Managing a Business

The Fresh Look

Back in the 1970s when I was a foreign correspondent living in Mexico City, I dealt frequently with an American diplomat who provided information about Mexico’s increasing oil exports, which were a big story back then. We had lunch about once a month. He became a friend. Then one day he told me he was...


Business Plan? But I’m not a Start-up!

Ask the owner of a small-to-medium company about a business plan. Expect the answer: “Business plan? but I’m not a start-up. Why would I want a business plan?” They don’t all answer that way, but too many do, and it’s a shame. The business planning process is such a great tool for growing a business,...


Displacement Really Matters

Displacement: In the real world of small business, everything you do is something else you can’t do. Understanding displacement is vital for business planning, vital for growing a business, vital for small and medium business in particular. Consider the picture here, marbles dropping into a full glass of water. The water comes splashing out of...


Winning Shelf Space In a Competitive Market

Good article over at StartupJournal with an entrepreneurial story about Vitamin Water. Interesting insight into what it takes to get retail shelf space when you’re just starting out. It turns out that it’s just guts and perseverance… If you’re an entrepreneur, you already have that.


Professional TV ads for small business?

Why do all cable TV ads for local businesses have to look like they were shot on a friend’s video camera with a budget of $10? Spot Runner doesn’t think it has to be this way. This interesting service offers a library of professional produced ads with professional voice-overs PLUS online media buying for a...


You still want meetings. Here’s how to make them useful. – Signal vs. Noise (by 37signals)

Great post over at Signal vs. Noise about making meetings useful. Especially in small businesses (where you don’t have the luxury of lots of employees, middle managers, etc, etc) making meetings useful is critical. Otherwise they become an increadible time waster and reduce productivity significantly. That said, I’ve worked in plenty of big businesses that...


Everyone’s a Critic

I’ve been doing some research lately on creating *good* PowerPoint presentations, particularly presentations for business plan pitches and also presentations to help teach business planning. What I’ve found is a lot of critics. Everyone knows what bad PowerPoint looks like. Everyone can point to a million bad presentations. From Seth Godin and his “really bad...


Bosses too busy for business planning

The article below highlights some interesting statistics from a recent UK study on business planning within existing companies. Not surprisingly, the majority say that they don’t have the time to plan while at the same time acknowledging that planning is critical to success. The million dollar question is this: How do you make planning a...


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