1. Business

Four Rules to Live by as a Small Business Owner

Intro by Skip Cohen

We’re into Spring, and there’s some great seasonality around the corner, but even as business starts to pick up again, you can’t slow down on staying focused on your marketing efforts. Sadly, too many of you of jump around and start changing things in your business before you’ve really given previous ideas a chance to grow and take hold.

Marketing is non-stop, but that doesn’t mean you need to make dramatic changes to your business every week. In this short post from Sarah Petty’s archives, she hits tried and true rules that should ALWAYS be a constant in your business.

My personal favorite to focus on is “Stay hyper-focused,” especially looking at every new idea you want to try and ask yourself if it’s going to grow the biz or just feed your ego and spread you thinner? I see so many photographers wasting their time arguing with peers in Facebook forums. Your business isn’t about your peers, but your clients. And, as my old buddy Dean Collins always said, “Beauty is in the eyes of the checkbook holder!”

Stay focused on growing your business, work to make yourself habit-forming with your clients, exceed expectations and know there are a whole bunch of us out here to help you thrive, not just survive!

By Sarh Petty

To stay on top, your small business has to grow and mature; it has to remain consistent and reliable while continuously surprising customers and exceeding their expectations. That doesn’t mean you need to focus on franchising, add a ton of overhead, and become a big discounter yourself. It doesn’t even mean you have to expand your client base. But you do need to stay vigilant, exercise sound judgments, and grow as a small business.

Here are a few small business strategies that will help you along the way.

  1. Find the next level and move up. If you’re going to grow, you can’t be content with the same old products and services.
  2. Stay hyper-focused. Successful boutique businesses don’t assume they can be all things to all people and are at ease saying they’re not the right fit for some. Your job is to grow—your customer base, your product line, your level of service, and your quality levels—within a very narrow focus. Ask yourself three simple questions when considering an idea.

Does it fit my brand?

Does the idea help my business grow, or does it just spread me thinner?

Does it allow me to maintain my profit margins?

  1. Prepare for risk. As a boutique business, you only play to be the best. And that takes some calculated risks. Your customers expect you to try the extraordinary. They want you to discover or invent the newest, coolest, hardest-to-find, and most-difficult-to-copy items and services.
  2. Find a mentor. There is wisdom out there that you can possess today simply by reaching for it (and investing in it). Look for the people who successfully do what you want to do and who have used your business model to get where you want to be.

To get more tips on pricing, marketing and branding a small business that can charge what you’re worth, download a free chapter of my New York Times Best Selling book, Worth Every Penny: Build a Business that Thrills Your Clients and Still Charge What You’re Worth at http://www.wortheverypennybook.com/tryachapter/