with Simplicity Expert, A.Michelle Blakeley
In today’s fast-paced world, small business owners are even more hyper-connected and overloaded with information, choices, and distractions. One of the hardest things to determine is whether you’re on the right path or not. Great work requires taking risks. Couch Sessions offers practical information, new perspectives and quick tips to help point you in the right direction.
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Q: As a small business owner (27 employees, 2 businesses), the hardest thing to find has been a marketing firm that understands our business and delivers on their own pitch of goods sold. We are in the process of bringing full-time staff in-house for this very reason. I have tried 4 firms over 9 years, all of different types, all having learned a bit from the last one. I have successfully developed software, created and manufactured product; and built 2 small businesses simultaneously side by side, and the single task of procuring a helpful marketing firm has completely eluded me. Heather Wiese, bellinvito.com and nestdallas.com
Heather, actually employing someone to meet your needs is a prudent and wise decision. By doing so, I would imagine you have a better opportunity to clearly convey your vision and needs in a more conducive environment. The person is with you on a daily basis and can get the full experience of what it is your business is trying to achieve. Not to mention it may be more cost-effective. Although each situation is different, sometimes it’s better to hire an individual instead of a full-blown business to meet your needs. Be sure to ask for work samples, references and look at the whole person and what they can contribute to your business. Not everything is black and white and can found on a resume when it comes to hiring suitable talent.
Q: Working from home vs. investing in office space. How important is it for fledgling entrepreneurs to get out of the house when it comes to productivity and their businesses growth? Melissa Moriarty, http://www.azulina.com
Though I’m more concerned about your use of the term “fledgling,” working from home can be just as effective, efficient and productive as an outside office provided it is set-up properly. Working at home can sometimes cause a bit of “cabin fever.” A change in scenery and environment can provide needed impetus for creativity and inspiration; not to mention new opportunities for leads and prospects. In addition, meeting a colleague, client or friend for coffee or lunch can help keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in various areas of your life and business. I would consider making an appointment each week with one of the above. Also, use your time away from your home office (making your product) to work on the administrative and marketing side of your business, which requires equal attention.
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Couch Sessions is a weekly small business advice column designed to answer questions from struggling and/or simply inquisitive entrepreneurs. Micro Business Therapist™, A.Michelle Blakeley, is a small business professional with over two decades of experience in sustainable, holistic and progressive business practices who has successfully guided new and seasoned small business owners through the daily challenges of operating a small business with timely and transformative small business advice. She is featured in Forbes.com and the Financial Post as one of 30 Women Entrepreneurs to Follow on Twitter, contributor for the San Francisco Examiner and Women On Business; curator of the online magazine, Micro Business Therapy™ and was the host of Simple Truths for Women Entrepreneurs on BlogTalkRadio.com.