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Scaling a Small Business to Meet a Growing Demand: 9 Points to Cover

small business

Scaling a Small Business to Meet a Growing Demand: 9 Points to Cover

Starting a business is easier than ever, but making a business successful has never been easy. In addition to that, today’s focus on ecommerce can lead to a sharp increase in demand if your product gains enough attention or goes viral.

So, how do you keep up with that kind of demand? The key is to scale carefully in a calculated way to ensure your business is prepared. Here are some helpful tips to guide you in the right direction and away from some common pitfalls.

1. Make Sure You’re Ready for Growth

All it takes is one viral TikTok video or Instagram post to send a small business with an online presence from obscurity to ubiquity. The internet is fickle, but it doesn’t take much to step into online stardom — and it’s easy to get overwhelmed with new orders coming in from all around the world.

Business owners need to start by figuring out if they’re ready for growth. Is there a plan in place to scale things up, or will a slew of new orders leave the company scrambling? Don’t start pursuing growth unless the infrastructure to support that growth is already in place.

2. Identify and Address Barriers to Growth

With a plan in place, the next step is to identify any barriers that might prevent that growth. Are supply chains an issue that could create problems? This has been a growing problem throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and it may be a while before things start to get back to normal.

Are there legal barriers that might interfere with international markets? Are there barriers within the business itself, in the form of people or policies that might cause growth to stagnate? Take a close look at the ins and outs of the business before you start trying to edge into new markets.

3. Focus on Quality and Consistency

Good, Fast, Cheap. Pick two. Companies that create a good product fast can’t do so cheaply. Ones that create a cheap product fast can’t focus on quality. Speed is valuable in a world that values instant gratification so highly, but don’t compromise quality and consistency for speed when trying to keep up with demand. Focus on quality and consistency first, especially when trying to meet a new or growing demand.

Compromising quality in favor of speed is just going to chase away all the new customers when they realize they’re not getting the best you have to offer.

4. Take Advantage of Outside Expertise

Businesses may offer unique takes, new products, or previously unknown services. But when it comes to dealing with new growth, there’s always someone who has been there before. Don’t assume you know everything. This is where networking can become a valuable tool for companies facing challenges sorting through a sudden increase in demand.

Make friends in the industry and tap into their knowledge and experience. This is often the best source of information and can help small businesses navigate the uncharted waters of growth.

5. Make Sure Customers Know Who You Are

There is so much information on the internet at any given time that it’s nearly impossible to sort through all of it — and it is easy to get overwhelmed, especially for consumers working to research a new company before they start spending money. It’s important to set up a comprehensive “About Us” page to make it easy for new customers to understand what the company offers and what they’re all about. You know a good template when you see it.

It sounds simple, but it can have a massive impact on growth. The style and design of the About Us page can decide whether that impact is positive or negative.

6. Build a Great Team

A company is only as good as the people who hold it together. It’s up to the business owner to build a great team that works together well: one they can trust to get the job done.

Start by choosing experts in the field — business, manufacturing, marketing, etc. — and work with them to find the perfect balance. It sounds simple, but it’s anything but. Finding a team of people who both succeed in their respective fields and work well together is like finding the Holy Grail.

7. Look Forward, Not Back

Where a business has been before can teach a lot of valuable lessons. Learning from failures and reworking plans that didn’t work in the first place are useful tools to help ensure business success in the future. But lingering on the past will make sure a business stays there.

Don’t let the past hold you back. Instead, learn from it and look to the future. Focus on where the company is going rather than where it’s been.

8. Learn From the Competition

Nearly every industry is fiercely competitive, but that doesn’t mean new ventures can’t learn from those who came before, even if those other companies stand in direct competition.

Unless a business owner is blazing the way in an entirely new field, there is always someone who left footprints in the sand. Follow them. Figure out what they did to succeed and what didn’t work for them, and then use that information to plan your next move.

9. Don’t Stray Too Far From Your Values

The temptation is great when moving into larger markets or growing exponentially, to betray some of what made a small business appealing in the first place. Maybe that means treating employees poorly or straying too far from the values that were established when the company first opened its doors.

Don’t give in to that temptation. The values established as a company defines what it is, and maintaining that appearance is more important than any profit margin or sale.

Celebrate The Wins and Learn From the Failures

For a small business, going global or experiencing substantial growth can be an overwhelming proposition. But that intimidation shouldn’t scare away anyone savvy enough to start a business in the first place. Start by ensuring the company is ready for growth by going over all the little details and determining what might interfere. From there, simply take things one day at a time and be ready to adapt to any new challenges that arise.

The internet is a valuable tool for small businesses, but one viral video can shoot a company to previously unforeseen heights that they might not be ready for. Be careful and ready for anything. Learn from any failures and celebrate successes as they manifest.


What Is It Like Owning a Franchise?

Are you hoping to be a business owner one day? Do you want to take charge of your financial future by becoming an entrepreneur, working for yourself and not for others?

There are many ways of making your entrepreneurial dreams come true. In the 21st century, starting a business is more accessible than at any other point in history.

But not all business paths are created equal. Many require long, difficult journeys to get from idea to startup to the first dollar in the bank. Owning a franchise, on the other hand, offers a very clear path forward. With a franchise, you are leveraging the assets of an existing business to take a lot of the guesswork out.

It’s the fast track to entrepreneurial success and should be a top consideration when you begin your own journey. Keep reading to learn what running a franchise is actually like.

Franchise Business Definition

A franchise is another branch of an existing business. It’s when you buy the right to use a particular business’s name, trademarks, branding, knowledge, and products.

Rather than having to build your own brand, developing your own product or service, you can use someone else’s. For example, you can become one of the 38,000 people who own a Mcdonald’s franchise worldwide.

When you do this, you pay for the right to sell McDonald’s products, using their systems and processes, their equipment, and their brand. This may be a much better option than starting a brand new burger joint with no reputation.

When you do this, you have zero customers. You have to build a brand reputation and a following from scratch. While it can work, it takes a long time.

With a franchise, on the other hand, you are leveraging the brand built by others, often over decades. When you start a franchise, you have customers from day one.

Owning a Franchise

Starting a franchise is a great option for first-time business owners. As a franchisee, you are going to get a ton of help. The franchisor won’t leave you on your own.

In fact, they’ve built out an entire program that will guide you to success as a franchise owner. The company wants you to be successful. The more successful you are, the more successful the franchisor is, too.

You get to use systems and processes developed by the original company. That means processes for hiring and managing staff. It also means processes and procedures for everything serving customers to cleaning, opening the shop to accounting, and pretty much anything else.

As a franchise owner, you have the freedom to manage the business as you see fit. However, you are in effect operating someone else’s business. You own it, but you have to play by their rules. You serve their products, wearing their uniforms.

A portion of your revenue goes back to the parent company. But it’s a small price to pay for the priceless education you receive and the quick profits you can expect to make.

Starting a Franchise

To start a franchise, you’re going to need some capital. Starting a new location can be quite expensive, though you may only need a portion of that yourself.

The parent company may cover half or more of the startup costs on your behalf. Generally, you can expect to need between 25% and 40% of the total startup cost as a down payment.

On top of that, you may need to take a franchisee course before you are approved to own and operate a franchise. This can take some time but is always worth the effort.

Is a Franchise Right for You?

Many people have dreams of owning their own company, under their own brand, serving customers in their own way. It’s an extremely rewarding path to take, but it’s one that is long and difficult.

Starting a business from scratch is much easier when you already have experience managing a business. As a result, it’s often best to start your entrepreneurial career by starting a franchise.

It’s kind of like business school, but instead of walking away with a degree at the end of it, you have a fully functional, cash-flowing business that you can keep or sell.

It’s an education that actually pays you, rather than the other way around. Plus, after successfully owning and operating a franchise, you will be in a much better position to start your own company one day.

You may have the cash needed to start your business without a loan. Or, since you have experience running a business, you’ll be more qualified to get a loan or investment in your new endeavors.

So whether you eventually sell your franchise to another aspiring entrepreneur, or keep it and pay a manager to handle the operations for you, owning a franchise is a good idea for most would-be business owners.

Best Franchises to Consider

The best thing about owning a franchise is that there are so many options available. When people hear about franchising, most people think about a restaurant franchise.

That’s just one example. If you like the idea of working in the restaurant business, franchises are a solid option. But there is so much more opportunity available.

There are retail stores like 7-11 or Ace Hardware. There are hotel franchise organizations like Marriott. There are real estate offices, accounting services, fitness centers, salons, carpet cleaning services, and many other franchise examples.

Many franchises will require a large number of startup funds, as you’ll need to buy or rent a building and outfit it with all of the equipment necessary to run a brick-and-mortar location. However, there are service-based franchises you could start for far less upfront.

With a service-based franchise, you would only need a vehicle and some basic equipment. That means you have a much lower loan and can start meaning a profit much sooner than with brick and mortar franchises.

Check out this article for more information on affordable franchises to consider. After all, the lower your startup costs, the sooner you can actually get started and start building the life you dream of.

Leverage the Success of Others

Owning a franchise is a smart move. It makes business ownership much more attainable, and it makes success much more likely. It allows you to leverage the success of others while you build an asset that you own.

Looking for other articles like this? Visit our blog today to keep reading.


Things To Consider Before Starting a Logistics Business

Are you thinking of starting your own business? Then a transport and logistics business can be a good option because it’s booming at this moment and its growth is not going to come to a halt as people are now more inclined towards things being brought to them at their doorsteps without having to venture out and spend time in doing so. But there are certain things to consider before you finally get ready to start.

Build a customer base

It is seen that people start their business with little capital and solely rely on the revenue to be generated to cover all the incurring costs. In this way, they taste failure at a very early stage of their endeavor. The first and foremost thing to do would be to build a strong customer base by portraying the business plan as transport contacts don’t happen just from anywhere or at any time.

Consider the capital and the cost

Decide on the source of the capital you are thinking of to start the business. It may be from an investor. A bank loan can also be a good option. Considering investing money from your savings should be the last resort. Once the initial capital arrives, chalk out a budget that will cover expenses like maintenance cost, license cost, staff salaries, toll expenses, operating costs, etc. Marketing your business may be too early to think of but that will also involve a lot of money later. Besides, you will have to arrange for the security deposits for the vehicles (if you intend to take lease) you would be using. Insurance cost is another yearly expense to be kept in mind.

So, accurately managing the capital is the most crucial thing to do at the onset of your business. If you succeed in doing so, then you are sure to gain recognition as a reputed transport and logistics association in no time.

Buy the right vehicles

If you are thinking of buying a fleet of vehicles for the business, you should minutely go through the service plans and the warranty the vehicle company is willing to offer. Purchasing the right vehicles depends on two major factors –

a) The type of goods you would be transferring

b) The volume of the supplies the vehicles would be carrying

c) The area (or the distance) you want to cover initially while transporting the goods

d) The terrains your vehicles would be covering

There are other factors to look for before buying the vehicles, but summed up above are the most important ones. Once you have these things sorted out you can easily figure out how to run the business efficiently.

Get a proper training

As a newcomer in this business, you might lack confidence. So, you can get proper professional training carried out by various transport agencies. They will provide you with a certificate after the training process which will give you the much-needed qualification for the business.


Whether you are intending to start with a small van or a huge fleet of trucks, you might face tough competition from your fellow businessmen. Always look for ways to improve your business status. Keeping your customers satisfied should be your priority, not only in this business but in every business.

business coach

Eric Dalius Explains the Core Aspects of Business Coaching Programs

If you are managing a business, you would agree that leading a team is not easy. From dealing with various obstacles to developing innovative solutions, you need to take care of many things. Since it is not always possible to do that using the standard approach, you need to seek professional assistance wherever required. But, how do you do that? Well, that’s simple- you turn to experienced business coaches for entrepreneurs. As they have the expertise to handle complex tasks, they are one of the best options to go for.

Some of the Core Aspects of Business Coaching that Helped Eric DaliusNet worth Grow Higher Every Day-

Identification of the issues

One of the first areas you should focus on is identifying the issues you are facing. Irrespective of whether you are encountering financial difficulties, problems due to the lack of alignment, or other matters, you need to know what is wrong before you fix it. In some programs, this stage is “stop the bleeding.” It focuses on identifying the primary issues and taking steps to resolve them (to avoid more harm).

 Assess your strengths and weaknesses

When you have identified the problem, you need to assess your strengths and weaknesses. Here, you need to do that both in personal and professional aspects. Not only does this provide you with an accurate idea of your situation, but it will also ensure that you do not have to deal with additional issues. The only thing you need to focus on is to keep an open mind and ask a professional to guide you through the process.

A great coach will assist you in realizing your maximum capabilities. Abilities are critical, and far too many businessmen rest on their laurels, assuming that all is perfect. It is really essential to see where we really have to improve in our shortcomings, but a business coach can encourage you to focus on your strengths, which is how you’ll fill the holes and imperfections in your company.

 Cater to your customers

Undoubtedly, you need to strengthen your relationship with your customers if you wish to grow your business. This will happen when you create products/solutions that focus on their needs rather than yours. This is what will make you a problem-solver over a provider. The key to do that is to interact with your customer, listen to their needs, and create novel ways to engage them. The catch here is that you need to do it using other techniques rather than relying on your sales team.

 Focus on your relationships

Lastly, you need to focus on your relationships if you wish to witness your business grow. As it allows you to know the people around you, it is one of the best options to go for. Also, you should understand that focusing on relationships requires you to focus on your customers, employees, financers, owners, and other stakeholders. When you have a warm and professional relationship with them, you will likely perform better.

Communication that’s also transparent and relationships that are constantly learning provide knowledge about the necessary improvements. At the management level, it necessitates a sense of openness. The reason behind the ever-growing Eric Dalius net worth is effective communication throughout the organization.


It is a crucial aspect of business coaching. The person who seeks coaching is supposed to take responsibility for the results. It teaches them to take responsibility for their own decisions and the mistakes that result from them. Through the specific knowledge given within business coaching, it allows them to maintain an open head and heart critically. The coach encourages the candidates to come to generate ideas, which he then modifies with his own knowledge. Applicants are supposed to learn to accept criticism favorably and to become more responsible as a result of it.

Custom Strategies

The small company coach might be able to provide you with more individualized assistance as well as hands-on educational experiences. Any larger coaching companies offer getaways, tailored business plans, or even unique advertising and marketing campaigns. You might find a small business coach who is more like a motivational speaker or a silent business associate, depending on what you really want. It all comes down to your requirements and what you hope to gain from the partnership.

You get the opportunity to be immensely helpful to your company’s development through working with a business coach. You can approach the interested professionals if you’d like to recruit a business coach for entrepreneurship. You would not only help direct your employees in plan execution, but you’ll also help develop their morale and be the mentor in any business-building operation. Make sure you only consider hiring the best business coach with the experience and skills that your company requires.

seed funding

How to Raise Pre-Seed & Seed Funding: 5 Alternative Strategies

Want to learn how to raise seed funding for your startup? You’re in the right place.

For growth-focused startups, getting access to capital early means that you can scale faster.

The seed round is the first official stage of equity funding. That means that you can expect to give up some ownership, typically in equity or a convertible note, in exchange for capital. (Earlier pre-traction rounds are sometimes called “pre-seed” funding, and may consist of a “friends and family” round, or acorn round.)

But how can you raise seed funding, or even pre-seed funding?

Venture capital is an option, albeit a longshot. Research shows that less than one percent of startups get VC funding. Of that fraction, just 2.2% of funding went to Black founders, and only 2.7% went to female founders. Plus, this process of pitching to VCs often takes months or even years. For many founders, VC funding isn’t really a viable option.

At this early stage, it’s unlikely your startup will qualify for a bank loan. Banks typically look for 3+ years of business history before even considering extending credit.

So if you’re an ambitious founder who doesn’t fit the mold, how can you raise pre-seed or seed funding?

Fortunately, a new wave of seed funding sources is emerging, designed to be more accessible and more founder-friendly. Here are 5 alternative ways to get seed funding for your startup.


Republic leads the venture crowdfunding space. It’s a platform app that lets startups raise capital through crowdfunding from individual and institutional investors. Said more simply, it’s Kickstarter for startups.

This crowdfunded approach lets startups raise pre-seed and seed funding from a healthy network of enthusiastic investors, without needing to spend hours on pitch meetings.

Republic does require startups to go through a tough screening process; only around 5% of startups will be accepted. That said, they do offer a unique opportunity to get in front of a lot of different investors quickly, without needing to pitch each individually. It’s a tough but streamlined way to get seed funding for your startup. Learn more about how they evaluate startups here.

If you decide you want to apply, you can do so here.


Here at Chisos, we’re offering a brand-new way of investing in idea- and early-stage startups through a two-part approach we call a CISA. The CISA is a unique combination of equity and an income share agreement. Unlike other investment options, you can qualify for pre-seed and seed funding from Chisos even before you have a product or any revenue.

We’ve designed the CISA to be fair to founders. Here’s how:

-Repay the CISA with a percentage of your income, but only when that income is above $40K.

-When you repay the CISA, you’re also buying back some of the equity initially granted to Chisos.

-You have complete freedom to use the capital as you see fit.

-You’ll never pay more than 2x the original investment amount, adjusted for inflation.

We’re built on the idea that funding shouldn’t be limited to a tiny handful of founders. Instead, we’re on a mission to democratize entrepreneurship.

We’re writing checks of $15,000-50,000 to invest in idea-stage startups and side-hustle businesses. Want to see if you qualify for pre-seed or seed round funding?  Apply here.


If you’re planning to use seed funding to hire a team, why not skip a step and trade equity for expertise? That’s the thinking behind KnowCap. KnowCap connects companies to a team of startup experts that cover key functions, including marketing, sales, engineering, and strategy.

These experts work directly with founders to provide coaching, strategic guidance, and in many cases, actually creating value by building an MVP of the product, creating new brand identity, and setting up calls with potential customers. In exchange for access to this “knowledge capital,” founders grant KnowCap equity.

While it’s not pre-seed or seed funding in a traditional sense, it’s a great alternative to help founders build a strong foundation from which the company can grow.

Learn more about KnowCap here.

Zebras Unite

Zebras Unite is a startup co-op that’s built explicitly to serve founders that traditional VC overlooks and undervalues; namely, women and people of color. What started as a community has evolved into a source of capital.

You’ve probably heard startups described as “unicorns”; Zebras Unite is an intentional rejection of the unicorn model of success. (You can read more about this concept here.)

Zebras Unite is the place for founders who believe that business should support society, rather than define it. If you’re building a community-focused, mission-driven organization, you’ll probably feel right at home in the Zebras Unite ecosystem.

To be considered for funding, join the Zebras Unite online community.

State & Federal Startup Grants

There is a bevy of grants for early-stage startups and small businesses. Unlike most other seed funding sources, grants don’t require you to give up equity or pay the money back.

Startup grant programs typically focus on serving otherwise underserved groups, such as minorities, veterans, people from rural communities, and non-profits. They also typically focus on advancing specific sectors, like education, technology, and healthcare.

Unfortunately, there’s no central database that covers all available grant opportunities, so you’ll need to spend time researching if you pursue this path. Here’s a list of a few good places to start, including:


So that’s it! Now you know 5 new ways to raise seed funding for your startup.


William Stringer is the Co-Founder and CEO of Chisos Capital, a company that invests in ideas, and the founders with potential to bring them to life. Through our proprietary investment approach, the CISA, we write checks to idea- and early-stage entrepreneurs. Inspired by the desert oasis of the Chisos mountains, Chisos Capital seeks to democratize opportunity.


Common E-commerce Mistakes to Avoid: How Many Are You Making?

E-commerce is a truly amazing idea. You can market your product to thousands of customers without the marketing budget of a multinational company, take orders, and deliver them all at the same platform.

With the COVID-19 pandemic locking people up in their homes, online shopping has become the new norm, making e-commerce almost a necessity for most modern businesses.

While the possibilities are endless, it’s easy for things to go wrong with e-commerce if you don’t keep a few basic points in mind. If you’re wondering why your online business hasn’t achieved the growth it should have had, here are some common mistakes you might be making.

1. You have insufficient information on your store.

While everyone includes basic information like product descriptions and pricing, it’s easy to neglect the pages you think are unimportant.

One page people tend to neglect is the “About Us” page. You might think buyers aren’t interested in reading about you but you’re wrong. Buyers are curious about the person or company they’re buying from, especially if you’re just starting out and not big yet.

A well-written about us page helps you connect with your customers by sharing your personal story with them, which builds trust and credibility. At the end of the day, less buyers are going to bounce off your store.

At other times, e-commerce stores fail to clearly outline sales terms and conditions, leaving users confused about their refund and exchange policy. This can turn away a good number of buyers (no one likes taking risks with their money!), so make sure to include this information in clear terms in your store. A good online business lawyer can help you in this regard.

2. Your store is not designed for phones.

Mobile phones are a major medium people use to shop online. You could have the most amazing store, but if it’s not optimized for mobile phones, you’ve lost a lot of customers in an instant.

Open your store on your mobile browser, and see if it runs as smoothly as it does on a desktop. If it’s displayed incorrectly, lags, or is not very responsive, it means you need to have a conversation with your software team!

3. You haven’t researched the market.

This mistake can be made with any business, but it’s particularly easy to make with online businesses because they’re so easy to set up.

You can have full confidence in your product, but your business won’t flourish if no one wants your product. So it’s extremely important to find out the demand your product has before launching a store.

Another common mistake people make is failing to niche down. You should clearly define your niche, and then aim to engage your target audience. If you don’t niche down, you won’t be targeting a specific audience. You’ll basically be shooting in the dark.

4. You’ve neglected SEO.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is what makes your store visible on the internet. When you type “best pencil holders” in Google, you see a list of websites. Those websites aren’t ranked randomly but by how well they’re optimized for search engines.

Every piece of text that you put onto your store (from product descriptions to the About Us page) is an opportunity to make use of the right keywords and improve your SEO. Many e-commerce owners neglect the content they put on their website when it’s one of the most powerful tools to drive the right kind of customers to their store.

But SEO is not just about content. As competition between websites is increasing, SEO is getting more and more complex with constantly evolving on-page and off-page SEO best practices.

So it’s unlikely you’ll be able to tackle your store’s SEO by yourself. If you’re a startup, consider working with a budget-friendly SEO agency to take your store to the next level!

5. You’re not loud enough.

You can have the most amazing e-commerce store out there but it’s going to be useless if people don’t know about it.

You need to make use of all marketing platforms available to you to promote your website. Creating a brand identity and a story that people can relate with help in website promotion, so it’s a good idea to work on those aspects of your store as well.

Placing ads on social media platforms, collaborating with influencers and YouTubers, and making the right use of SEO content are some ways to promote your website. Many more ideas exist, and no one idea alone can turn things around for your store.

If you’d like to take all the ideas and turn them into an effective marketing strategy, your best bet is to work with a good digital marketer who can help you scream out as loud as possible!

6. You’re failing to close the deal.

The checkout process is the most important part of your store when it comes to closing the deal. If it’s too cumbersome, there’s a very good chance your customer will abandon the cart.

Your goal should be to make your checkout process as smooth as possible. You can do this by ensuring good page load speeds and a clean, intuitive user interface. At this point in the buying process, you should keep things minimal and avoid distracting the customer with offers, promotions, and advertisements.

It’s also helpful to keep the information required for making the purchase minimum — today’s internet users crave instant gratification and too much typing while shopping online annoys them.

Finally, try to offer as many payment options as you can. Nothing breaks the heart of an e-commerce customer like the unavailability of their preferred payment option, which sometimes is the only option they really have!



Risk is an inherent part of any trade and logistics business, big or small. How you handle risks and the decisions surrounding them can make or break your venture.

No matter how experienced you are as an entrepreneur or a small business owner, taking risks is one thing that can always trip you up. However, without taking them, your trade or logistics business will never have the opportunity to really grow and flourish in the direction that it needs to. The key is to weigh up the risk versus the potential gains and to make your decisions based on these facts.

It’s also important to remember that there is a fine line between taking an unnecessary risk and making a bold decision. The one will see you in trouble, and the other will be applauded as a stroke of genius for going that route. As the business owner, it’s your job to work out if a decision is good or bad. In other words, is taking a chance worth the risk?


Taking risks is all part of the job description of being a business owner, especially in the startup world and trade and logistics industry. You have to use your reputation and often your own money to get your venture off the ground. This in itself is a risk. You need to prepare to put yourself out there and go for the bold choice if you want to reap the rewards.


Just because decision-making, and mostly big decisions, is part of the job, it doesn’t mean that you should just go for it. Any business owner who jumps into a decision without proper planning or research is asking for trouble, making each decision far more of a risk than it needs to be. Planning is critical.

Experienced trade and logistics business owners will look at a decision from all angles, plotting out the various outcomes of courses of action. For many, the most important factor to consider is what the worst-case scenario is if they go ahead with their decision. By figuring out the worst-case scenario, you can see if you and your business can survive should things go wrong when taking a risk. It’ll also help you put mitigating factors in place to help prevent the worst-case scenario from happening.

With all of this planning and research done before deciding, you’ll find that the associated risks are somewhat diminished. Or, you’ll realize that the risks are too great and you won’t need to make a decision at all.


As with just about anything in life, the more you do it, the easier it becomes. The same is true about having to make big decisions. You can reach a point where you can confidently make business-altering decisions without too much stress. It’s just important to ensure that you always do your planning and research first, and don’t get overconfident.

You’ll also likely find that over time you don’t need to do as much initial research or planning. This is because you will be comfortable enough with your business to see the possible outcomes of the decision more easily. You will also have several contingency plans already in place, thanks to previous decisions you’ve had to make.


The most important factor to consider when making decisions for a small business is that you can’t always afford to take a big risk. Your resources are generally less than a larger organization, and that can make it a lot harder to recover if things go wrong. This means that it’s often better to go in a phased approach—making smaller changes or taking smaller risks over a period of time to get to the same outcome as one big leap of faith.

This is a good strategy early on in the life of a trade or logistics business because it builds up a resilience and a better tolerance for risk. You can take the time to build up your resources or recover to a place where you are ready for the next step or phase. All the while, your business is moving forward and not stagnating.


There are some risks that are easy to evaluate, and taking action is common sense. For example, if your business is in an area that’s prone to break-ins, not having a properly installed safe is a risk that’s not worth taking. Spending the money and installing a safe is a non-negotiable. But with other businesses risks, the answers aren’t always so cut and dried.

The place where most people get tripped up is getting too weighed down on the details of a decision. You can end up going round and round in circles, and miss the opportunity to take that leap.

You cannot wait forever or until things are just right to take a risk or make a big decision. Learn when the time is for research and planning, and when to take action. It all needs to be part of the process—researching possible outcomes, getting advice and input from others, planning for the worst, and then deciding to go or not to go. Inaction is far worse for a business than deciding not to take action.


There will always be the possibility of failure when making big decisions for a small business. There is no way to avoid this entirely. However, you can’t live in fear of failing because if you do, you will never see your business reach its full potential.

Failure is also a great teacher. Making a mistake or taking too big a risk gives you the chance to learn from those outcomes. You’ll be in a far better place to evaluate a risk next time one comes along because of the experiences you’ve had through failure. In fact, most entrepreneurs will tell you they have experienced far more failures than successes in their careers, and happily learned valuable lessons each time.

The trade and logistics business offers plenty of opportunity for risk taking and making bold decisions. With knowledge, experience, and insight, you can grow your venture in the right direction and carve a niche in an industry that’s highly competitive and demands forward thinking.


5 Smart Ways to Increase the Profitability of Your Business

Global competition is fierce. And, for new businesses, it can be intimidating.

From the moment you sit down to write a business plan, you discover that you have a lot to do but little time to accomplish everything when starting a business that aims to do business globally.

Whether your business succeeds or fails comes down to profitability (the amount of money remaining after all business expenses are paid). That’s the only way to build a sustainable business.

Here are five practical tips you can implement today to increase the profitability of your business:

1. Evaluate what isn’t working.

It’s OK to have occasional unproductive days, but most successful businesses figure out what works and what doesn’t – and focus on the things that work for them.

Existing businesses can do this already. If you’re starting a new business, don’t delay this type of assessment until you’ve been in business for several years. Work it into your quarterly strategy.

Apple became successful only after eliminating most products and focused on a few strategic products that formed a foundation for their brand. This important change also helped Apple build a global brand and not just a niche brand popular primarily in the U.S.

Are you and your team spending a considerable effort on daily activities that aren’t contributing to building your brand, sales, and profits? Are those daily activities connected to the goals you’ve set for the business?

It might be fun to spend two hours daily on Facebook or Twitter hunting for customers. Still, the more critical question is whether your prospective customers are looking for your business on those social networks.

How you can start today: Start by listing all of the tasks you do regularly (hourly, daily, weekly, monthly). Do your best to break these tasks into logical areas, such as sales, accounting, marketing, inventory, etc.

Next, consider how long it takes you to do each task and assess whether each task is essential. You’d be surprised how many things we all do during a typical day that add little value to our business. Once you understand the importance of each activity, rank the activities (or logical areas) to understand better where you should be focusing.

Focus on the areas where you bring the most value to your business and find the right people to fill the gaps in areas you don’t.

2. Find time to develop a strategy.

Most successful business owners develop intelligent strategies and execute those strategies. Yet, many confuse decisions and strategy.

Every business owner makes decisions about their business. For example, they decide where to market, how to market, how much money to spend on marketing and sales, what types of products and services to market and sell, etc.

These decisions are important – but they are not a strategy.

These day-to-day decisions are like the moves we make in a game of chess. Knowing how to make a move lets you play the game.

It takes strategy and execution to win, especially on a global scale.

For example, it’s impossible to match supply to customer demand unless you build a strategy and predictive models to evaluate how to better model consumer behavior. Both over and under-supplying hurts profits.

How you can start today: Ensure that you set aside sufficient time every month or quarter to assess and develop a strategy.

When you develop a strategy, you’ll want to focus on your goals (it’s impossible to create a strategy if you don’t understand your goals). Assess your product/service offerings and determine whether you need to expand or reduce the number of products/services you offer. Some questions you might ask about your business:

-What is my current strategy?

-What is happening in my industry or with my competitors?

-What are my growth, sales, and profitability goals?

-What products and services do I currently offer?

-What products and services do I want to offer in the next X months?

-What will I need to do to sell these new products/services?

-How will I compete against X, Y, Z competitors?

3. Market to your existing customer base.

It’s 5 to 25 times cheaper to market to your existing customers than to find new customers.

How you can start today: Look at how your customers are using your products or services. Are they staying with your products/services for a long time or using them for a short time and leaving (this is called “churn”).

A churn rate is the percent of customers who terminate their relationships with your company in a specific period (a month, for example).

Once you establish a baseline churn rate for your business, evaluate why customers are leaving. And then build models that can help predict which customers are more likely to leave or stop using your products or services.

Remember that churn rates may vary in different countries and markets, so assess your churn rate on a market-by-market basis.

Churn rates can offer many interesting insights into your business. For example, a high churn rate could mean that you need to focus on improving your company’s products or services. It can also mean that you’re simply marketing to the wrong customers and using your marketing budget unwisely.

4. Audit your expenses.

Take a close look at your expenses and ask your leads to do the same thing for their teams.

It’s not uncommon for business owners to sign up for services and then stop using them or reduce usage.

Sometimes, a cheaper plan is perfectly sufficient, saving you hundreds of dollars per month in fees.

Other times, you’ll find you no longer need the product you tried using six months ago and then promptly forgot to cancel.

I regularly audit our vendors and find that we can save from hundreds to thousands of dollars every month by reducing specific monthly plans and eliminating other products that we no longer need.

When it comes to outsourcing things like custom graphic design services, for example, don’t assume that you’re getting the best value. Look for pricing sweet spots. Use this cost of design guide to understand better what custom logo design, website design, and other custom design services should cost.

The significant advantage of cutting expenses is that for every dollar you save by eliminating a cost, you gain an extra dollar in profits.

How you can start today: Look at the paid products and services you use and eliminate those you do not need.

Don’t hesitate to negotiate with vendors if you’re paying for certain recurring products every month – many vendors will entertain a discount if the alternative is to lose you as a customer.

Also, take a close look at your employees to be sure they’re correctly trained. It’s not uncommon to have extra expenses because your staff is incorrectly trained and is doing certain things that could be done differently and for less money.

5. Ask your employees for ideas.

Your employees sometimes know your business better than you know it.

Chances are they’ve been talking with customers and have their ideas to cut costs or to increase revenue. But they’ve stayed silent because they’re busy doing the jobs for which you hired them, and nobody asked them for their opinion.

Leverage your team – ask!

We have only one weekly meeting at crowdspring. It’s our “roadmap” meeting, where we discuss and evaluate suggestions from our team. We’ve done this for 13 years, and it’s one of the reasons we continue to innovate and lead the market.

How you can start today: Make sure to acknowledge employees who offer suggestions – even if you ultimately decide not to use those suggestions.

It’s crucial that employees feel you are listening to them – not just asking for ideas. Otherwise, they’ll hesitate to offer suggestions the next time you ask.

And if you implement an employee’s idea, make a big deal out of the fact that they suggested that idea. And importantly – find a way to track all suggestions and what you’re doing with them. A simple spreadsheet or document is sufficient (we use Asana to track ideas we generate internally and Basecamp to discuss those ideas asynchronously).

Ultimately, the only guarantee that you’ll be in business five years from now is for you to build a sustainable business. Start by applying the five tips we shared in this article to your business.


Calling For Bold Thinkers: How To Become An Iconoclast In The Post-COVID World

The word “change” has become synonymous with the pandemic, especially in relation to business models affected by new consumer behaviors. Though change was a matter of necessity for companies to survive the crisis, many executives believe that it will remain the theme going forward.

Knowing what type of change is needed – even if deemed radical by some – is the key to finding new opportunities, and those who boldly act on these ideas are iconoclasts, who are important in these challenging times, says Tony Zorc (, author of Iconoclasm: A Survival Guide In The Post-Pandemic Economy and a tech entrepreneur.

“Being an iconoclast is crucial to surviving the post-pandemic world,” Zorc says. “An iconoclast is an individual who challenges the established way of doing things, engineers, a better way, and doesn’t give a hoot what tradition calls for.

“Our collective reaction to the virus – with business shutdowns and all the other government restrictions on society – points to one crucial factor: we as a society do not question what we are told – potentially to our own detriment. Iconoclasm is about unlocking doors and ushering everyone through them. That kind of approach is the key to unlocking opportunities in the current and post-corona economy.”

Zorc offers these tips on how to become an iconoclast:

Challenge why. “The pandemic has revealed something that has been in place for years – that most organizations, corporations, governments, and even schools nowadays don’t want us to think for ourselves,” Zorc says. “Iconoclasts identify the prescribed or established way. Then they ask what existing paradigms they subscribe to without questioning them, and they recognize the historical underlying dynamics supporting those paradigms. Through that process, they determine if there are opportunities to do something different and better.”

Design a plan. Zorc says a project plan starts with identifying the desired outcomes, the obstacles in the way of achieving those results, and the requirements for success. “Ask yourself, ‘What am I looking to achieve?’“ he says. “You then work backward from the go-live date you have set, and list the major milestones that must be reached by specific dates along the timeline. Engineering a plan without dates is just a dream, not a plan.”

Execute the plan. Action is the defining characteristic of an iconoclast, Zorc says, but fear of failure or lack of conviction and commitment often prevent a person from following through. “When it’s time for the showdown, like in the old Westerns, some people flee the town and don’t show up,” he says. “Talking is so easy. I’ve met hundreds of people who have wonderful ideas and want to be an entrepreneur but have no plan and don’t want to take risks. Fear overrides momentum and they go back to doing their old way. But a willingness to confront failure is an inherent part of the iconoclast formula.”

Level up. “This is the act of improving your lot in life without losing what you already have,” Zorc says. “It also means pushing yourself day after day. It’s done incrementally – not trying to attain the huge goal all at once, failing, and losing motivation. When planning to level up, think in terms of days and weeks. For example, if you’re writing a book, shoot to write 500 words per day rather than aiming to finish chapter one in the first month. If your plan doesn’t seem doable in the allotted period of time, break your goal down into smaller bites or acquire more resources in the form of time, money, people, and materials.”

“Dynamics are changing quite often, and our established ways of doing things are not in step with them,” Zorc says. “People will change when someone takes the time to show them a better way. That’s the true iconoclastic opportunity.”


Tony Zorc ( is the author of Iconoclasm: A Survival Guide In The Post-Pandemic Economy. He is a tech entrepreneur and founder of Accounting Seed. Zorc designed a flexible technology as an accounting software solution and his vision became the platform for his international company, which has sold over 15,000 licenses to customers in numerous industries. In 2018, Accounting Seed was named among CFO Tech Outlook’s Top 10 Accounting Solutions Providers. A graduate of Hope College, Zorc was the Illinois High School Gymnastics Coaches Association senior gymnast of the year in 1992 and a state champion.


Including More Voices In Decisions May Bring Discomfort – And Results

When companies struggle, whether because of a bad economy, poor decisions, or other factors, top management’s reaction is often to become tight-lipped about the turbulent situation.

Employees are shut out from strategy discussions, and any ideas they might have for fixing the problem go unheard.

But in many if not most cases, such secretiveness is the wrong approach and can even make things worse, says Joe Ferreira (, the ForbesBooks author of Uncomfortable Inclusion: How to Build a Culture of High Performance in Life and Work.

“For organizations with tens of thousands of employees, it might make sense to limit who participates in strategy,” says Ferreira, who is CEO and president of the Nevada Donor Network. “But for smaller organizations, where every person contributes to a thriving culture and facilitates effective operations, there’s a lot of value in involving everyone.”

As his book title suggests, Ferreira calls this all-inclusive way of dealing with things “uncomfortable inclusion.” He put this philosophy into action when he came to the Nevada Donor Network in 2012 at a time when the organization was dysfunctional and on the verge of losing its membership in the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network/United Network for Organ Sharing. That would have shut down the organization for good. Over time, with a few fits and starts along the way, the organization rose from floundering to soaring as a current world leader in the industry.

Ferreira acknowledges that uncomfortable inclusion is an approach that can be messy and difficult, but also says that involving the entire organization in strategy and problem-solving can “reinforce synergy, cooperation, and unity while cultivating better ideas and innovation.” And that’s true whether uncomfortable inclusion is put into action at a failing company, or simply activated at a place where leaders believe their teams and organization could be performing better, he says.

“It is critical to include everyone because ultimately the frontline staff knows best what their environment is going to look like tomorrow and likely a few years down the line, and they are best positioned to be innovators,” Ferreira says. “Why wouldn’t we have them as part of the planning process?”

He says some of the traits needed to embrace this inclusion approach include:                

Transparent. This one may be especially important because Gallup reports that millennials especially say they want leaders who are open and transparent. Uncomfortable inclusion means being transparent to the point of discomfort, Ferreira says. If it is not uncomfortable, you are not being inclusive enough. “When you’re transparent with team members and include them in decision-making, you create a network of stakeholders who participate even in small decisions,” he says. “When it comes time to make more impactful decisions, a leader can tap into that banked brain trust to make the best decision possible based on feedback from a proven set of deciders.” Ferreira suggests even taking transparency a step further by including your critics, something he did when he took over at Nevada Donor Network. “In my view, our critics and antagonists are the most important catalysts for growth and innovation,” he says.

Accountable. People within an organization need to be accountable for their actions and to each other. “I talk about how we’re serious about our values, and we hold people accountable,” Ferreira says. “It isn’t enough to be technically competent. Each member of our organization, regardless of title, role, or results, must adhere to our values. We maintain our commitment to quality and excellence, and we are supremely, publicly accountable when we fail.”                 

Committed. Adopting a more inclusive approach requires commitment, possibly a commitment to changing the organization’s very culture. But the goal may be more attainable than it first seems, Ferreira says. “Achieving success in a seemingly hopeless situation requires hard work and a committed mindset, but it does not require the reinvention of the wheel,” Ferreira says. “It does not even require luck. All it requires is willingness and a mind open to learning and implementing actions that can facilitate transformative success.”

“Make no mistake, doing this is messy and hard,” Ferreira says. “It might seem unnecessarily difficult, complicated, and yes, uncomfortable. But keep chipping away and remember this: Success is achievable, even from the bleakest and most dysfunctional starting points.


Joe Ferreira (, the ForbesBooks author of Uncomfortable Inclusion: How to Build a Culture of High Performance in Life and Work, is CEO and president of the Nevada Donor Network. Ferreira speaks and consults worldwide about establishing and improving organ donation and transplantation systems he’s helped pioneer in the United States. He served as the director of clinical operations at the Life Alliance Organ Recovery Agency in Miami, and is the recipient of the Kruger Award for Outstanding Professional Transplant Services. He holds a bachelor of science in microbiology and immunology and an MBA with a specialization in healthcare administration and policy, both from the University of Miami.