Archive for March, 1999

How to Fail in Business: The Top Ten on the Road to Ruin

Posted: March 29, 1999 by Chuck Matthews in Planning, Startup

Classic Cincinnati Post column from 1999

When it comes to succeeding in business, there are no magic answers to the timeless question, “How can I make my small business a success?” Sometimes, however, it is easier to see the error of our ways than to adhere to the best path.

The following list of interrelated common mistakes that business owners make aren’ necessarily show stoppers by themselves, but when taken together, can lead you on the road to ruin. See which ones you may have committed in your business and think of ways to turn them around to an advantage for your business.

1. Lack of overall strategic planning. It may be a trite saying, but it is stunningly accurate in its simplicity, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” A plan doesn’ have to be long and sophisticated to be valuable. Rather, it needs to be grounded in actionable steps.


Building a Brand Identity

Posted: March 15, 1999 by Sutton Landry in Marketing, Planning, Startup

Classic Cincinnati Post column from 1999

Several years ago I had the pleasure of working with a client who, like many others throughout the years, was interested in opening a sandwich shop in Northern Kentucky.  Like most other prospective small business owners, he was short on capital and long on ideas.  But in this particular case, unlike most others, those ideas were shaped by experience  —  valuable experience gained from working for the best fast food franchises in America.

Because of my client’s experience  —  and an acceptable amount of  cash and  personal collateral  —  we were able to put together a business plan that led to an SBA guaranteed loan to launch the sandwich shop.  Shortly before the scheduled opening, I dropped in to see how the shop was shaping up.  At first, I walked right by it, because I was looking for something else.

What I had expected to see was the typical mom and pop urban sandwich shop:  quaint, cute, and clearly a small business venture.  What I saw instead was what appeared to be a brand new chain or franchise food operation:  with a clever, yet descriptive name and first-class commercial graphics, signage, furnishings, fixtures, and menu boards.


Make Your Case – in 8 Minutes

Posted: March 8, 1999 by Bill Cunningham in Money, Startup

Classic Cincinnati Post column from 1999

You’ve done your homework and put a great business plan together. In five minutes, you will walk into the conference room and WOW the crowd with your presentation.

Have you done all the right things? Will the presentation work? How long will it take them to write you a check?  Here are some things you can do to get positive answers to those questions.

Your presentation needs to fit the audience needs. If this is a presentation at the Greater Cincinnati Venture Association’s monthly luncheon, you will have about 8 minutes to get your point across to the 100 people who are all there looking for great opportunities.

If you are presenting to a venture firm or investment banker, you may have a lot more time, but your first 8 minutes are critical. What can you say in 8 minutes? A lot!