Barry Moltz gets small businesses unstuck. We recently had a chance to sit down with Barry to talk about why businesses get "stuck" and how they can get back on track to becoming successful. Tell us a bit about your background. Why are you so passionate about helping small businesses?
I started my career at IBM, but then left to start three business over 20 years. After I sold my last one, I wanted to help small business owners be successful.
What exactly do you mean when you talk about businesses getting "stuck?" Does that mean that the business is in imminent danger of going under?
No. Many small businesses have some success in the first few years but can't progress any further. Someone (or something) is holding them back.
If a small business is stuck and the owner does not know why, what is the first aspect of the business which he or she should examine to try and figure out the answer?
Most owners are stuck in one of three areas
- Sales or marketing
- Hiring and retaining great people
- Managing the money
For newbie entrepreneurs, what are some of the most common reasons their businesses get stuck?
They don't get paying customers early enough, and they spend too much capital getting started.
What are some of the unique challenges to owning or operating a family business?
The family dynamics are unique. A lot of times, the familliar traits are reflected in the company structure. The bully sibling is also the business bully. Whoever is seen as the head of the household wants to tell everyone else what to do. The peacemaker smooths things over when tempers explode. The one who controls the budget at home wants to approve how every dollar is spent in the company. The strengths of individuals in the business come with the history of family relationships - it's not easy to separate the two, and struggles ensue.
When starting up a new business, are there any steps you can take to minimize the chances of getting stuck in the future?
Where you get stuck will rotate and change. So understand which part of the organization is holding you back as it evolves. You need to adapt in order to move forward.
If funding is the reason why a business is stuck, under what circumstances should a business owner access his or her personal finances or retirement savings to solve the problem?
All small business owners should take less than 50% of their savings to start a business. They should invest the initial 25% in startup and the second 25% when more capital is needed. Never touch the other 50%, because you may need it, should the business fail.
Finally, since you've written a book called How to Get Unstuck: 25 Ways to Get Your Business Growing Again, could you share one of those tips with us?
How to be productive, not just busy: Pick the two tasks the night before that you must get done the next day that need to be completed before anything else. And then make sure to follow through.
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