At this time of year, most people think about the future. With 2012 just around the corner, people focus on making a new start in the new year. While we should always think about where we are heading, take advantage of this time to reflect on where we’ve come from, where we are, and how both can help us get to where we want to go.
One of the biggest challenges for business owners is responding effectively to changes that affect their business. Your decisions are only as good as the information available to you at the time. So getting good advice from knowledgeable, accredited sources is key to making informed choices. Where can you find this type of advice? Consider the following:
- The Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA has established offices in most major cities to provide advice on a number of topics. You can visit them in person or contact them over the phone to get help in dealing with many developing issues. One division of particular interest is the Service Core Of Retired Executives (SCORE). There you’ll find professionals who’ve walked the walk and are willing to assist you. You’ll have to check their hours of operation and the availability of professionals who have the area of expertise you require. You can also search their website at www.sba.gov
- Professional Newsletters. There are thousands of newsletters on all different topics. In them you’ll find tips, techniques, and warnings to help you do the right things more often and avoid the pitfalls many encounter. Over time, you’ll learn a wealth of information that will help you be better prepared to navigate the changing business landscape. You can search for and subscribe to those that are of interest to you.
- Fellow Business Owners/Professional Organizations. Local Chambers of Commerce, Business Associations, and fellow business owners in your area can be a great source of information. Depending on their individual experience in a matter, you can learn how to do the things they’ve done right, and avoid some of the challenges they faced. Such partnering/mentoring can go a long way to shorten your learning curve regarding new developments that require a quick response from you.
- Business Consultants. Having professionals with the credentials and experience in the areas you need at your fingertips, literally a phone call or email away, can do much to ease your mind and help you make the best choices in response to all situations, whether they are legal, human resource, marketing, advertising, technology, website development or social media related.
Many find the last option the most effective, but also fear that it is the most costly. As a fellow business owner, I understand that concern. However, that type of access is more affordable than most realize, and my business partners and I are happily helping many owners to gain access to professional consultation that far exceeds expectations, yet at a price point that many feel is too low to be real.
Get in touch. Let me help give your business more exposure at no cost, and plug you into a network of events that will allow you to meet with other owners at low or no cost. You can get answers, meet new prospects, and find new clients in the process. I’m looking forward to helping you chart your course for 2012 and beyond!