How to keep your business productive during the summer

By Samantha Garner | June 17, 2017

small-business-productivity-summerIt’s nearly summer, and many of us are likely planning vacations and dreaming of beaches, barbecues, and breaks from email. However, what about your small business’ everyday tasks until then? Are you or your employees finding it hard to stay motivated and productive all day when the weather is made for relaxing?

Here are some tips to help keep your small business productive during the summer.

  • Set an example. As the owner of your business, you know that “do as I say, not as I do” doesn’t fly with your employees. Ensure that you and your senior management aren’t taking afternoons off to enjoy the weather, while expecting your employees to work late.
  • Take advantage of the downtime to handle behind-the-scenes work. If all your clients are on holidays, why not tackle that filing you’ve been putting off?
  • Your employees can take advantage of downtime too, with professional development courses or projects. The slower summer months are a great time for your business to invest in the skills and satisfaction of your employees.
  • Encourage your team to enjoy summer. We’re not saying to let them work half days all season, but don’t forget that happy employees are productive employees. Figure out how you can allow your employees enjoy their family vacations and summer plans while still meeting their work requirements.
  • Don’t deny yourself some sun. Along the same lines as the previous point, it’s important for the boss to be happy and productive too, especially if you’re a sole proprietor doing all the work (but keep point #1 in mind!).
  • Stay organized. Juggling all your employees’ and clients’ summer holiday schedules is possible – just stay on top of everything and plan accordingly.

Do you have any tips for staying focused in the summer? Let us know in the comments!

Topics: Small Business Tips and Advice | No Comments »

5 questions venture capitalists ask small businesses

By Samantha Garner | June 10, 2017

small-business-investor-pitchIf you’ve never developed or given a pitch to a venture capitalist before, you might not be sure what sorts of questions you should prepare for. When getting ready for your small business pitch, try to have answers ready for these five common questions:

  1. Explain to me what your business is all about (your company, what you do, why you’re so special – in the shortest possible amount of time).
  2. What will prevent others from doing what you’re doing – what’s your competitive advantage?
  3. What are you going to do with the money you raise– or how will the money you raise help you achieve your goals?
  4. What’s your marketing strategy– who’s your target market and why will they buy from you?
  5. What does your venture/management team look like?

Though these are five of the most likely questions, every investor will have his or her own set of questions for you. You can’t prepare for every question, but you’ll get so used to pitching your idea that you’ll be ready for anything.

Check out our tips for pitching to investors – and good luck!

Topics: GoForth Institute Small Business Training, Small Business Tips and Advice | No Comments »

About small business warranties

By Samantha Garner | June 3, 2017

product and service warrantyDo you know what you do if your customer isn’t completely satisfied with your product or service? Will you offer a full refund, partial refund, store credit, even no refund? You might want to consider a product and service warranty, which demonstrates that you’re company willing to stand behind what you sell.

About product and service warranties

The length of the warranty you offer will depend on your industry and your product. The particulars of the warranty will depend on the situation. Some components of the products you sell will come with warranties from the manufacturer. For service-related businesses, your warranty covers satisfaction with your work.

The product or service scope should be considered. Will the warranty you offer cover all products or just some? Same warranty terms or different? The market scope should also be considered. Should the same warranty be offered in all markets, or just some? This decision will rest on local laws.

Consider also what the customer must do or not do to keep the warranty valid. Who will honour the warranty — the manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer, or dealer? Customers aren’t often fond of mailing products back to the manufacturer, so who should be responsible for fixing a warranty claim?

Warranty claims involve a cost to your business, but you should consider the cost of not having a warranty at all. We recommend that you review your product or service warranty program with a lawyer or other professional. This way, you can get advice on the extent of risk your business is potentially carrying.

Topics: GoForth Institute Small Business Training | No Comments »

What is a competitive advantage?

By Samantha Garner | May 27, 2017

competitive advantageYour business has a competitive advantage when customers believe you offer clearly superior products and service from your competitors. Successful small business owners craft a competitive strategy, which considers how their business will compete against other businesses.

Why should you create a competitive advantage for your business?

Many small business owners will simply try to copy what’s succeeding already. But if you dig deeper, there are flaws in the logic — why would customers buy from you if you’re exactly the same as your competitors?

In your customer’s mind, at least they have some history with those businesses, so your competition is lower risk. With you, they may have no history. So, lower that risk by clearly communicating to your customer why you’re different.

Where competitive advantage comes from

Sources of competitive advantage in small business are based on price/value. Sure, larger businesses may be more capable of competing on price, but small businesses can add greater value, like superior customer service. Small businesses can respond to changing conditions quicker than larger businesses, making it easier for them to adapt to what customers want. Small businesses can also serve niche markets, or small markets with unsatisfied needs, where there are no other competitors.

What’s your small business’ competitive advantage? How do you clearly communicate that to the market?

Topics: Entrepreneurial Inspiration, Small Business Tips and Advice | No Comments »

GoForth partners with Atlantic Association of CBDCs

By Samantha Garner | May 20, 2017

GoForth is excited to welcome Atlantic Association of CBDCs to our over 100-strong partnership network! With 41 locations, the Atlantic Association of CBDCs helps entrepreneurs create their small businesses, and assists in the expansion and modernization of businesses throughout the Atlantic Region.

We can’t wait to begin working together to help entrepreneurs succeed. Find out more about this great organization here.

Topics: GoForth Institute News, GoForth Institute Small Business Training | No Comments »

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