USA Today Passes Along Small Business Lessons To Live By

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USA Today’s Small Business Challenge is a welcome chance for three small businesses to receive a crash course in improvement, courtesy of the paper and the coaches it brings on board. It’s a valuable service for those three businesses, of course, but it’s also valuable for those of us reading about it.

So the latest piece in the ongoing series is instructive in seeing what these small businesses are learning. Through their examples, perhaps your business can find lessons worth applying. It won’t be all of them, but there’s likely to be at least one.

Take the wonderfully named Digital Eel Web Development, which sat down with Monster.com founder Jeff Taylor and learned much building up their credit to prepare for future expenses. Sometimes, the advantage of an outside set of eyes is not just the wisdom of having been there, but the ability to lift one’s eyes off the dashboard immediately in front of the business and see the train barreling toward them.

Taylor has more good advice about starting out, and the tendency to reach for people you know as you go on your initial hiring spree. Forgive the lengthy quote to follow, but this is remarkably sound thinking:

For the owner of a rapidly expanding firm, it can be tempting to bring on anybody who can meet the company’s immediate needs. But that’s a big mistake, says Taylor.

“Don’t say ‘it doesn’t really matter who I hire right now. I need help, so I’ll hire my cousin,'” he says.

specially early on, owners should focus on hiring someone who has the ability to grow with the company, and take on more responsibility as the firm expands.It’s not just employees who influence culture, but also the vendors you work with and the investors you deal with, adds Martin.

“If someone doesn’t share in your vision, it’s not a good fit for your company,” he says. “Don’t waste your time and energy trying to make that work.”

There’s a lot more in this piece, and I’d highly suggest you give it a read. Feel free to come back here and share your thoughts after.

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