#Smallbizchat LIVE is a monthly video chat where small business owners can get answers to their questions. The focus of #Smallbizchat LIVE is to end small business failure by helping participants succeed as your own boss. Please join us live every third Wednesday of the month from 8-9 pm ET Live on my SmallBizLady Facebook Page, YouTube Channel, and LIVE on Twitter.
Martin Harshberger is a small business consultant and business advisor. He worked for a Fortune 500 company for 15 years, doing turnarounds. He started a value-added logistics company in Memphis, TN. After 10 years, he sold his stock in the company and became a highly sought-after business consultant to small and medium-sized businesses. For more information www.martinharshberger.com
SmallBizLady: Why do most small businesses fail?
Martin Harshberger: There are many reasons for failure.
Aside from outright failure, many more businesses fail to thrive, meaning they never reach their full potential for many of the same reasons.
SmallBizlady: Why do most change initiatives or leadership development programs fail to add lasting value?
Martin Harshberger: Coaches and consultants usually offer a portion of what a business needs in their standard offering. Consultants address business or process issues, coaches address human factor issue. I’ve learned that it takes both skillsets to facilitate lasting change.
In addition, many if not most programs are event-type offerings such as strategic planning sessions or leadership development workshops.
Leadership development lasting a few days or weeks, and then the company goes back to the real world and nothing happens. Accountability and review must be part of the offering.
Compensation for change initiatives and strategy execution are also overlooked and overshadowed by day-to-day emphasis.
The strength of the people receiving training is not enough to overcome the inertia of organizational policies and procedures. Top management is not involved enough to make it happen
SmallBizLady: About 50% of businesses don’t have a documented strategy. Of those that do only about 10% execute that strategy. What’s missing?
Martin Harshberger: Some of the same items in change initiatives, review, and accountability being the primary issues. Management develops a strategy and tries to delegate
Execution with little ownership and oversight. The main problems I’ve witnessed are:
Elayne Fluker is the host of the Support is Sexy podcast featuring interviews with more than 500 diverse women entrepreneurs, and she is the founder of SiS.Academy — an online learning platform for Black Women entrepreneurs. She is also author of the new book, Get Over “I Got It” (HarperCollins Leadership) – which is coming out in May 2021. For more information www.sis.academy
SmallBizLady: Why do you think so many ambitious women struggle to ask for support?
Elayne Fluker: Too often in our society ambitious women are conditioned to believe that to prove themselves worthy of “having it all” that they have to do it all alone. This is perpetuated by platforms like social media where we get to see the highlight reel of each other’s lives. In this book, I want women to learn how to get over saying, “I Got It” in order to prove that they’re independent or they can handle their business on their own. And the book includes exercises at the end of each chapter that put readers on the path of asking for the support they deserve.
SmallBizLady: Can women really “have it all?”
Elayne Fluker: I believe we get to define our “all” as individuals. In the book I have an exercise on “defining your all” which helps you determine what really, really matters to you in your life today. From finances to health to relationships — you get to decide what matters and what doesn’t matter. I have learned over the years that if it matters, it should matter a lot, and if you decide that it doesn’t matter, then it shouldn’t matter at all. Define your “all” for yourself, not based on what anyone else says, and then it becomes easier to know where you can open yourself up to support.
SmallBizLady: How can we remind ourselves to stop and ask for support?
Elayne Fluker: I encourage ambitious women to remember my H.E.L.P. model when it comes to remembering to ask for support.
Having it all doesn’t mean doing it all alone. Be careful of doing it all yourself just to prove you can to someone else.
Ross Kimbarovsky founded and is the CEO at Crowdspring, where more than 220,000 experienced freelancers provide branding and design services. Before founding Crowdspring, Ross practiced law for 13 years as a successful trial attorney. He counseled and represented clients (from small internet startups to Fortune 100 companies) in complex disputes involving intellectual property in state and federal courts and before the World Intellectual Property Organization. Ross has founded several other startups, including Startup Foundry, Quickly Legal, and Respect. For more information www.crowdspring.com
SmallBizLady: The world’s most successful companies make great products. But a huge part of their value lies in their “brand.” What’s the most important thing a small business should understand about building a successful brand?
Ross Kimbarovsky: Many small business owners think their brand is defined solely by their logo. But, a brand is much more than a company’s logo. Your company’s brand is defined, in part, by its brand identity, which includes the company’s name, logo or symbol, design, brand voice, and everything visual about the company. But, a brand also includes the sum total of the experiences customers, social media followers, fans, and prospects have with your company. Your company’s reputation, the way products and services are advertised, and your company’s values are all part of your brand.
In fact, every decision your company makes and every action that it takes affects the brand. Leaving your brand identity and brand to chance will hurt you and your business. You must be proactive in creating a memorable brand identity and in building a strong brand.
SmallBizLady: How can small business owners create a successful brand strategy in order to improve their branding?
Ross Kimbarovsky: Start by fully defining your company’s vision, mission, and values. Once you’ve done that, articulate your brand positioning. Brand positioning explains how your company differentiates in the marketplace and how you are different from your competitors. Once you understand brand positioning, you must articulate your unique selling proposition.
SmallBizLady: How do you establish a company’s unique selling proposition or value proposition?
Ross Kimbarovsky: A company’s unique selling proposition (“USP”) is what your business stands for. For example, you could say that Apple’s USP is found in “user experience”: everything they do is meant to have the user at its core. Once you have defined your USP, it’s time to create your core brand identity assets. You’ll need a good business name, logo, website, and other visual elements that will reflect your brand.
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