Monthly Archives: June, 2016

9 (Real) Tips for Writing a Book – Part 1

June 27th, 2016 Posted by Business is ART 0 thoughts on “9 (Real) Tips for Writing a Book – Part 1”

Business is ARTWriting a Book – Each week I identify a different theme and provide you with content, some original and some from external sources, around that theme in two separate posts.

The first post represents my thoughts, experience, advice or questions on whatever the weekly theme is. Later in the week, a second post will expand on the theme and/or summarize and provide links to several articles and videos from other sources, providing additional information on the weekly theme.

The Proof is in the Pudding

1 year and 3 days ago, my publisher, Figure.1 Publishing, and I got our first look at the proofs for the cover to Business is ART. It may feel like this every time for all I know, but as a first time author, that day was really special. It might be a little like seeing an ultrasound image of your child. Not quite ready to be born, but you can make out the baby’s face and features.

That said, I thought now might be a good time to provide a few tips for anyone else considering writing a book – of any kind, not necessarily business.

It all begins with getting a mentor or advisor. I was fortunate enough that a couple of college professors mentored and advised me from early on. One of them was Professor Roy Lewicki of the Ohio State University, who subsequently provided a foreword for the book.

For those not so fortunate, I’m sharing some tips based on my own experience. That doesn’t make me an expert, mind you…just someone who learned a few things going down the road you too are considering. These are my opinions. I am sure every other author has many of his or her own.

Tips for Writing a Book

  1. Know what your book will be about. At least know the basic premise if not have an outline. Keep your outline simple. Chapter title and a one-paragraph description of what that chapter is about. “Business is ART – Articulate, Revise, Track” began as 1 slide in a presentation I used to give on strategic planning. Before I wrote the first words to the book, I created an outline and determined the average number of pages I wanted to be in each chapter.
  2. Know WHY you are writing the book. I wrote Business is ART for both external and internal reasons. Externally, I wanted to provide something that business owners and organizational leaders could actually use to improve their odds of success. Internally, I wanted to have something tangible that defines who I am as a consultant and that would provide a launch pad for the subsequent production of both training videos and software that would deliver the processes and templates described in the book. At no point did I think, feel or say, “I am going to write a best-selling business book that will make me a million bucks.”
  3. Build a platform in advance. Your platform is your audience – people who will potentially buy your book. I highly recommend Michael Hyatt’s book Platform to help you devise a strategy for building yours. Do this before you start writing but after you know what you are going to be writing about. I started building a platform too late in the game and would approach things much differently were I to start over.
  4. Determine how you will publish. There are multiple tips in this category. I’ll expand on them in Part 2 of this post, but for now consider if self-publishing, traditional publishing or hybrid publishing is the best route for you and your book. Along the way, determine if your book will be available in print and ebook or just ebook…but definitely plan for ebook. You can decide now or later if it will also be available in audio form.
  5. Set a budget. Don’t kid yourself – writing a book ain’t free. Determine how much you can and are willing to spend. It will impact your ultimate publishing route, as well as how you will design your book, illustrations and cover – not to mention editing.
  6. Throw pride out the window. The thing that worried me most about the process was the editing. Before it all began I asked my wife to help me to keep a clear head and if she heard me complaining about editors, remind me that they are there to help me. It isn’t belittling to be helped. Business is ART went through 5 levels of editing. The first two occurred before anything was handed in to my publisher. One was a self-edit and the other was a content review by a team of trusted peers who graciously volunteered to help out. That review in particular was extremely beneficial because not only did they make recommendations on content, they validated that what Business is ART was developing into was something of value. The next 3 levels were through the publisher and they included content and flow, grammar, syntax and structure and final proof editing. My wife never had to tell me to “simmer down” because I embraced the whole process from the start for what it was…help not hindrance.
  7. Let your freak flag fly! If you’re thinking, “I’d write a book but would be too embarrassed to let anyone read it,” stop. Either stop thinking about writing the book or set aside the notion of embarrassment. These two things cannot co-exist. And if you do decide to write, be yourself. You like humor? Add a little humor. You like darkness? Add a little darkness. You like religion? Add a little religion. When you write, especially fiction, you have to imagine yourself as the character and/or the reader. You have to have multiple personalities. But don’t lose your own in the process. Let your freak flag fly.
  8. Establish a timeline. “I plan to write a book someday” could be the last words you ever speak. Someday never comes unless you put yourself on a schedule. The creative process is a little hard to put start and stop times to, but create a deadline for various milestones (maybe a chapter). Set aside specific times to write. You might sit down at your scheduled time and walk away with great stuff or with nothing. But even the “nothingness” may inspire something later. Write any time the creativity and mood strikes, but minimally, sit down at your scheduled times with your allotted objectives.
  9. Stop talking, start doing. This is going to make it sound like it was a much faster process than it was, but essentially, I wrote Business is ART in 10 primary sittings. I pre-determined that I would sit down and draft one chapter with each sitting. And then I did. Now, there was a whole lot of research, thinking and discussion that occurred first, and in between chapters, but when it was time to write, I wrote. For me, the best approach is to just dump it all out in text and go back later to fix it. If I slow down to correct spelling, make adjustments, etc. I get lost in those details and forget to write the rest. Just let it flow out of you. You can always go back and improve it. But know this – it will never be perfect and you will never be finished – it will just be done. I could go back right now and make numerous changes to Business is ART. Maybe in the 10-year anniversary edition.

The Shameless Plug

No matter why you write your book, you want people to read it…right? So don’t forget to ask people to go get a copy. You can find Business is ART at Amazon or go to Barnes & Noble or order a personalized signed copy directly from me.

Please go get a copy. I thank you in advance of your purchase – and don’t forget to leave a review…preferably a good one!

7 Tips for Entrepreneurs

June 24th, 2016 Posted by Business is ART, Business Plan, Entrepreneur, Owner 0 thoughts on “7 Tips for Entrepreneurs”

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This week on the Business is ART podcast #37, our main topic of discussion was SEO. But as the conversation went, we also touched on several other points for business owners and entrepreneurs to think about .

Know Who You Are

My guests on BIA #37 own and operate a web development company in a rural Ohio town – Berry Digital Solutions. The work they do can literally be done from anywhere in the world for any business located any place in the world (where there is commerce and internet). Yet they choose to remain local and do business primarily with local customers.


The answer is quite simple. Because it is part of their mission to buy and support local. It is part of their company culture to meet with clients face-to-face, even in a technologically driven world that enables something else. In short, it is a component of their definition of success.

They know who they are and what they want to be. When you have determined or defined that, it becomes a very easy thing to do to say “no” when faced with business opportunities that just don’t feel as comfortable as you’d like.

Have an Online Presence

During the podcast, I gave an example of the small town baker with a shop on Main Street and asked why this baker needs an online presence. The response from my guests was staggering. At present, 90% of purchases are researched online prior to purchase. Think about that for a minute. 90% of what Americans buy is researched online prior to the purchase.

You don’t need to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars a year for an online presence, but when only 10% of purchases are made without any online research whatsoever and you don’t have an online presence, you have severely handicapped your business. Maybe not today, but at some point, it will come back to bite you.

Focus on the Thing You do Best

Diversified services help to keep you from being 100% dependent on one particular source of revenue but, especially for drawing attention to your business through an online presence, trying to feature everything you do only confuses the shopper.

Focus on your primary business or what you are really great at, then more casually mention or list your other services. But draw the bulk of the attention to your primary business. If that baker is known for donuts, the website shouldn’t go on and on about cake.

Keep it simple, “If you think our donuts are great, wait ’til you try our cake!”

Some Final Tips for Entrepreneurs

Listen to the podcast for more details, but here are a few more summary points to take away from it:

  • Pay attention to your website’s analytics (and act accordingly)
  • Go into business knowing it is hard work, not because being your own boss means you get to live on easy street
  • Have a passion for either what you do, or why you do it
  • Embrace the freedom that comes with business ownership

My book, Business is ART, is designed to help you get a firm grasp on who you are, what you want your business to be and how to lay out a plan to get there. It’s available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in both paperback and ebook form.

After you’ve read it, contact me and let me know what you think. Let’s start a dialogue.

5 Things You need to Know About SEO – Part 2

June 23rd, 2016 Posted by Business is ART, Digital Marketing 0 thoughts on “5 Things You need to Know About SEO – Part 2”

SEO DefinitionSEO – Each week I identify a different theme and provide you with content, some original and some from external sources, around that theme in two separate posts.

The first post represents my thoughts, experience, advice or questions on whatever the weekly theme is. Later in the week, a second post will summarize and provide links to several articles and videos from other sources, providing additional information on the weekly theme.

In Part 1 of this post, I shared some thoughts of my own about SEO. In Part 2, I summarize and share links to external sources with information and thoughts on SEO.

On Tuesday we recorded and released the Business is ART podcast #37 – SEO – on which my guests were Ryan Berry and Chris Anders of Berry Digital Solutions and where we had an informative discussion on the topic. You can listen to it on the TrueChat Network, or by downloading the TRUECHAT app.

What Others Are Saying About SEO

Search Engine Land –  All of this talk about SEO. Do you know what it REALLY is? This quick video does a nice job explaining in simple terms.

Inc. – Everyone has at least one tip for improving your SEO. Inc. offers TWELVE from some top SEO experts. Guess what is right at the top? “Create trust.” There’s a concept that seems oft forgotten in a world in which we are bombarded with digital ads and promotions and in which seemingly everyone is a self-proclaimed online expert in something.

Inc. – As if in response to the 1 in 12 tips that is “create trust,” Inc. also ran a piece entitled “Why SEO Can Be Viewed as Snake Oil.” Not entirely undeserved but perhaps equally a bit harsh. Like anything SEO has its abusers, but it also has its virtues.

Entrepreneur – How do you attract more visitors to your site? Entrepreneur offers a few ideas in this article. I’ve heard that on social media you should use a 20 to 1 ratio of “gives” versus “asks”. The advice in this article seems to follow a similar model without coming right out and saying it. But it offers some additional information I had not really previously considered.

Entrepreneur – I know enough about SEO to know I am not and never desire to be an expert in it. It’s just not my thing. But I recognize how important it is and so outsource this need to someone who is an expert. If you are in the same boat as I am, here are 10 questions to ask when hiring an SEO consultant.

Berry Digital SolutionsHow much should you spend on your website? Here are some thoughts from some people who do it for a living.

Take Action

Whatever your thoughts, expertise or needs are on SEO, one thing is certain – you need to pay attention to it. Whether that’s you or someone you hire…it needs attention.

5 Things You Need to Know About SEO – Part 1

June 20th, 2016 Posted by Business is ART, Delegate, Entrepreneur, Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “5 Things You Need to Know About SEO – Part 1”

SEO DefinitionSEO – Each week I identify a different theme and provide you with content, some original and some from external sources, around that theme in two separate posts.

The first post represents my thoughts, experience, advice or questions on whatever the weekly theme is. Later in the week, a second post will summarize and provide links to several articles and videos from other sources, providing additional information on the weekly theme.

Don’t Go SEO Alone

If the last year and a half has taught me anything it’s these 2 things. SEO is important to me and I don’t know what I am doing in terms of SEO.

With the release of a book, soon to be released online training videos, and a follow-up software that automates the processes and templates in both the book and the training, a key to success is how to attract people to the website and subsequently to the products and services I offer.

This had never been a part of my past business life in which the industries I served were dramatically different.

So I find myself continually learning, continually experimenting, continually writing and continually thinking about things like SEO. And while I think I have at least a pretty firm layman’s grasp on things to do to improve SEO, I am smart enough to know that I am not smart enough (or disciplined enough) to go it alone. I use consultants for it.

4 More Things to Know About SEO

Here are 4 more things you need to know:

  • If you don’t have a basic definition for what SEO is, look it up. You need to.
  • There are many ways to improve your SEO and thousands of articles that begin with a title something like this “10 Sure Steps to Improving SEO.” Check out a few.
  • SEO can be viewed a little like snake oil. If someone tries to sell you on the notion that they can ensure you will bubble to the top of a Google search based on their mastery of SEO, go talk to someone else – because they are full of it.
  • Study, study, study…but don’t forget to act. As mentioned, there are all kinds of advice on how to improve your SEO, some of which may not be good advice for you in particular. But none of it matters if you don’t give it a try.

Everyone’s an Expert, Few are Helpful

One of the things that drives me crazy about advice on SEO is that most articles and experts say one of the keys is to continually deliver valuable content. But therein lies the rub does it not? How do you know it is valuable content? If people come to your sight, does that mean it is valuable? If they don’t, does that mean it isn’t?

You can find tons of advice on ensuring your content is valuable, much of it free, some of it not. Three tips from me to you include: have a central theme (not random thoughts), test out samples on people that represent your target audience, and provide the content regularly.

5 Things to Avoid When Naming Your Business

June 16th, 2016 Posted by Business is ART, Entrepreneur 0 thoughts on “5 Things to Avoid When Naming Your Business”

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Naming a business is one of those things that sounds easy but, once you sit down to do it, quickly feels impossible. Like solving a Sudoku puzzle or trying to make sense of your health insurance policy.

Sure, some get lucky, and a brilliant name magically pops into their head. Others just settle for using some version of their own name.

But for the rest of the entrepreneurial world, they seek to craft a name that’s unique, yet familiar. Something that ties to what their business does without being overly blatant.

Or just something you think is really cute and clever.

While I can’t tell you what to name your business, I can give some advice on what to be cautious of.

Letting Someone Else Tell You What to Do

Getting feedback, ideas, and suggestions from a few trusted friends or employees is all well and good. One of them might even suggest a name that you love and run with.

But no matter what happens, it should be a name that you love.

You will likely use, say, and see your business name more than anyone else. It’s important that it’s a name you are confident about. That’s one reason why you should limit the amount of people you involve in naming the business.

Keep the process simplified.

Naming Clichés

Because there are now more startups, apps, and products popping up than ever, the naming market has become a little crammed. This has led to many entrepreneurs adding certain buzz-modifiers to their name. Things like adding “-ify”, “z”, or “-ly” to the end or “zen” to the beginning of another word.

Not only can this be tacky, but it makes it harder for people to distinguish your business from others when they all kind of sound the same.

Crazy/Complicated Spelling

Thanks to spellcheck and autocorrect, most people aren’t particularly great at spelling words these days. If you pick a word that’s difficult to spell correctly, even if it’s your own name, you could have potential customers struggling to find your business.

A great business name can be remembered easily and spelled efficiently while still remaining unique. I know, it’s not the easiest thing in the world.

Some advise against purposely misspelling a word to make it unique, though it’s something that can work in your favor. For example, Qwest (now Century Link) did quite well by simply choosing a phonetic spelling of a word that everyone knows.

It’s easy to tell someone “We’re Qwest with a ‘w’”.

Thinking It has to Be Forever

A business name is not a wedding vow. You are not tied to it until you and/or the business dies. While changing your business name down the road is a big ordeal that will probably cost some time, money, and effort, it’s not an impossibility.

Many famous businesses have successfully changed their names over the years. Some startups even change their name within a year or so of launching, quickly realizing the name they thought was brilliant wasn’t so great.

For example, there’s a company called Mistbox that creates smart devices designed to cool residential AC units with sprays of mist. When it first launched and successfully completed a Kickstarter campaign, it was called The Mister.

While the name makes sense, the company was quick to realize how difficult it would be to show up in searches for “mister”. So they changed to Mistbox, and the rest is history.

Settling for Less

That said, it’s best to get it right the first time around. Don’t take the first thing that comes along and decide, “that’s it” just because you don’t want to spend any more time on it. Try to get it right the first time. Take a little time. Once you get the name set, the rest of the business just takes care of itself, right?

Well, not exactly. But I can help with that. To learn more about the art of creating a business, checkout my book Business is Art, available now.

5 Hacks For Creating Your Secret Sauce – Part 2

June 15th, 2016 Posted by Engagement, Entrepreneur, Leadership, Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “5 Hacks For Creating Your Secret Sauce – Part 2”


Secret Sauce – Each week I identify a different theme and provide you with content, some original and some from external sources, around that theme. Beginning this week, I am breaking things in to two separate posts.

Part 1 represents my thoughts, experience, advice or questions on whatever the weekly theme is. Part 2 summarizes and provide links to several articles and videos from other sources, providing additional information on the weekly theme.

This Week’s Links

In both Part 1 of “Secret Sauce” and in this week’s Business is ART podcast (BIA#36 – Secret Sauce), I talk about 5 hacks for creating your own secret sauce. Please check out both of them. Meanwhile, here are links to some of the external articles I read in preparation for each.

Inc. – It often makes sense to outsource. But when does outsourcing go too far? It is estimated that by year 2020 well over 50% of the U.S. workforce will be freelancers, which is another way to say they are self-employed and/or work on a 1099 basis with clients. This entrepreneur is bucking that trend and says the secret sauce to his business is to hire permanent employees not contractors. Read why that may be the case for his business, even if it is a more expensive operating model.

Inc. – Neuroscience is any science that deals with the brain or central nervous system. Inc. currently has an article entitled This Neuroscience Hack Can Make You Unstoppable. It is a very interesting read that may cause you to rethink some thins and try a new approach.

Inc. What’s the secret sauce to product design in 2016? Inc. has that question covered and offers you 5 of the biggest trends that will drive product design this year.

Entrepreneur – Some may argue that corporations are where entrepreneurs go to die. Others ay argue that corporations give birth to entrepreneurs who become frustrated employees. There is a lot of truth to both arguments, but, they don’t have to be the only truths. Corporations can also foster entrepreneurial spirit from within, and the best do. Fostering an environment that promotes innovation is critical. Here, Entrepreneur offers 5 Key Ingredients to Corporate Innovation.

Entrepreneur – We do all we can to avoid them. We have well defined risk management plans. We train ourselves, and our employees, the best we can. We focus on the customer. And still, sometimes, there is no avoiding a crisis. Now what? How you respond can be the difference between business failure, business survival, and turning a disaster into a major gain. Here are 3 Key Steps for Crisis Communication.

5 Hacks for Creating Your Secret Sauce – Part 1

June 13th, 2016 Posted by Business is ART, Delegate, Entrepreneur 0 thoughts on “5 Hacks for Creating Your Secret Sauce – Part 1”

DifferentiatorSecret Sauce – Each week I identify a different theme and provide you with content, some original and some from external sources, around that theme. Beginning this week, I am breaking things in to two separate posts.

The first post represents my thoughts, experience, advice or questions on whatever the weekly theme is. Later in the week, a second post will summarize and provide links to several articles and videos from other sources, providing additional information on the weekly theme.

This week’s theme is “Secret Sauce”

Ah, yes. The old “Secret Sauce.” Most businesses claim to have some kind of secret sauce or another – that thing that makes them more successful, or better, than the competition.

If you’ve ever been to a chili contest, you know that every cook in the competition swears his or her chili is the best on the planet. The same is true for a BBQ contest. Everyone says their dry rub or (literal) sauce is the most special in the competition, practically guaranteeing that their brisket, pork or chicken will bring home the bacon, so to speak.

Define Success and Experiment

Like business is general, your secret sauce is more art than science, although there is a healthy dose of both involved. The right ingredient or flavor for one person is exactly the wrong one for another.

First, define what success means to you. Using the BBQ competition example, perhaps success is to win the overall competition. Perhaps it’s to win the prize for best ribs. Perhaps you don’t even care about trophies and ribbons – success is merely being there to compete at all. Whatever success means to you, define it.

Once you’ve defined it, you have to experiment a little and find out what “tastes” right for you. If it is right for you, chances are, you’ll find an audience for it. BBQ pit masters do not generally go in to a competition with an un-tested rub, sauce or technique and realistically expect the judges are going to go gaga over it. They test it out first.

5 More Hacks

  1. Have an outsourcing strategy. You can’t do everything nor can you count on others to do it all. Determine an outsourcing strategy that makes sense for you and your business. What kind of advantage does it give you? Whatever the advantage is, it should play to your definition of success. Note, a decision to outsource nothing at all is still an outsourcing strategy.
  1. Rethink the way you think. Science and research shows that simply thinking about things differently has a major impact on how you succeed and on happiness. Pardon the French, but I like to tell people “If you expect a shit sandwich for lunch, that’s exactly what you’ll get.” Again, forgiving the scatological trend here, another one is “He/she could find a single rat turd in a mountain of gold and be disappointed.” Thinking positively makes a real difference.
  1. Pay attention to trends. If you have a product and design it in a way that does not appeal to the customer, it may be the best at what it does, but no one will buy it. Know your market, know your customers, and know the trends they are paying attention to – then design accordingly.
  1. Stay entrepreneurial and foster an entrepreneurial environment. So often we find that entrepreneurs are serial entrepreneurs, starting up multiple businesses in a single lifetime or career. It is what keeps innovation alive and well. But the business owner needn’t be the only entrepreneur in the room. Establish an environment in which employee and stakeholders can act entrepreneurially as well.
  1. Have a crisis management and communication plan. No one and no business is infallible. It may be due to our own negligence or mis-calculation or it may be due to unforeseeable outside circumstances, but every business will face crisis at some point or points during its lifespan. How you respond to the crisis is what makes the difference – and that begins with knowing how you will communicate through a crisis.

Play to Your Strengths

June 9th, 2016 Posted by Behavior, Business is ART, Employment, Engagement, Leadership 0 thoughts on “Play to Your Strengths”

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“Play to Your Strengths” originally appeared in my personal blog, #Significance, on August 14, 2015. I am repeating it here because it is relative to this week’s Business is ART podcast on the TrueChat Network. Episode #35 is entitled “Who Are You” and in it I describe a process for purposefully evolving. In that process I discuss the importance of identifying your blindspots, but that it is your strengths that will carry you through.

“When you do the things you are strongest in, life is like running down hill. When you do the things you are weakest in, life is constantly hard and unnecessarily tiresome.”

Words of wisdom from a gentleman giving a presentation I had the pleasure of sitting in on yesterday.  He is a Human Resources (HR) professional and was discussing how his company assesses the strengths of candidate new hires before the interview process begins. The process they follow yields a 92% accuracy rate in ensuring the new hire fits the job and the job fits the new hire.

One end result is that the company doesn’t have to continually rotate employees around and in and out to get the right person in the right place at the right time, but perhaps more importantly, it helps ensure the employees feel good and become more engaged in what they are doing.

As he spoke, it reminded of a time many years ago that I was hired for a position that I felt certain was necessary for advancement to the next level, my true objective. I didn’t want to do this current job, it was just a necessary evil means to an end.

Not long after starting the new job, a similar assessment to the one described in yesterday’s presentation was rolled out. The results came back saying that I was not a good fit for my current position.  My immediate reaction was of anger and fear. The new boss didn’t know me very well, so there was good reason to have concern that she might look at this and say “the new guy has to go before he screws things up.”

Indeed, she did lean that way, but fortunately for me her boss made sure we took time to move me into a more appropriate role. At the end of it all, I actually moved into something more fitting and enjoyable, did well in it, and set myself up for the next promotion, but not before a lot of unnecessary angst. Had the assessment been conducted prior to hire, all of that could have been avoided.

The HR representative providing the presentation yesterday was obviously excited about his work, and rightfully so. He isn’t just providing a service to the company, he is providing a service to the individuals – helping to ensure that they too make the right choices for themselves that will lead to their personal and professional success.

Helping people play to their strengths makes their life better. You can apply this to any aspect of life.

7 Links on Liability

June 6th, 2016 Posted by Entrepreneur, Leadership 2 thoughts on “7 Links on Liability”

Risk ManagementLiability – Each week I identify a different theme of the week and provide you with content, some original and some from external sources, around that theme.

On episode #34 of the Business is ART podcast on the TrueChat Network we talked about liability and some of the things businesses can do to protect themselves from liability – before an incident occurs. In this post, we explore the subject a little further.

A Word on This Week’s Theme

Search around the internet for information on liability and most of what you find is provided on insurance company websites and blogs. The primary online sources I go to for information on a variety of business related topics are virtually dry when it comes to the topic.

Many online magazines have lots of information and takes on risk-taking, but in most cases, they are talking about taking business risks unrelated to liability – like, “Go ahead and launch that new product” type of risks. Very few that I found talk about the risk of liability (beyond data and security).

On #34 of the podcast, my guest was Scott Taylor who indeed works for an insurance company, but Scott offered several points with regard to liability protection (as opposed to insurance coverage), that are worth heading.

Among them are:

  • Incorporate
  • Have a safety plan
  • Keep buildings and facilities up-to-date in terms of maintenance
  • Train your employees (regularly/continuously)

Doing things like this will not only protect you against liability, but may reduce your liability insurance premium.

In terms of risk in the broader sense, make sure you have a risk management plan. A risk management plan needn’t be complicated. Envision a table in an Excel spreadsheet. Your plan can include as few as 4 columns:

  • The risk
  • The impact if the risk occurs (high, medium or low)
  • The likelihood the risk will occur (high, medium or low)
  • The strategy to mitigate against the risk from occurring or minimizing the impact if it does

I relied on some non-traditional sources for links to information around liability this week, but even if the source ultimately would like to sell something to you, the content is good information.

This Week’s Links

Linkis – Many are not aware that profit and non-profit businesses alike should consider liability insurance to cover any directors to the board, be it paid or unpaid. Anyone considering a board position should think about that before accepting. But when should businesses start thinking about it? Here is some insight.

Smart Business – Are you at risk for employee related claims? If you said “No”, you may be in denial about your liability risk. Find out more from this article at Smart Business.

Taylor Thomason Insurance – There are over 100 million lawsuits filed in the U.S each year. What are the latest trends in lawsuits affecting business? From employee and copyright infringement to customers and vendors, here is some of what’s going on.

Live Insurance News – Live insurance reports that cyber insurance premiums are declining as businesses become more and more savvy in protecting against data loss and breaches. But don’t let that lure you in to a false sense of security. You still need protection, especially if you store client data.

Business.comYou and your leadership team should be involved in liability prevention. explains why and how in a way that might go beyond the obvious.

Entrepreneur – Here, Entrepreneur offers some tips on protecting your business against risk. Follow these tips and use the risk management plan description I provided to start your own plan for managing risks.

Spark – Even non-profits have risk and liability. This post does a good job making the case for director and officer liability coverage for non profits.

Bootstrapping or Investors: Which is Best for Me?

June 3rd, 2016 Posted by Business is ART, Entrepreneur, Owner 1 thought on “Bootstrapping or Investors: Which is Best for Me?”

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If we all had rich relatives who were quick to give their money away, starting a business up would be relatively easy. For most of us, that’s not the case.

But if it takes money to make money, as the old saying goes, where do the funds for your business come from?

The two most common ways to fund a startup business are to A: bootstrap it or B: get investors.

To know what’s best for you, you need to understand the pros and cons of each.

Advantages of Bootstrapping

Bootstrapping is really just a fancy word for self-funding. Arguably the biggest advantage is that you retain full control of your business. No shares are sold. You owe nothing to anyone but yourself.

If the business doesn’t work out, sure, you’ll have lost your money, but you won’t lose someone else’s money with it, which is generally a good thing.

Many people who bootstrap also find themselves to be more focused. You don’t have excess capital, so you need to stay as lean as possible. Additionally, you don’t spend any time tracking down and dealing with investors, so you can stay 100% focused on your business.

The Downside of Bootstrapping

While bootstrapping can be easier to get going and comes with less risks, it has its limitations. Specifically, in the realm of cash-flow. If you’re the one funding your business, you’re limited by however much (or little) money you have.

If you take on more work to bring in more money to put towards your new business, that’s time taken away from doing actual work on the new business. Many find the balance of working on the old to fund the new to be a bit tricky.

By bringing on investors, you might be able to gain the funds needed to pursue your business 100%…

Advantages of Investors

Bringing on investors can bring in a much needed surge of finances that can be used to grow your business exponentially faster. Not only does it get you money, but investors can often bring additional connections, personal knowledge and other resources to the table.

Of course, investment money comes with its own price.

Disadvantages of Taking Investment Money

Investment money might appear to be free money at first, but make no mistake, that money comes with strings attached. What those strings are depends on the agreement you make with the investors. It could be shares or voting rights or a certain rate of return.

Regardless, once you take on an investor or two, the business and its success no longer belong to you entirely. And sooner or later, that investment money will run out. You now have a deadline by which you have to achieve success as defined by the investors.

It can be a lot of pressure added to your business, to say the least.

What About Both?

It’s not uncommon for a business to start by bootstrapping and eventually move to bringing on investors. In fact, it’s typically easier to find good investors if you have some semblance of a business started.

It’s also good for you because that generally means you’re bringing in some level of revenue, and the investment money is specifically to grow your business bigger, faster, rather than making it work in the first place.

What’s Best for My Business?

The best option for you depends on a number of factors, ranging from “how much money do you have for bootstrapping” to “what investor opportunities are theoretically available to you”.

Whatever route you go, you’ll need a plan. To learn more about the ART of business, check out my book or contact me directly. I’ve worked hands on with businesses in all different stages.

Plan Canvas is a community and a powerful software for improving your odds of business success and personal fulfillment.

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