Quick Tips

Quick Tips to Make You More Effective

The One Book Every Encore Entrepreneur Should Read

I'm sometimes asked, "If you were recommending just one book for a new business owner to read, what would it be?" My answer, without hesitation or qualification, is Michael Gerber's The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It.

The E-Myth is one book that every encore entrepreneur should read

This is a complete revision of Gerber's widely influential book The E-Myth published in 1986. The "E" in the title stands for "entrepreneur" The book's aim is to explode many prevailing myths about the entrepreneurial effort.

Gerber's book is not some theoretical, academic study of small business. Quite the contrary, it's highly practical on every page, getting into the nitty-gritty of small business realities. Gerber has applied the principles of his book to hundreds of small businesses, turning struggling enterprises into stellar performers.

In the opening chapters Gerber details the dynamic within the personality of small business owners which ends up trapping so many of them in frustration, exhaustion, and ultimate failure. Then, drawing on concepts from franchising, he details a blueprint for building a business which runs almost on autopilot, with unlimited opportunities for growth.

Ironically, to be such a profound piece of writing, this may well be the easiest business book to read that you will ever pick up. The style is crisp and simple. But don't let the simplicity deceive you. Every chapter provides insights that will completely transform your mindset.

Store Key Files Off-Site For Free; Access Them from Anywhere

If you regularly (or even occasionally) need to access files on your computer from some remote location, then you want to look at Google Drive. Google Drive is a free application which is accessed by using your Google or gmail login info.

After you have installed the application (which takes only a matter of seconds), it creates a folder called Google Drive on your computer. You can then drag and drop any file or folder on your computer to the Google Drive. Once you do, these files and folders are available from any device on the internet. You can also select specific files for sharing with others.

Here is how it works. The application automatically syncrhonizes documents in Google Drive with a password-protected storage area dedicated to you at Google. To access the documents, you log into http://drive.google.com from any internet-enabled device.

From within Google Drive you can use all of the services long associated with Google Docs.

Google Drive gives you five gigabytes of free storage. You can purchase additional space for a fee. But for most startups the free storage should be altogether sufficient.

Download Google Drive at tools.google.com/dlpage/drive.

Low-Cost Market Research

It goes without saying that no business can thrive without effective engagement of customers. This means knowing your market. Really knowing it. So why do so few small businesses do serious market research?

Small business owners are frequently so busy fighting fires that they don't believe that they have time for market research. Others think that they can't afford it. Still others don't see the point of spending the time and effort that market research requires.

As an article from the Knoxville New Sentinel in August 2013 put it, "Many small businesses don’t even consider market research as a to-do list item. Business owners often believe they have the answers themselves, or if they just work harder or more hours that good things will happen. However, it pays to work smarter, not harder — and conducting some market research is a terrific place to start."

The article then goes on to suggest cost-effective ways for small businesses to take advantage of market research. You can review the entire article here

Be Sure Your Web Site Looks Good on Tablets and Smart Phones

If you have a website or have one under development, don't ignore the importance of designing it to display attractively on tablets and smart phones.

The use of smart phones and tablets to review web pages is surging

Even though these devices can display conventional web pages, they often do so rather awkwardly. That's why it's important to program a website so that it displays well on any type of device.

You have to anticipate the day — probably sooner than you think — when as many people will access your website on tablets or smart phones as on conventional computers.

A recently published study of 500 million ecommerce transactions highlights this reality. Looking at data for the first quarter of 2013, it found that 21% of the traffic was from tablets and smart phones. This compares with only 2% a mere two years earlier.

At this rate of growth, optimizing your site for smart phones and tablets can no longer be ignored as a priority.

The Bottom Line Difference that Goals Can Make

Seeing that this tip is about setting goals, you're likely to dismiss it by saying, "Yeah, I know all about the importance of setting goals." But are you doing anything with what you know?

Dr. David Kohl, a professor small business management at Virginia Tech, recently noted that even with all that continues to be said about goal setting, most people — 80%, in fact — have no goals. Another 16% can tell you what their goals are, but they have never written them down. Only 4% of Americans have actually take the time to write down their goals and update them regularly.

And how does goal-setting affect the bottom line? According to Dr. Kohl those who have unwritten goals average three times the level of profits of those without goals. And the four percent who do in fact write down their goals and keep them updated do far better than that. Their profits are nine times more than those of people with no goals.

Pretty amazing statistics, right? So, where do you stand in writing out your goals and keeping them up to date?

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