small business solutions

Small Business Solutions and Help

small business solutions

Most small business owners will need help at some point. Two of the most difficult aspects about small business help are knowing that help is needed and realizing where to turn for help. Small businesses typically involve entrepreneurial and independent people accustomed to working on their own, so asking for help can be easier said than done.

The need for timely and practical small business solutions often starts with one specific question or problem that just won’t go away. Whatever prompts a sense that help might be needed, it is highly recommended that viable solutions be examined before it is literally too late. Timing is everything, especially when it comes to effective small business help.

Solving Commercial Financing Problems

I prepared a short video presentation covering several financial topics that represent an excellent starting point for any discussion of small business help. Among the timely problems and risk areas covered are the following:

  • Eight Recurring Problems for Small Businesses
  • Five Candidates for Improved Business Finance Communication
  • Eight Areas to Use Commercial Finance Negotiating
  • The FDIC Problem Banks List

The “Right” Small Business Help Can Be Hard to Find

Problems for small businesses come in all sizes. Practical and effective business solutions should be sought for the highest-priority problems in a timely manner. Help might realistically be required to decide which problem should be tackled first.

When looking for viable solutions, the most obvious possibilities might not be the best choice. The need for creative new ideas is where the “outside of the box” concept originated, and the term is now typically associated with finding new solutions rather than relying on old and ineffective solutions.

The most difficult business problems are those likely to need “outside of the box” business solutions. While it will not always be apparent that thinking outside of the box is required, there have been a number of significant changes impacting most small businesses and commercial real estate financing during the past several years. Anytime change is involved is a good indicator that different business solutions will be required (or should at least be considered).

thinking outside the box
The Need to Eliminate Recurring Problems

Another situation requiring new business solutions is whenever the same problem keeps recurring. The video presentation described in the first section above discussed eight areas that typically serve as repeat problem areas for most small businesses. Three examples include business communications with other companies, excessive operating expenses and financial negotiations with your commercial lenders.

Does your business have “the same old problems?”

Here is a SlideShare presentation that I prepared to illustrate helpful perspectives about choices and risks:

Advertisements

How Can Businesses Improve Public Relations With Their Bank?

Which Way to Better Public Relations With Your Banker?

Which Way to Better Public Relations With Your Banker?

The state of business communications between small businesses and their banking institutions is effectively on life support. This is clearly not a good condition to be in, and most small business owners would change this situation in a heartbeat if they could. One potential solution to this dilemma is for each small business owner to engage in a variation of a public relations campaign in an effort to improve business communications with their bankers and banks.

This will generally involve two activities that many companies are somewhat lacking in:

  • Business Writing
  • Business Negotiating

Even in situations where there are significant negotiating and writing skills present, the use of a business public relations expert should be evaluated. After all, this is an important part in maintaining or restoring the financial health of a company!

Small Businesses Need to Learn from Mistakes

Reviewing Books about Mistakes

Mistakes are certainly an unavoidable part of life, and small business owners are likely to experience more than their fair share from time to time. While I just noted that “mistakes are unavoidable”, it is more accurate to say the following:

  • Mistakes are inevitable.
  • Some mistakes are avoidable.
  • Individuals should always try to learn from their mistakes.

Learning from mistakes is of course easier said than done. I have reviewed a wide variety of books about mistakes, and I have published a concise summary of what I found and recommend based on my findings. In the recent chaotic financial and economic environment, we have seen some new sources and causes of mistakes that require a closer look by small businesses so that they can be avoided whenever possible.

The Best Business Books about Small Businesses

The Best Small Business Books

When people ask me about business books that I would recommend for helping someone running a small business, I usually provide one or two recommendations. But I have been working on a more comprehensive “small business books reading list” and have just published it. It will continue to evolve and change but I am very pleased with the current best of the best business books that I am recommending.

Negotiating Your Small Business Back to Health

small business solutions

Small Business Negotiation Strategy Solutions

In the current chaotic economy, small business owners have their hands full with numerous financial challenges. Three of the most likely recurring problems involve commercial financing, operating expenses and supplier agreements. While these are all difficult issues to tackle under any circumstances, the use of business negotiating strategies can help with all three (as well as other cost issues). While this will require some dedicated efforts (often involving the help of a business finance communications expert), the implementation of a business negotiation strategy can contribute to an immediate cash flow benefit. Such timely business cost reductions will prove to be especially helpful to small businesses that have been struggling to cut operating costs.

Small Business Financing Questions

Commercial Finance Questions for Small Business Owners

In today’s puzzling financial environment, a suggested starting point for small business owners attempting to make sense of the chaotic banking environment is to ask a series of questions. While this must then be accompanied by finding candid and accurate answers, the focus on asking the right small business financing questions will help guide commercial borrowers to a more effective business solution. Here are a few of the questions that deserve to be on any meaningful list (and yes, there are other important questions that are not shown here in the interest of keeping this concise):

  • Is my bank a “Zombie Bank”?
  • Is my bank a “good bank” or a “bad bank”?
  • Should I fire my bank and my banker?
  • Which banks are actively making commercial loans to small businesses?
  • What should I do when my bank repeatedly says “No” to routine requests for commercial financing and working capital?

One conclusion that should be drawn from this “sample list” of commercial finance questions is that one question is likely to lead to another.

Business Bank Consulting

Commercial Bank Consulting Can Help Avoid "Bad Banks" and "Zombie Banks"

The practical need for business bank consulting by a commercial borrower is illustrated by a small business owner trying to obtain prudent and timely help for evaluating and choosing a business lender. This might involve the evaluation of both current and prospective banks or other commercial lenders. In today’s uncertain commercial lending climate for small businesses everywhere, it is imperative to avoid “bad banks” as well as to find “good banks” that are actively lending. Because this process can be both time-consuming and require some specialized expertise, the use of a qualified business bank consultant should be considered. Overall the realistic goal for small business owners is to find effective commercial lending alternatives that are capable of saying “Yes” to routine requests for commercial mortgages and working capital.