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Small business owners are mobile, passionate, and sales driven



Small business trends

According to a recent Intuit Small Business Survey, small business owners are motivated by passion, are mobile and spend a great deal of time focused on sales. Working in a corporation or as part of a large team is a far different machine than a small business owner who frequently is not only the CEO but the sales person, business development manager, public relations specialist and accountant.

Why own a business?

The Intuit survey reveals that small business owners are mostly in the business because of passion (67 percent) with 21 percent noting it is a means to pay their bills, 8 percent are in between jobs, and 1 percent say it is because of the recession. Small businesses are often enthusiastic, passionate entrepreneurs that stand up to the odds against them and forge ahead with the notion they can change the world, and the Intuit survey reiterates that most business owners are still in this frame of mind despite a terrible economy.

How time is spent running a business

The top most time consuming task of small businesses is universally the conducting of business, averaging 14 hours out of every week, so a book store owner spends the most time tending to the store and a Realtor spends the largest portion of their time tending to transactions. Second, small business owners spend 6 hours each week on sales, both attracting and retaining clients. To be frank, many industries spend more time on this than anything in the current economic climate.

The average time spent on communications (phone, email, text) is 5 hours, while 3 hours are spent on accounting, 3 hours on web marketing, 2 hours on invoicing and getting paid, 2 hours on contact management, 2 on employee management, and 2 on other marketing activities. In total, sales, contact management, web marketing and other marketing add up to 13 hours, nearly the same time spent as actual operations.

Where businesses operate

Intuit reports that the average small business owner spends 21 hours managing their business on site and 12 hours on the go and 46 percent say they get their work done at the office or place of business with another 46 percent get their work done at their home office. Clients’ locations account for 3 percent while the car plays office for another 3 percent of business owners.

Fascinatingly, 1 percent say they are most likely to manage their business at an event, which likely accounts for traveling business owners and conference frequenters. The final 1 percent indicated none of these were their primary location for operating.

How technology is being used

It is no surprise that small business owners use their mobile device an average of 21 times every day to operate their business and nearly half indicate that it is “very important” to run their business via mobile device.

One in three rely on a laptop as their device of choice while 19 percent indicate their most used mobile device is an iPhone, 14 percent said an Android device, 10 percent said BlackBerry, and 11 percent said other. Interestingly, only 3 percent most use their tablet as a mobile tool for operating their business, and even more interesting is that 12 percent said they do not rely on a mobile device.

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  1. Chris Lengquist

    February 24, 2012 at 11:43 am

    It's probably easier to say that a passionate small business owner has a hard time defining his professional life from his personal life. Even when I go home I carry a camera. When selling real estate I carry a camera. When vacationing I carry a camera.

    I know tech guys that write apps for phones. Same thing. We sit watching basketball games having a beer and yet still coming up with app ideas.

    It's not work if it's fun. 🙂

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Business News

Keep your company’s operations lean by following these proven strategies

(BUSINESS) Keeping your operations lean means more than saving money, it means accomplishing more in less time.



keeping operations lean

The past two years have been challenging, not just economically, but also politically and socially as well. While it would be nice to think that things are looking up, in reality, the problems never end. Taking a minimalist approach to your business, AKA keeping it lean, can help you weather the future to be more successful.

Here are some tips to help you trim the fat without putting profits above people.

Automate processes

Artificial intelligence frees up human resources. AI can manage many routine elements of your business, giving your team time to focus on important tasks that can’t be delegated to machines. This challenges your top performers to function at higher levels, which can only benefit your business.

Consider remote working

Whether you rent or own your property, it’s expensive to keep an office open. As we learned in the pandemic, many jobs can be done just as effectively from home as the workplace. Going remote can save you money, even if you help your team outfit their home office for safety and efficiency.

In today’s world, many are opting to completely shutter office doors, but you may be able to save money by using less space or renting out some of your office space.

Review your systems to find the fat

As your business grows (or downsizes), your systems need to change to fit how you work. Are there places where you can save money? If you’re ordering more, you may be able to ask vendors for discounts. Look for ways to bring down costs.

Talk to your team about where their workflow suffers and find solutions. An annual review through your budget with an eye on saving money can help you find those wasted dollars.

Find the balance

Operating lean doesn’t mean just saving money. It can also mean that you look at your time when deciding to pay for services. The point is to be as efficient as possible with your resources and systems, while maintaining customer service and safety. When you operate in a lean way, it sets your business up for success.

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Business News

How to apply to be on a Board of Directors

(BUSINESS) What do you need to think about and explore if you want to apply for a Board of Directors? Here’s a quick rundown of what, why, and when.



board of directors

What does a Board of Directors do? Investopedia explains “A board of directors (B of D) is an elected group of individuals that represent shareholders. The board is a governing body that typically meets at regular intervals to set policies for corporate management and oversight. Every public company must have a board of directors. Some private and nonprofit organizations also have a board of directors.”

It is time to have a diverse representation of thoughts, values and insights from intelligently minded people that can give you the intel you need to move forward – as they don’t have quite the same vested interests as you.

We have become the nation that works like a machine. Day in and day out we are consumed by our work (and have easy access to it with our smartphones). We do volunteer and participate in extra-curricular activities, but it’s possible that many of us have never understood or considered joining a Board of Directors. There’s a new wave of Gen Xers and Millennials that have plenty of years of life and work experience + insights that this might be the time to resurrect (or invigorate) interest.

Harvard Business Review shared a great article about identifying the FIVE key areas you would want to consider growing your knowledge if you want to join a board:

1. Financial – You need to be able to speak in numbers.
2. Strategic – You want to be able to speak to how to be strategic even if you know the numbers.
3. Relational – This is where communication is key – understanding what you want to share with others and what they are sharing with you. This is very different than being on the Operational side of things.
4. Role – You must be able to be clear and add value in your time allotted – and know where you especially add value from your skills, experiences and strengths.
5. Cultural – You must contribute the feeling that Executives can come forward to seek advice even if things aren’t going well and create that culture of collaboration.

As Charlotte Valeur, a Danish-born former investment banker who has chaired three international companies and now leads the UK’s Institute of Directors, says, “We need to help new participants from under-represented groups to develop the confidence of working on boards and to come to know that” – while boardroom capital does take effort to build – “this is not rocket science.

NOW! The time is now for all of us to get involved in helping to create a brighter future for organizations and businesses that we care about (including if they are our own business – you may want to create a Board of Directors).

The Harvard Business Review gave great explanations of the need to diversify those that have been on the Boards to continue to strive to better represent our population as a whole. Are you ready to take on this challenge? We need you.

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Business News

Average age of successful startup founders is 45, but stop stereotyping

(BUSINESS) Our culture glorifies (yet condemns?) startup founders as rich 20-somethings in hoodies, but some are a totally different type.



startup founders average age is 45

There’s a common misconception that startups are riddled with semi-nerdy, 20-something white dudes who do nothing but sip Nitro Brews and walk around the open office showing off the hoodie they wore yesterday. It turns out that it’s extremely rare that startup offices resemble The Social Network.

However, the academic backdrop for the real social network story (AKA Harvard), produced statistics that will serve to put the aforementioned misconception to rest. According to the Harvard Business Review, the average age of people who founded the highest-growth startups is 45. Say what?! A full-fledged adult?!

In fact, aside from the age category of 60 and over, ages 29 and younger were the smallest group of founders that are responsible for heading the highest-growth startups. I guess you can accomplish a lot when you’re not riding around the office on a scooter all day.

The study also found that older entrepreneurs are more likely to succeed. The probability of extreme startup success rises with age, at least until the late 50s. It was found that work experience plays an important role.

Many will argue, “Well, what about someone like Steve Jobs?” You could easily argue right back that it took Jobs until the age of 52 to create Apple’s most profitable product – the iPhone.

The study continues to answer questions like, why do Venture Capitalist investors bet on young founders? This goes back to the misconception at the start, and there’s a notion that youth is the key for successful entrepreneurship. Wrong.

There is also the idea that younger entrepreneurs are likely working with less financial options, so it may be common for them to take something from a VC at a lower price. As a result, they could be viewed as more of a bargain than older founders.

“The next step for researchers is to explore what exactly explains the advantage of middle-aged founders,” writes Pierre Azoulay, et al. “For example, is it due to greater access to financial resources, deeper social networks, or certain forms of experience? In the meantime, it appears that advancing age is a powerful feature, not a bug, for starting the most successful firms.”

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