Business Social Responsibility And Politics: Are You A Social Justice Warrior?

By | Grow Business

business social responsibilityAre you using your company to promote business social responsibility? Are you committed to social justice? Is your business devoting time and money to your favorite political causes?

Unless your business model depends upon targeting a niche receptive to your Social Justice Warrior (SJW) activism, you’re hurting the company’s prospects for survival.

Of course, it’s heresy to point this out because it offends those who rely upon corporate donations to advance their causes. And their supporters among workers, the media, and politicians.

Fickle Social Justice Activism

Understand this…there’s a SJW narrative that determines which causes and political candidates are acceptable. And that can change daily or even hourly.

Are you committed to what you’re promoting? Or using it as a cynical marketing ploy?

Don’t misjudge the timing or be exposed as a fake.

Because your business can become a villain overnight among those you thought were your allies. Even if the cause itself remains okay, the language you use today to promote it can make your business a pariah tomorrow for being ***phobic, ***ist, “privileged,” etc.

And what about those who already oppose your views on saving Mother Earth? Or voting for Candidate X? What are the chances they’ll boycott your business if they know you’re working against their beliefs?

The Steve Jobs Example

Apple’s co-founder Steve Jobs had this issue pegged.

He definitely had views on business social responsibility and other inherently political issues that he supported. Yet he believed a business’ duty was to its equity owners (corporate shareholders, LLC members, etc.). That’s why Apple was not donating money to social justice causes until after his death.

Does that mean you personally can’t be involved in causes you support? Of course not.

Business Social Responsibility General Rule

But, as a general rule, do it with your personal money and time. Not corporate donations. Don’t turn your company into a social justice machine.

An Exception To The Rule

Of course, there’s an exception to the rule.

What if you’ve found a profitable niche that supports your views? And that niche is broad enough to support your business model? Then it’s okay to associate your company’s brand with those causes.

Niching Ice Cream

A good example of this exception is Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. The activist founders sold their company 20 years ago to Unilever. Yet the brand remains synonymous with environmental and left-wing political activism. And there’s a big enough market of true believers in those causes to support the association.

Alienation And Growth

Yet most developed countries contain populations divided on political and social justice issues. Before you devote your business to causes, be sure you’re not limiting its growth potential. Can you afford to alienate half your potential customers because of business social responsibility activism?

Business Failure: When In A Hole, Stop Digging

By | Grow Business

store closing and business failureIf your company is struggling, it’s time to re-evaluate why you own it in the first place. Sometimes you have to admit business failure.

The optimists that preach hopes and dreams are ignorant (or lying) when it comes to business failure rates.

Most business ventures flop. Almost all restaurants and bars close their doors.

Let’s face it. What you do may be simple. But it’s not easy to turn a profit long term.

Bad stuff happens to even the most successful ventures. For example, after the COVID-19 coronavirus shutdowns ordered by government, 47% of small business owners surveyed said they expected close down permanently. And struggling large companies decided to file Chapter 11, knowing they didn’t have the means to continue operating. Some even liquidated in Chapter 7.

Does this mean give up? No.

It does mean you should regroup, check your backup plan, and assess your path back to growth and profitability.

And if there isn’t a solution, it’s time to close your doors. Because there’s no sense in pouring money down a rathole.

Of course, it’s important to note that business failure doesn’t mean you failed. More often than not, something changed that made the company no longer viable. And that’s okay…no matter how painful it might seem.

Because you are not your company. And there will be other opportunities out there for you. Save your time and money for them if your current business has kicked the bucket.

Business Failure: What’s the lesson from a flop?

By | Grow Business

business failureToo many companies go bankrupt because they haven’t failed enough.

Let me explain…

When something doesn’t work out as planned, the entrepreneur often takes it personally.

“I’ve failed,” he thinks.

It’s assigning personal culpability to an outcome that may be beyond the entrepreneur’s control.

Because whether it’s a solopreneur or a Fortune 500 company, it’s the market that determines what it wants. Research and educated guesses can reduce the chance of initial failure but can’t prevent it.

Billions have been spent to polish turds no one wants to buy. And the only failure involved is the doubling down by trying to sell the market what it clearly doesn’t want.

What’s the solution?

Test. Fail. Make adjustments. Test again.

Don’t tie your sense of self-worth or the merits of the business to whether or not a particular test succeeds or fails. You’re testing. Nothing more.

The only time you chastise yourself is when you give up entirely.

Now that doesn’t mean it’s wise to continue testing something no one wants no matter how you repackage or tweak it. It does mean you test to see what works and what doesn’t. If there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, choose a different tunnel (product, service, or market) to test.

If you’re skeptical, look at the startups that grew to have a successful IPO. Every one of those companies had flops, including the FAANG companies. They just didn’t give up because of the flops or spend their time wallowing in self-pity when a test didn’t work out.

So, test and fail frequently. It’s just part of the process of getting to those wins that you want.

Yet you don’t have to spend a fortune in time and money testing to find those wins.

Because you can reduce the amount of skin you have in the game with an idea for a new product or service through a different type of testing called “pretotyping.”

 

How to Raise Fast Cash for Your Business

By | Grow Business

how to raise cash fast for your businessWhether you’re selling products or services, if money is tight it’s time to raise fast cash for your business. Here’s what to do.

The Offer

Create an irresistible offer that saves your customers money if they prepay now in advance for products to be delivered or services to be rendered later.

And if it’s a subscription (e.g. SaaS), you can offer a similar deal if they renew today instead of waiting to the end of the current subscription term.

Essential Elements

The key here is to make it something that’s both profitable for you and provides an incentive for your special deal to be accepted today. Because procrastination doesn’t fill the piggy bank.

Of course, there should be a valid reason why you’re making this one-time offer. For example, when the COVID-19 coronavirus hit, many companies were starved of cash flow during the shutdown. It made perfect sense at reopening to offer a deal that generated revenues quickly.

In addition, there has to be a sense of urgency. In other words, there’s a hard cut-off (deadline, only 25 to be sold, etc.) that generates a fear of lost opportunity if the offer isn’t promptly taken advantage of by the customer.

Who to Target

Remember to focus on existing customers with this special offer for the highest conversion rates when trying to raise fast cash for your company. Because it’s a lot easier to sell to those who have already bought from you than to go fishing in a cold market trying to grow your business.

You Can’t Raise Fast Cash This Way By Looking Like You’re About To Go Out Of Business

Naturally, you don’t want to appear desperate (even if cash flow is tight) because that will turn off prospects. So, it’s important that your offer be credible…and that includes leaving the impression you’ll be around tomorrow to honor your deal instead of closing your doors and stiffing customers who prepaid.

The Secret To An Effective Sleep Schedule For Business Owners

By | Time Management

sleep schedule for business ownersWhen you own a business, it’s important to take care of yourself, including protecting your sleep schedule. Yet what that schedule should look like depends upon a variety of factors, including your personality, your work hours, and family commitments.

Many business owners try to live by Benjamin Franklin’s adage about “early to bed, early to rise…” Yet it’s not the only path to success in your personal and professional lives.

Let’s explore some popular alternatives to monophasic sleeping.

Biphasic Sleeping

There are two main methods of implementing a biphasic sleeping schedule: (1) the Night Owl; and (2) the Siesta.

The Night Owl Sleep Schedule

Adopting the biphasic Night Owl schedule is fairly easy to do. You’ll divide your night’s sleep into two parts with a productive work or exercise session in between.

For example, let’s say you sleep from 8 p.m. to midnight. When you get up after these four hours, you’ll work and/or exercise for 2-3 hours before going back to bed for the remaining 3-4 hours of your nightly sleep.

This method can be effective if you need some quiet creative time alone while your kids are sleeping. Or you struggle to find time during the day to exercise because of your work commitments.

The Siesta Method

When I was younger living in Mexico, this biphasic sleeping model became an enjoyable habit. During the afternoon, everything would shut down for 2-3 hours. We’d go home to eat lunch and take a nap (siesta) of up to an hour before returning to work refreshed.

By taking a siesta, you’ll find you’re more productive when returning to work in the afternoon. To be sure, it may not be possible to close your doors midday for lunch and siesta time. However, someone else can manage your business while you’re taking a few hours to refresh.

Polyphasic Sleeping

Adopting a polyphasic schedule of 3 or more daily sleep sessions fits few business owner schedules but some people swear by this method.

At the extreme end of polyphasic sleeping is the Uberman Sleep Schedule where you break out your sleep into either 6 (every 4 hours) or 8 (every 3 hours) 20-minute naps around the clock. This is significantly less total sleep than you’ll get through monophasic or biphasic methods. However, some contend you’re still refreshed because of the frequency of the naps.

Uberman polyphasic sleeping is most popular with college students and young tech entrepreneurs in their mid-20s who have time management flexibility. However, as one ages, it’s tough to maintain this type of schedule because of physical limitations, work, and family obligations. Even if you’re young, this method is difficult to implement if you drink lots of caffeine (e.g. coffee) that prevents napping.

Monophasic Plus Method

If you’re unable or unwilling to change your sleep cycles, consider doing the following tweak instead. Maintain your single block of nightly sleep (e.g. 7 to 9 hours). Then take a 20 to 30 minute nap sometime in the afternoon.

You’ll discover this extra little bit of sleep will make a difference in your work productivity and how you feel at the end of the day.

And you won’t be the only person who does this.

History is filled with business titans (e.g. Thomas Edison) who took naps as-needed rather than work while tired. And if you look around today, chances are you’ll find others who are napping during part of their lunch breaks or disappearing to parts unknown (e.g. their cars, a local park, etc.) for a quick snooze sometime during the afternoon.

Switching Sleeping Methods

Remember that you’re experimenting with different sleep schedules with the goal of improving your business and personal lives. Chances are you won’t pick the one method that works best for you at first. Test and see.

And understand that you can transition from one method to another as your circumstances change. For example, the Siesta Method worked well for me in my early 20s. And I even tried a modified Uberman schedule in my early 30s.

What Method Do I Use?

However, these days a Biphasic Plus hybrid works best for me (your experience may vary).

This means I get up as a Night Owl and work for several hours on creative projects (e.g. writing books), including recently updating the forms generated by Website Legal Forms Generator. And I take a catnap mid-afternoon so that I’m refreshed to finish work and spend time with family in the evening.