Doing business in uncertain times
Entrepreneurs starting out
The don’ts of starting a business
Women in business
Big tips for small business owners from Lori Greiner.
Investor and author Lori Greiner is passionate about helping businesses succeed, especially during tough times like these.
Lori lived up to her reputation as the “warm-blooded shark” from ABC’s Shark Tank during her recent Verizon Small Business Webinar, giving advice on:
Check out these highlights from the webinar.
Advice for businesses in uncertain times.
People are afraid right now because there’s a lot at stake and much to worry about—their own health, their families, their business and their finances. Lori’s advice is five-fold:
- Remember that fear is a mind-set. Don’t let your fears run away with you or they’ll cycle into more and more anxiety.
- Take action. Think about what you can do to fix the problem, then act. You’ll feel better right away because you’re doing something and it’s occupying your mind.
- Be ready to pivot. By constantly watching and analyzing, you’ll be able to shift your business if things aren't working. For example, if you don’t have a digital presence, work on developing a website.
- Network. Realize you’re in the same boat with others and lift yourself up with others’ help. Talk to other people about what's working for them, and get them to spread the word about you. Endorsing each other’s business on social media helps you all to succeed.
- Take some risk, give it a try. The only way to succeed is to try. You’ll get smarter, stronger and better. Lori says, “Take fear and say, ‘I can't do anything about what I can't control, but I can do everything about what I can control.’ And start doing that.”
Advice for entrepreneurs starting out.
Whether you’re starting a company or launching a product, you should be unique. The more unique you are, the more you stand out and the more people will come to you. So if you’re creating a product, make it different than others that are out there—either to serve a different function or improve an existing product or do something in a different way.
Then you’ll want to determine if your idea really is a good one. Do some simple market research—not among family and friends, because they won’t be objective, but just among “real people.” Go out in public with a prototype or sketch or questionnaire and ask people for a couple of minutes to give you their opinion. You can also put your idea out on social media to find out if it has appeal and if people think it’s smart.
Once you’ve got affirmation and are ready with your new thing, get your face out there. People want to know the face behind the brand or product, so put your face on the package and your story on your website. That makes you more memorable.
It's also very important to be authentic. People want to know that where they're buying from is credible and caring and will be there for them to respond if something goes wrong.
The don'ts of starting a business.
Of course, Lori also cites a number of things NOT to do. When you're just starting, don’t take on too many expenses:
- You don’t need to rent out an office; work out of your home.
- Don’t bring on too many employees. Instead, learn everything and do it yourself. Hire really good people who can do the job of two or three. On the other hand, if someone’s not in sync with you, don’t waste your time. Says Lori, “Hire slow, fire fast.”
- Don’t over-order inventory with nowhere to sell it. Bring in a little bit of inventory if you must, but do not load up on a warehouse full of stuff with nowhere for it to go.
You want to be efficient wherever you can. Stay lean and mean.
Advice for women in business.
- Lori believes that thinking of yourself as a woman in business can put you at a psychological disadvantage. You want to think of yourself as an equal, as good as, if not better than, anyone else. And be confident about it.
- At the same time, you can start using all the benefits that women can get right now, because, she says, “our time has come.” A lot of companies offer initiatives for women-owned businesses, where you can get a little leg up. You can also enlist the help of other women. Women want to support their peers in business.
- For women in male-dominated industries, Lori says that while it may be uncomfortable, you have to be strong. She says you can command a room and get respect by having dignity and speaking up for yourself. And if you can do it with humor, that’s a good way to ingratiate yourself with the people you work with.
If you want more tips and to learn more from Lori, follow her on her social media platforms.
Instagram @LoriGreinerShark (www.Instagram.com/lorigreinershark),
TikTok @LoriGreiner (https://www.tiktok.com/@lorigreiner),
Facebook @Lori.Greiner1 (https://www.facebook.com/Lori.Greiner1),
Twitter @LoriGreiner (https://twitter.com/LoriGreiner).
Or visit Lori’s website (www.Lorigreiner.com)
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