Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Good business ideas

"Is this a good business idea?"

It is a question we are often asked after discussing a business with a prospect.

The answer is often difficult, not because we want to avoid disappointing the prospect, but that we don't know whether it would work or not.

If a town does not have a certain type of business, does that mean there is not a big enough market for that business (and so it would not stay in business) or does it mean no one has tried it?

I would hazard there are people right now running successful businesses, who if they had brought me that very business idea, I would have recommended against it.

So if you are looking for me to peer into the future, I cannot.

What I can say is that the questions I ask, the issues I recommend you research and the items you have to discover on your own, will be ones whose answer will make your business more successful, and you more capable.

Many people try to learn a foreign language or a musical instrument; most fail. But if you ask me whether it is a good idea to try to do so - I can only give you insight into what it would be like, not what it will be for you.

If over the holiday(s), you get inspired or come up with an idea for a business, come on by and let's discuss it. You might discover that it is a good idea and one you want to pursue or that on investigation, it is not one you want to pursue.

Either way, have a nice Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Retailing Management, Spring 2010

I will be teaching at Oklahoma State University this Spring semester, Marketing 3613 Retailing Management. We will be discussing many different topics relevant to small business management and ownership. If you are a student at OSU, I recommend signing up. And if you are interested in auditing the class (taking it for no credit), let me know!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Car Wash

I was in Oklahoma City last week for a meeting, and in the underground parking garage I noticed two stalls had been converted to car wash stations. If you wanted you could pay to have them wash your car while you had it sitting in the garage and you were in the building.

Their stations looked to have a hose hooked into the fire sprinkler water system (the floors already have drainage.)

I have seen car washes and oil change at airport parking (Fine in Tulsa does this), but I had never seen it in a nondescript parking garage in downtown.

Shows there is always a way for a creative business idea to get started.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Getting Your Work Done

In the book, The Five Disfunctions of a Team, p148, the conversation turns on a VP who is always helping out however he can to the group, but in the process is not getting his responsibilities done.

The result is the president of the company saying, "I want all of you challenging each other about what you are doing, how you are spending your time and whether you are making enough progress."

As an entrepreneur, I know you have a bias for action: "get it done!" is your mantra. But it is important to be sure you are doing what you need to do, not what needs to be done.

This can be hard for someone who comes up from the ranks; a baker often finds it easier to bake than to manage the bakery.

Still, start your week or day or even hour(!) by asking yourself what is the most important thing to do, not the most urgent. Be sure your employees also recognize the difference. This will make you more productive and also allow you to release some of those duties you dread, but feel you have to do (or no one else will).