benefits. I’m excited about it, really. One reason I went into business was to be available to my daughters, and they live across the country now. The dogs (my interns) and I get a little lonely in the home office. And I miss having coworkers. I figure I can work fulltime and still keep the freelance business going—but only with my favorite clients.

Lesson learned again: Structure your business model so that if something out of your control changes, you have a way to stay solvent. So I had to learn the same lesson twice.

It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks, you know?

Judy Dahl is a small-business owner in Madison, Wis., who now has a Plan B, C, and D, and three accomplished canine interns. Also an entomologist husband and two New York daughters.


Six Ways to Build Momentum

Six Ways to Build Momentum

Have you ever taken on a project that seems so complicated you don’t even know where to begin? Once you do get into it, though, you often find yourself “in the zone” where you’ve built up so much productive momentum that you feel unstoppable. The creative juices are flowing and you’re accomplishing tasks left and right. This is a great feeling, but getting there can sometimes prove to be extremely difficult. Here are some suggestions to help you get to that point with built-up momentum and maximum productive potential.

  1. Put first things first. You may have several things to do, but tackling the most challenging task first can help you accomplish what you need to when you are freshest, starting your day. So make a list of what needs to be done, and then prioritize the list so that the most important tasks are the ones you do first. This can help you avoid distractions and help you get things done.
  2. Remember that you are in control. You are your own boss. Although that fact does come with its fair share of stress and responsibility, it also comes with the freedom to schedule your workday to accomplish your most important tasks. Maximize the benefits of being in control by delegating tasks to team members when possible. Ask for help when you need it, and take breaks when you are feeling too overwhelmed. Sometimes, just the thought of being in the driver’s seat of your business is enough to get you through a difficult project.
  3. Mute the negative thoughts and stay positive. You’ve no doubt heard about the power of positive self-talk. Not surprisingly, negative self-talk is just as powerful, so it’s important that you tune it out. Anytime you catch yourself having a negative thought, remember that it is only hindering your productivity, not helping it. Replace it with a positive thought or motivational message. Positivity goes a long way in building the momentum you need to accomplish your goals.
  4. Stay focused and avoid distractions. What types of things distract you from working on the task at hand? Is it the Facebook and Pinterest buttons on your toolbar that lure you away from the task at hand? Maybe you should hide the toolbar when working. Reward yourself with some “fun” time on your social networks when you’re done with your project. Distractions come in all shapes and sizes, so identify what distracts you and put yourself in a situation where they don’t get in your way. Remain focused on your desired endgame to maintain your momentum.
  5. Avoid negative people. Some people just default to negative behavior: constantly complaining, persistently blaming others, and always having a reason they don’t succeed. These people should not be in your immediate circle, and they certainly shouldn’t work for you, as they may bring down not only you but your team as well. Surround yourself with people who will be your cheerleaders and who are as goal-oriented as you are. You will be much better equipped to build your momentum with positive people around you.
  6. Keep a daily/weekly accomplishment tally. The busier our lives become, the harder it gets to remember what we actually accomplished by the end of the day or week. Keep some sort of tally or list to remind you what you completed and motivate you to continue. Such a record will also serve show you how much you are really accomplishing on a regular basis.

Building momentum is crucial to continuous goal accomplishment in your business. Have you used these strategies in the past? How have they helped you? What else should be added to our list? Please share your ideas in the comments section below!

Leadership that Motivates

Leadership that Motivates

For small business owners, leadership skills are often a required part of the job. You may have to lead a group of employees new to your business, become active in civic organizations and help with new projects, or even train other entrepreneurs in professional development situations. Whatever the situation, people will look to you for advice and motivation. Keep the following characteristics in mind when deciding what type of leader you want to be.

Effective leaders…

  • focus on making others successful. Instead of emphasizing the importance of your role, concentrate on how you can help make others successful. What tools can you offer? What past experiences can you pass on? For example, one of your newest sales reps has continually failed to meet his monthly goals. After a discussion with him, you find out that he meets with plenty of prospects, is an expert in the product and its benefits, and has great communication skills. However, he lacks the confidence he needs to actually close the deal and make the sale. Give him some tips on closing, offer to role-play with him as the customer, and prepare him for potential objections. Giving people what they need to succeed will demonstrate your competence as a leader and motivate them to do their best.
  • are deeply grateful. It’s important to show others how appreciative you are for their hard work and contributions to your business. Doing so not only helps you connect with your team/staff, but also motivates them to work harder because they know it will not go unnoticed by you. Always strive to maintain positive staff morale. The happier people are in their jobs, the more successful they will become.
  • have strong convictions. It is not necessary for you to preach about your philosophy on business to your employees, but everything you say and do should demonstrate your strong convictions. If you are someone who is committed to excellent customer service above all else, then you should lead by example. Train your staff to provide the level of service you deem essential, let them see you doing the same, and demonstrate how your high standards allow your business to succeed. Anyone who works with you should be able to identify what is important to you.
  • are very positive. People generally respond better to positivity than they do to negativity. Adopt and maintain a positive attitude, and strive to see the best in yourself, your staff, and your customers. Don’t hesitate to give someone a deserved pat on the back. Positive actions yield positive results, so don’t underestimate the power of optimism.
  • truly care about others. Sincerity is essential to effective leadership. Most people can sense and are turned off by false niceties or empty compliments. Recognize the value of others’ hard work and ask yourself how you can enrich their lives through your leadership. It can even be as simple as asking an employee what you can do to help when you notice she is having a rough day. When you show others that you truly care about them, they begin to truly care about you in return, and therefore are more motivated to achieve.

Leadership styles vary greatly from person to person, but adopting these qualities will maximize your ability to motivate others. What else do you think should be added to this list? Share your ideas in the comments section below!

How to Empower Yourself

How to Empower Yourself

There is so much in life that we can’t control, and you may sometimes feel powerless when things don’t go as planned. However, by learning to empower yourself, you can begin to have a more positive outlook on life and enable yourself to succeed. The following suggestions can help you feel more in control, and allow you to better enjoy both your professional and personal life.

  • Remember that your past failures don’t predict the future. Think of that big test you failed back in high school; did it prevent you from graduating? Did that time you knocked over the cone while parallel parking stop you from becoming a good driver? Past failures are nothing more than learning experiences. Instead of dwelling on them, figure out what you can actually learn from them. That test you failed probably taught you how to study more effectively for future tests, just as that parking incident helped you realize that you need to adjust your mirrors differently. Learn from your mistakes and move on. Empower yourself by taking control of your past to succeed in the future.
  • Lower the threshold for good things and raise it for bad things. Don’t make mountains out of molehills, but changing your perspective can show you what’s really important in life. This morning, for example, you woke up healthy and able to take on your day.  Realize what a great thing that is, and don’t take it for granted. On the other hand, remember that spilling your coffee on the way to work isn’t the worst thing that can happen; your house catching fire is more along the lines of something really bad happening that can change your life. Empower yourself by taking a moment to be grateful for all the positive things you have, big and small.
  • Eat healthier and exercise. A nutritionist wrote on her blog, “Note to self: when I eat badly, I feel badly.” This couldn’t be more true. Of course we all indulge once in awhile, but implement a healthy eating regimen if you don’t have one already.  Additionally, make sure you are getting at least 30 minutes of exercise 3 times a week. Do something you enjoy, like power walking, taking a kickboxing class to relieve stress, or play some Wii Fit in the privacy of your own home. The better you treat your body, the better you will feel.  Empower yourself by being as physically healthy as possible.
  • Make a list of everything good in your day. This is especially important when you’re feeling like everything is going wrong. For example, did your children wake up smiling and happy to see you? Great! Add it to the list. Did a customer express her satisfaction with your service today? Put it on that list. Empower yourself by recognizing and appreciating the positive.
  • Look for and expect something great each day. Every day will have something good in it, so be on the lookout for it. If you expect greatness in your life, you’ll find that it comes more easily because you will be open to recognizing it as it happens. Being a business owner is something most people don’t have the courage to undertake, so at the end of each day, if nothing else, take a minute to pat yourself on the back. You completed another day, achieving your dream and doing what you love. Empower yourself by developing an upbeat attitude and an optimistic point of view.

By making some adjustments to your mindset, you will feel more empowered to take on your world and reach your goals. How do you empower yourself on a daily basis? Please share your ideas below!

Tips for Making More Money in Your Business

Tips for Making More Money in Your Business

So you’ve established a successful business model, built up a loyal clientele, and have begun enjoying the fruits of your labor. Now it’s time to increase your profit.

It may seem difficult or sometimes impossible to increase your income stream as a small business owner or direct seller. However, making more money doesn’t always require spending more money. The following tips can help you make more money for your business.

  • Have a detailed plan, but be ready to adapt. Anything in your business that you want to change should be carefully planned, including dates, deadlines, numbers, etc. Be aware, however, that you can’t always anticipate every circumstance, so be ready and willing to adapt if necessary. For example, a business owner decides she wants to add more clients to her business in order to make more money. She plans for increased costs in advertising as well as increased demands on her time. Soon she realizes that adding more clients takes too much time away from her family, so she changes her plan to one that allows her to increase her fees for her existing clients by adding more valuable services instead. By being adaptable, she was able to achieve her goal and avoid burning out.
  • Be a creative problem solver. In what area is your business lacking that is preventing you from making more money? Think outside the box to solve problems creatively when answering this question. 
  • Persevere. Remember that old ketchup commercial that stated, “Good things come to those who wait”? This old idea has a great deal of truth in business. The road to success may have rough spots and roadblocks, and you may not see the results of your hard work right away. If you really want something, though, it’s worth staying the course. Perseverance is an admirable and valuable quality to cultivate in yourself.
  • Have mentors. No one succeeds without some level of help. Seek out mentors who have succeeded in their own businesses. Pick their brains for ideas you may not have thought of. Most people are happy to share their success stories with others and pay it forward. Mentors can be people you already know, other business owners you meet through networking, or even authors of published materials that are inspiring to you. Never stop learning from those who have already done what you’ve set out to achieve.
  • Stay lean with your budget. Be very careful and deliberate about how you spend money. As the owner of your business, you should be aware of every aspect of your cash flow. Without sacrificing service or value, find ways to decrease spending where possible. Buying used equipment instead of new, focusing on one marketing method at a time, and increasing use of free resources like social media are examples of how you can tighten your budget.
  • Believe in yourself. If you don’t think you can do it, then you won’t. Remember that more success requires more hard work, so make sure you’re up to the challenge. How badly do you want to achieve this? If it’s in your heart to succeed, you will always find the motivation to continue. Confide in people you trust to help boost your self-esteem and look at your previous accomplishments when facing self-doubt.

Your quest to increase your bottom line may be difficult and take many unexpected turns, but with a bit of preparation and self-confidence, you can achieve your business goals. What else do you think should be added to our list? Please share your ideas below!

What You Need to Grow a Business

What You Need to Grow a Business

Congratulations! You’ve done something significant: you’ve launched a business and are maintaining a certain degree of success. Since the initial startup period has long since passed, it may be time to start thinking about how to take your business to the next level. You might think that doing so may take just as much “blood, sweat, and tears” as starting up your business from scratch, but there are simple things you can do right away to grow your business and continue achieving your goals.

  • Prepare financially and be ready to grow. Expanding your business will most likely require some sort of financial investment, such as a new marketing plan or travel costs for attending conventions and networking events. It is just as important now that you plan for these added costs as it was when you started the business. Are you prepared to see a slow return on your investment? Will investing this money take away from other key elements of your business? Once you’ve prepared yourself financially, make sure you are in the right mindset. Business growth will likely put more demands on your time. How will that impact your existing customers and your family? Only you can answer those questions, so make sure you are okay with the answers before you take the leap into business growth.
  • Think big and outside the box. One of the most successful entrepreneurs of our time, Donald Trump, wrote that “as long as you are going to be thinking anyway, think big.” Why put limits on what you can accomplish? You may not achieve every single dream, but selling yourself short before you even begin only keeps you where you are. Look for ways to grow your business that have large-scale impact. Be creative and try coming up with something original. You can always dial it back later.
  • Increase marketing. Growth cannot happen without some level of increased marketing. Assess your current marketing plan by figuring out what specifically is working and what is not. Eliminate the weak points and expand on the strong ones. If there is an untapped customer base or a marketing method you haven’t tried yet, give it a shot. You won’t be able to grow without adding to your bottom line, and that can’t be done without attracting more customers. Research what options will give you the greatest return on your investment and proceed full steam ahead.
  • Diversify and expand your team. Your team should consist of people whose strengths complement yours and each other’s. When looking to add to your team or staff, seek out different types of people. For example, you’ll want people who are strong face-to-face sellers, others who have a head for numbers and projections, and still others who are creative and contribute originality. A team that can pool their strengths and work together toward a common goal has the potential to be unstoppable.
  • Listen to customers. Ask them for their feedback about a variety of topics, including what new products they’d like to see, how service can be improved, what made them come to you as opposed to a competitor, etc. Customer loyalty has a huge impact on the success of your business, so it makes sense to pick their brains about how you can improve and grow. They will also appreciate your interest in their opinions.

Your business growth potential is limited only by your imagination. Use your available resources, your own expertise, and feedback from your customers to begin a plan for expansion.

What else do you think should be added to our list? Please share your ideas in the comments section below!