from SCORE.org [ExpertAnswers] 8/13 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz 12/13
Entrepreneurs are Collectors. Entrepreneurs are the most devoted collectors. Only instead of baseball cards, they’re constantly on the lookout for ideas that will help them improve the quality, efficiency, & profitability of their businesses. Because there are so many facets to running a successful small business, it’s no surprise that good ideas are emerging all the time. Keeping track of them has been Michael Evans’ specialty during a Consulting career that has included serving world-class clients across a broad spectrum of industries. He shares some thoughts on some of the best new ideas for today’s current & aspiring business owners.
Q1. Are there some long-held Assumptions about small business success that are no longer true, or are as reliable as before? It was long assumed that mega-stores would wipe “Mom & Pop” businesses off the map. Strikingly, that trend has started to reverse itself. The recession of 2008 provided the catalyst for laid-off workers to create home-based businesses using a low-cost website to create & sell products & services. The Internet also gives them greater access to manufacturers & raw materials. Also, an explosion of new capital since 2008 has made it easier to get a loan (ie, SBA Loan)
Q2. You’ve noted that Crowd-Funding is gaining acceptance as a means for raising Capital, Should Startups & new businesses consider utilizing it? Crowd-funding is an exciting, and potentially significant form of financing for new businesses & product development. But it is too new and still subject to regulatory restrictions to be a significant source of capital for small company yet. Congress is currently considering bills that will loosen some of these restrictions. Eventually, Crowd-Funding (for example, #1 Kickstarter.com) will emerge from a fad to be an accepted method of funding, but only after other sources of capital tighten up.
Q3: So what other Financing Sources should a Startup or small business look to today? Due to a confluence of trends (e.g. slow economic growth, political) financing & capital is more available than ever, to promising startups & small businesses – SBA-backed lending has increased, bank capital requirements have been loosened to push cash into the economy, & interest rates will likely remain low through the 2014 elections In addition, the role of alternative lenders [Factoring, Credit Unions & Micro-lenders) has expanded.
Q4: Should every small business be focused on Growth, or are there advantages to remaining a “Small Giant”? Technological advances have created opportunities for smaller companies to effectively compete with larger companies, but businesses that embrace these technologies risk losing intimacy with their customers and a thorough understanding of their needs. Automated Email surveys of satisfaction with handling of calls to your service center, for example, is no substitute for human contact to understand how your company needs to better serve the customer.
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