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100 Questions [the tenth 10] Arvada Small Business Owners Should Ask

by Dan Linn on Jan 14, 2016 12:45:25 PM

In case you missed them, here are the links for the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth set of questions.

This is the last post in a series of 10 designed to help small business owners come to grips with the challenges they face by asking critical questions of themselves.

As of today’s date, the most viewed post was #4, and the least viewed was #9.

I think good questions challenge your thinking.

They redefine the problem.

They challenge our most closely held assumptions.

They force us out of our traditional way of thinking.

They motivate us to learn more.

In ancient history, Jesus and Socrates used questions as teaching tools.

Lou Holtz said, “I never learn anything by talking. I only learn things when I ask questions.”

As we kick off 2016, here is the final set of 10 questions Arvada small business owners should ask;

  • What megatrends could make our business model obsolete?
  • What information is critical to our organization that we are ignoring?
  • What have we done to protect our business from our competitors?
  • What if the opposite were true of the rules and assumptions we have been operating under?
  • Do the decisions we make today help our customers and our planet?
  • Does our theory of human motivation fit our compensation plan for our employees?
  • How do we encourage employees to take control and act responsibly?
  • Who do we want our customers to become?
  • How can we stay inspired?
  • Who do I call if I don’t know what I’m doing?

What questions are you asking yourself about your business?

Comment below and share with others.

Are you looking for ways to grow your business in 2016?

Click here to download the Road Map to Unbound Growth.

Click here to download 100 questions Arvada Small Business Owners Should Ask.

100 Questions

 

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Topics: small business growth

100 Questions [the ninth 10] Arvada Small Business Owners Should Ask

by Dan Linn on Jan 7, 2016 9:00:00 AM

In case you missed them, here are the links for the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth set of questions.

A small business is defined broadly by the Small Business Administration as a company with 500 or fewer employees, but it varies by industry.

Every major company was once a small business.

Consider the start-up days for the founders of Microsoft and Apple, when both companies were operating in garages.

“You need a lot of passion for what you’re doing because it’s so hard.” Steve Jobs once said. “Without passion any rational person would give up.”

According to Balaji Viswanathan, product manager at a venture funded startup; “the 6 c’s that motivate entrepreneurs’ are change, challenge, creativity, curiosity, control and cash.”

Which of those factors motivated you to take on the responsibility and risk of being a CEO at a startup?

As we begin 2016, here are 10 more questions Arvada small business owners should ask;

  • How would our marketing and social media change if we brought it in-house?
  • When was the last time we ran an experiment?
  • How deeply have we researched our target audience?
  • Who are four people whose careers we’ve enhanced?
  • Where can we depart from conventional processes?
  • Do you, as a leader, bounce back quickly from setbacks?
  • Who do we think our customers want us to be?
  • What successful thing are we doing today that could hinder us in the future?
  • If we could go back in time five years, what decision would we make differently?
  • What one business rule would we most like to kill?

What questions are you asking yourself about your business?

Comment below and share with others.

Are you looking for ways to grow your business in 2016?

Click here to download the Road Map to Unbound Growth.

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Topics: small business growth

How Prototyping Can Help You Explore New Business Opportunities

by Dan Linn on Jan 5, 2016 9:00:00 AM

While today's methods of prototyping are quite sophisticated, in its simplest form, the concept of prototyping has arguably been around for as long as humans have existed.

Prototyping is all about failing early so you will not fail later.

Common Examples of Simple Prototyping

A prototype is an original or first model of something from which other forms are copied or developed.

A form of prototyping has been a tool in the hands of inventive, creative humans for centuries.

From the first moment our ancestors fashioned crude weapons for the hunt, prototyping was in play.

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Topics: small business growth

100 questions [the eighth 10] Arvada Small Business Owners Should Ask

by Dan Linn on Dec 30, 2015 9:00:00 AM

In case you missed them, here are the links for the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh set of questions.

My wife Debbe and I like pet dogs.

Currently, we consider ourselves blessed to be the owners of a white, male, miniature poodle whom we adopted from a rescue kennel and named Fitz-Willy.

Active, proud and smart, Debbe and I like him because of his mostly mild and loving personality.

His major fault? Patience.

An example is taking him in the car to visit the park where we take him for walks.

When we’re about a block away from the park, he gets so excited he starts to emit a loud, high pitched howl.

Joyce Meyer believes that “patience is not simply the ability to wait---it’s how we behave while we are waiting.”

Did you lose your patience this year as you came to grips with seemingly insurmountable problems in your business?

I did.

As 2015 comes to a close here are 10 more questions Arvada small business owners should ask;

  • Do your employees have the opportunity to do what they do best every day?
  • Is our business like a petri dish?
  • Do we have a good reason for saying “no” to our customers?
  • Have we tried reaching out to dormant customers?
  • Do you see more potential in people than they do in themselves?
  • Are you moving your company in the direction of better revenue or less expensive costs?
  • What is important about selling to customers who have credibility with their peers?
  • What has been done to increase the brand perception of your company as being ethical and honest?
  • To whom do you add value?
  • Why should customers listen to you?

What questions are you asking yourself about your business?

Comment below and share with others.

Are you looking for ways to grow your business in 2016?

Click here to download the Road Map to Unbound Growth. 

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Topics: small business growth

Three Suggestions for Small Businesses to Stay More Competitive

by Dan Linn on Dec 29, 2015 9:00:00 AM

The challenges facing small business owners today may feel like a tidal wave without any solutions, even if it's really based on a sense of perception.

Nevertheless, your own small business is probably starting to notice the intense competition of late.

No matter what business you're in, chances are someone else is doing the same thing and trying to differentiate themselves as to why they're better.

As you struggle to create a unique identity, you may notice you're not all that different with the larger businesses around you.

As Entrepreneur noted earlier this year, all businesses largely face the same challenges, regardless of business size.

With that in mind, you should realize that you and your competitors are all in this together.

What matters is how astute you are in scoping out your own biggest challenges.

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Topics: small business growth

100 Questions [the seventh 10] Arvada Small Business Owners Should Ask

by Dan Linn on Dec 23, 2015 9:00:00 AM

In case you missed them, here are the links for the first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth set of questions.

Growing up on a farm was an adventure every day.

In the winter, one of our favorite pass times was ice skating in the irrigation canal.

At the close of the irrigation season, there would always be 12-14 inches of water left in the canal, and when it froze it was pretty smooth.

Sometimes we would invite friends from town and have races.

Racing was fun, but you had to watch out for the thin spots in the ice.

If you broke through the ice, there was no danger of drowning, but losing your balance could make you fall and get hurt.

Running your own business is like ice skating. It requires skill and an ability to avoid the thin ice.

Franklin P. Jones is quoted as saying “it’s a strange world of language in which skating on thin ice can get you into hot water.”

Were you skating on thin ice this year?

As we close out 2015 here are 10 more questions Arvada small business should ask;

  •  What do we need to start doing?
  •  Whom, among your colleagues do you trust?
  •  As the owner of your business, are you satisfied with your current role?
  •  How much of your time do you keep unscheduled for reflection and assimilation of lessons learned  from experience?
  •  If your customer were your grandmother, would you tell her to buy what you are selling?
  •  If your company closed shop tomorrow, would anyone who doesn’t get a paycheck care?
  •  Would you rather invest in capital enhancements or people?
  •  Who are you going to put out of business and why?
  •  What happens at your company when people fail?
  •  How will you motivate your employees?

What questions are you asking yourself about your business?

Comment below and share with others.

Are you looking for ways to grow your business in 2016?

Click here to download the Road Map to Unbound Growth.

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Topics: small business growth

100 Questions [the sixth10] Arvada Small Business Owners Should Ask

by Dan Linn on Dec 17, 2015 9:00:00 AM

In case you missed them, here are the inks for the first, second, third, fourth and fifth set of questions.

Growing a garden is similar to growing a business, it takes lots of hard work and the process is fraught with pitfalls.

Plants, are like children, if you want them to thrive they require constant attention.

Weeds are the enemy. So are wild animals, bugs and diseases.

Weather is everything. Rain and sun are wonderful and frost and hail are terrifying.

Somehow through the process of nurturing your plants, you take the good with the bad and you learn to persevere.

Maya Angelou said, “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”  

As you review your year-end business metrics for 2015 here are 10 more questions small business owners in Arvada should ask;

  • How did we underestimate the customer’s journey?
  • How many of our current employees would leave for a 10% raise from our competitor?
  • How long will our key employees stay?
  • What did we miss in the interview for the worst hire we ever made?
  • Do we have the right people on the bus?
  • Do we promote and reward the employees who have a big impact on our business?
  • What is our biggest goal?
  • How is the way you as a business leader think and process information affecting your organizational culture?
  • Why don’t some of our customers like us?
  • How How can we become more high-tech but still be in touch with our customers?

What questions are you asking yourself about your business?

Comment below and share your thoughts with others.

Are you looking for ways to grow your business in 2016?

Click here to download the Road Map to Unbound Growth

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Topics: small business growth

100 Questions [the fifth 10] Arvada Small Business Owners Should Ask

by Dan Linn on Dec 9, 2015 9:00:00 AM

In case you missed it, here is the link to the fourth set of questions, the third, second, and first set of questions.

True Story.

“If you don’t stop teasing that goose he might come after you!”

My mom was scolding me from the porch of our farm house overlooking the animal pens that made up a large portion of our back yard.

It was a lazy summer day and I had found a way to entertain myself while my baby brother was taking his afternoon nap.

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Topics: small business growth

100 Questions [the fourth 10] Arvada Small Business Owners Should Ask

by Dan Linn on Dec 2, 2015 10:43:00 AM

In case you missed it, here's the link to the third set of questions, the second set of questions and the first set of questions.

The search for gold has brought prospectors to every corner of the earth, including Colorado.

The confluence of Clear Creek and Ralston Creek, in Arvada is the site of Colorado's first gold discovery, where on June 22, 1850, Lewis Ralston dipped his gold pan in a stream flowing into Clear Creek, and found almost $5 in gold.

According to Wikipedia, “Colorado gold production was 270,000 ounces in 1892; 660,000 ounces in 1895; peaked in 1900 at 1,400,000 ounces; and reached over one million ounces in 1916 for the last time.”

When things are going well in my business I tend to think of it as a gold mine.

When things aren’t going so well and I know I need to make some changes, I’m reminded of a quote from Ben Franklin, “when you’re finished changing, you’re finished.”

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Topics: small business growth

100 questions [the third 10] Arvada Small Business Owners Should Ask

by Dan Linn on Nov 24, 2015 9:00:00 AM

In case you missed it, here are the links for the second post and the first post.

When my wife Debbe and I started our business in February of 2001 we knew we wouldn’t get rich, but we were excited about the prospect of being our own boss and we were convinced that we would make it work because we had boundless energy and enthusiasm.

What could possibly go wrong?

That first year nearly ended in disaster when the Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda hijacked four airliners and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the United States on September 11, 2001.  

There are many factors that affect our economy.

Some of them are out of our control.

Some of them we can control.

As we prepare to close the books on 2015 here are the third set of questions for small businesses in Arvada to ask themselves;

  • How are we relevant?
  • Will we be relevant five years from now?
  • If we had lots of energy, what would we do differently?
  • What is it like to be my own boss?
  • What business achievement would we like to be known for?
  • Did we make some bad investments? 
  • What are the intangible assets that differentiate our company?
  • What’s the smallest change we made in 2015 that had the biggest impact?
  • How are our relationships with suppliers, distributors and vendors faring?
  • What is keeping us from making the changes we need to make to be more effective?

What questions are you asking yourself about your business?

Comment below and share your thoughts with others.

Are you looking for ways to grow your business in 2016?

Click here to download the Road Map to Unbound Growth.

Read More

Topics: small business growth