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  • Aspire » Small Business Strategy

    04 Jul

    trainwreck

    Everyone starts their business with the intent to win…unfortunately many a well intentioned business owner gets derailed along the way and it all comes crashing down.  Sometimes the best way to succeed in the long run is to identify the issues…what’s driving you towards a potential train wreck and then focus on fixing those issues first. 

    To that end, I spent some quality time with my clients and Peer Group Advisory Board members and asked them what qualities or traits were required for long term success as a business owner…and inversely what qualities would guarantee a business train wreck in the long run. 

    That led to the following list.  It’s a pretty powerful collection and odds are you’re dealing with at least a couple of these issues to some degree…but as they say, the first step in solving a problem is admitting that you have one!

    Read More…

    05 Jun

    trapped2  photo by remuz

    It didn’t start out this way. 

    When you first started your business you had a dream, it was exciting…maybe even fun!  Sure there was a lot of hard work, but you can still remember the thrill of your first clients, cashing your first check and the quiet satisfaction of delivering on a job well done.  Unfortunately that seems like a long time ago.  Now you feel more like a caged animal…trapped by a business that demands all of your time and energy and doesn’t give much back in return.

    You’re not alone – according to a recent study, only 40% of small business owners took a vacation last year – some because of lack of money, but many of them because they can’t physically be away from their business for any length of time!  You’re past the point when running harder means you go farther and faster – now running faster only makes the wheel in the cage spin harder!

    Are you a slave to your business?  Here are some surefire ways to tell and more importantly what it takes to escape that slavery.

    Read More…

    03 May

    drinkcoffee  photo by chuckyeager

    I started Aspire 4 years ago, give or take a couple of days, and it’s been a fun, exhausting and enlightening ride so far.  Not only have I had a chance to learn a ton of great things through my own business efforts, but I’ve picked up a lot of amazing things from my clients as well.

    When I started Aspire, I didn’t realize I was ramping up my business a few months before the ‘Great Recession’ started, which has led to some really strong lessons as well (things like living within your means, slow and steady, bootstrap wherever possible, etc.).  It hasn’t been easy and certainly there have been plenty of stumbles and frustrations over the years but there’s also been steady growth and I’ve gained a lot of clarity with each lesson.

    As they say…”If I only knew then what I know now…!”.  Which brings me to the point of this post – I wanted to take a shot at sharing the most useful things I’ve learned over the last few years – hopefully they’ll be helpful to others…and if you’ve got some useful things that I haven’t learned yet, then share them in the comments!

    Read More…

    12 Apr

    patience  photo by looseends

    Do the right things and be patient. That is easier said than done. As most of us are painfully aware following the Kansas City Royals has been one of the most challenging tests of perseverance and patience in the history of professional sports. The 2011 season is young, but it appears Dayton Moore’s plan of doing the right things (developing young talent through the Farm System; the foundation of the franchise) and patiently waiting for the results is starting to payoff…stay tuned and read on.

    Approaching your business with the mind set of doing the right things and being patient is also easier said than done. If you are going to have sustainable long term success in your business you must build a strong foundation. Short cuts usually only yield short term results. And the process of building a strong foundation takes patience.

    Read More…

    13 Mar

      photo by icatus

    When you’re talking about overall business effectiveness, the first thing you have to figure out is where the bottleneck is within your business (side note – it’s really challenging to find a good picture to represent a bottleneck).

    Of course the bottleneck is the constriction / constraint in terms of your growth potential.  As an example, a lot of businesses have the issue of getting enough leads generated or getting interest in buying.  They have plenty of capacity in all other aspects of the business, so in this case, the bottleneck of the business is marketing.

    Of course using that example, it wouldn’t make any sense to invest time, money or resources into anything but better marketing…at least until you uncover the next bottleneck. 

    I thought it would be worthwhile to dig up a post I did a while back that has a pretty good model to talk through this idea – I call it the 8 Pillars Model and it’s a good way to think through your business.   What Pillars are holding you back?

    Can you identify the primary bottleneck in your business success right now?  When’s the last time you tried to identify where things were getting hung up?  I’d love to hear your thoughts – share them in the comments below.

    Shawn Kinkade  Kansas City Business Coach