If you’ve been in business any length of time, no doubt you’ve had some tough days. Being a business owner can be exhausting. You might have even started thinking, “Why did I start this business?” But don’t go there yet. Help is on the way.
Melinda Emerson, “SmallBizLady,” America’s #1 Small Business Expert, answered some questions recently about how she has thrived in business for nearly 20 years.
Q: What are the top challenges people have in an existing business?
A: The top challenges in existing business are poor cash flow management, people issues, lack of processes, a nonexistent sales strategy, and no planning process. If you are constantly cash strapped that is very stressful. There are three kinds of people challenges: you need help and don't have any staff; you have the wrong people working for you; or you haven’t taken the time to train the people you have, which is why they are not performing the way you need them too. If you are walking around with everything about how your business runs in your head, your business can’t run without you, and you can’t delegate to employees. You must have an efficient way to generate and track sales in your business. And having a regular planning process is key so you can track your progress against your business goals.
Q: You’ve written a new book to help existing business owners titled "Fix Your Business, A 90-Day Plan to Get Your Life Back and Reduce Chaos in Your Business." This is quite a promise. Can businesses really turn things around in 90 days?
A: Yes! This book is designed to help readers create a turnaround plan for their businesses and get back control in 90-days. If a business owner actually implements the ideas, the money rules, develops processes, and a new strategic plan for their business, things will run a lot more smoothly. There are 12 chapters in the book based on the “12 Ps of Running a Successful Business.” Readers have two options for using the book, they can look at all 12 areas of their business, and tweak things as needed, or they can do a deep dive, and focus on the three biggest trouble areas in their business. If the reader keeps to the schedule and follows the action steps, change will happen in their business.
Q: What are the 12 Ps of Running a Successful Business?
A: The 12 Ps of Running a Small Business are fresh strategies to help business owners develop a business that works for them. Each chapter is based on the one of the 12 Ps: Preparation, Purpose, People, Profit, Process, Productivity, Performance, Product, Presence, Prospects, Planning, and Perseverance.
I want readers to prepare themselves for their businesses to be different, then I want them to examine their purpose for their business and reconnect and recommit to their “Why” story. Then, in the people chapter, I help readers examine their leadership, and create hiring and onboarding processes. The profit chapter is all about learning better money management skills and creating new profit strategies, and the process chapter is about documenting your signature processes. The productivity chapter is about getting the right technology tools in your business. The performance chapter is about what you should be measuring in your business. The product chapter helps you take a hard look at your current products and services. The presence chapter is about building your brand offline and online. The prospects chapter will help you develop a formal sales process. The planning chapter will help you develop a new strategic plan, and the perseverance chapter is about finding the strength to stay with your business for the long haul.
Q: You believe that developing a leadership mindset is key to turning around any business; Why is that?
A: 50% of all business problems are not so well hidden personal problems. You will need to lead your business differently in order for things to change. Being able to unite people to work as a team is probably the most important skill for a business owner. I lay this out in detail in Chapter 2: Purpose and Chapter 3: People of my new book Fix Your Business. I think that’s the most important message about Leadership is that it can be taught.
Q: How did you become SmallBizLady?
A: Back in 2008, when I first went to Twitter to sign up for an account, my name Melinda Emerson was taken. After I got over the initial shock, my publicist suggested that we come up with a nickname. We came up with SmallBizLady, which we now know was the best branding move ever. We launched my blog succeedasyourownboss.com, and the rest is history. These days, my brand reaches 3 million small business owners a week online.
Q: What personal qualities do you have that you think have made you a successful entrepreneur?
A: I am a successful entrepreneur because I have never believed I couldn't be successful. I use being nice as my secret weapon. I am constantly reading and learning to be a better leader. I am relentlessly consistent in my business habits. I delegate things I don’t do well or enjoy, and I have a team of mentors who I call for advice regularly. I also pray over my business regularly.
Q: When is Fix Your Business being released, and aren’t you going on a National Book Tour with SCORE this April?
A: The book is officially being released on March 6th, 2018. It will be available on Amazon, and we are kicking off the National Fix Your Business Book Tour on April 2, 2018, in partnership with SCORE chapters across the country. I’m excited to be going to 10 cities. We are starting in Philadelphia, PA, Washington, DC, Nashville, TN, Memphis, TN, Atlanta, GA, Miami, FL, Chicago, IL, Houston, TX, Los Angeles, CA, and San Francisco, CA. I am very excited. I’ll be giving away some free books and t-shirts at these events too.