Five Questions I pondered over the weekend about business

As I sit here on Friday afternoon I thought it would be helpful to compose a list of five questions that I think all business people might need to consider in their own business or in a business they might want to start.  Having given up the “umbilical cord” of employment over seven years ago I have made a lot of mistakes.  Most of them have been great learning opportunities and a few of them.

I do not profess to be an expert in anything, especially in starting a business.  The word expert is one that gives me a great deal of heartburn.  Most experts I know have never done much and they use the word loosely.

Anyway, let me get back to the questions on my mind.

1.  How can a mandate from the Federal Government regarding the purchase of any service or product be a good thing?  I seem to remember that Government was put into place to serve the people and not the opposite.  It appears that during the last decade or more that government, especially at the Federal level, has become an entity with a life of it’s own.  I suspect that the appetite of the federal government will not be satiated soon.  The greatest obesity problem in our country is not with our citizens, but it is really with the size of most of our government bodies.

2.  Who can small business trust to give appropriate advice?  One of the greatest challenges I have found in the 7 plus years I have run my own business include finding resources to support and help with the growth and management of my business.  It has become apparent to me that the best resource for small business is other small business owners.  Those who have run very large businesses have such dependence on scale that it is hard to bring that down to the small business mindset.  People often say that entrepreneurs have a hard time with growing business.  I also believe that big business has a hard time understanding the wants and needs of small business.  We live in a different world.

3.  What is the best way to find good people to work in your business?  We now have a team of 5 at Ryan Search & Consulting and every one of our staff members has come through a referral.  Considering that we help firms find key, strategic staff members it may sound like I am talking firms out of using our services.  To the contrary, we are successful because of the linkages we have and those we can build in the industries we work in.  Of course we use social media just like many firms, but the best candidates we have come from our connections and not always from social networks.

4.  Is technology the best way to communicate with potential clients?  No doubt that I spend time growing my presence in the social world.  What I also know is that I have to spend even more time in the real world meeting and talking with real people.  Social connections are handy, but good social connections lead to better personal connections.  Anyone who tells you that his or her network is all virtual is also prone to see you beachfront property in Arizona.  It just does not work that way.

5.  How can I best make my company one that others might want to acquire someday?  Not every entrepreneur goes into business with the sole design to sell the company to others some time in the future.  I do know people whose only goal in life is to build a company in order to exit, sell and make a tidy profit.  Then they start the whole process over again.  Those with a business idea need to take time to consider which camp they want to be in.  Depending upon your terminal strategy you will make different decisions in how you run and grow your firm.  Not everyone is looking for a method to make their firm salable.  If you are, find others who have done this and seek their advice.  If not, do the same with those who have run their own firm and loved keeping it afloat until they retire.  I suspect you will get much different stories from the former than the latter.

Five simple questions you need to consider with your business.  Don’t label me an expert because I can ask questions.  Just consider me someone who is learning through trial and error.  Reach out and comment if you have something to add.  I would love to hear your opinion.