The Small Business Economy

If you watch television, read the newspaper, or scan the Internet, you might think the Fortune 1000 is the backbone of our economy. But you would be wrong. The truth is that small businesses, generally defined as companies with 500 or fewer employees, employ half of the US workforce, or 120 million people. There are […]

Take Advantage of Your Strengths

I recently read an excellent article on the advantages of small businesses over big businesses, notably customer service, communications, speed, and flexibility. To understand why small businesses are stronger in these areas, let’s look at the disadvantages and weaknesses of being a larger company. The weaknesses of a large company. Big businesses tend to be […]

Driving Business Value

Most business owners eventually plan to either sell their business, transfer it to others, or go public. No matter which path they choose, they usually want to maximize the value of their business before they exit. (Of course they also want to minimize taxes, but that’s another story.) The question then, is what are the […]

Before You Open Your Restaurant

While appearing in a TV commercial for American Express in 2003, Chef Rocco DiSpirito said that 90% of restaurants fail within the first year. It turns out not to be true, but for some reason the number still keeps floating around.[1] While the failure rate for restaurants is not nearly this high, it is still […]

Exit Strategies for Small Business Owners

This article is intended for small business owners who may be considering an exit within the next 3-10 years. Although there are many variations, there are really only a few realistic exit strategies for most business owners. Most strategies only make sense for certain classes of business, so for any given business, even fewer options […]

Should You Bring In A Consultant To Help Develop Your Business Plan?

You’ve decided you need a business plan, but you’ve been struggling so much with it that you’re ready to drop the whole thing. Now may be the time to ask yourself: should you complete the plan by myself or should you hire a consultant? If you decide to hire a professional business plan consultant, what […]

The Pros and Cons of Forming a Board of Advisors

Entrepreneurs often ask me if they should form a Board of Advisors (or “Advisory Board”). My answer is always the same: it depends. Differences between a Board of Directors and a Board of Advisors The first thing you should understand is that there is a big difference between a Board of Directors and a Board […]

Due Diligence Checklist for Business Buyers and Investors

You’ve decided you want to either invest in or buy a privately held company. You’ve researched the company, the market, the management team, and their products. You’ve decided to make an offer. Are you sure? Here is a brief list of areas that every business buyer and investor should investigate before signing a deal. Your Financial […]

Twenty Questions to Ask Your Customers

Feedback from your customers can help you unlock the true potential of your business. Knowledge is power, and talking to your customers can help you gain essential knowledge about your markets and competition, maintain and defend your positioning within your industry, and spot new opportunities for growth. Best of all, the market research you gain becomes […]

Common Feasibility Study Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

A small startup that requires minimal capital is one thing, but any venture that involves large investments, multiple stakeholders or a long term commitment, requires a feasibility study. Not doing one in those circumstances could be considered malpractice.