slates business breakfasts
By SUE WATSON
The Holly Springs Chamber
of Commerce is sponsoring a new series of small business
breakfasts and roundtable discussions beginning Thursday,
Sept. 1 at 7 a.m.
Don Fischer, director of
the Small Business Development Center at Ole Miss will
facilitate the talks that will be held at City Cafe
McA Style downtown.
A small business-related
topic will be taken up at each of four scheduled meetings
set for the first Thursday in each month.
The topic for the
September 1 roundtable will be How to seek,
identify and satisfy customer expectations.
The discussions will bear
upon 10 important points for success of a small business,
which Fischer touched upon as guest speaker at last weeks
Some of the tips for new
and existing businesses Fischer laid out included:
- tie the vision for
the business to a sound business plan with goals.
Some visionaries are not good business managers,
he said. The Small Business Development Center
helps new entrepreneurs draw up a business plan
in confidentiality, he said.
- get the management,
organizing and controlling skills needed for the
small businesses dont have the management
tools in place to know when things are not going
right, he said.
- know your business
niche and how to defend it.
know their competitors, who to appeal to, and the
strengths and weaknesses of the competition,
he said. Price the product for a profit.
- attain a consistent
level of service or product. Successful
businesses have written policies and procedures
that preplan decisions, Fischer said. A
self-analysis checklist helps monitor the
consistency and quality level of services. Know
how to recover a customer if a mistake is made.
- recruit, select and
train the best people available. Hire intelligent
and intrinsically motivated people who work well
with others and communicate well, he said.
- build a good customer
data base. Use after-sale surveys and seek to
satisfy the customer.
It is easier to
retain a customer than to find one, Fischer
- pay attention to key
suppliers and the things going on around your
business continuously. Adjust the business plan
when things change.
- know that cash flow
is more important than profits or losses. Monitor
and measure the vital signs of the business
- maintain a companys
six best friends - the CPA, attorney, banker,
insurance agent, Chamber of Commerce and Small
Business Development Center.
The Small Business
Development Center at Ole Miss partners with state and
federal government to provide free and confidential
consulting and free workshop training throughout the
The Ole Miss center works
with 19 counties carrying 500 to 600 clients for the
year. Seventy percent are new businesses and the
remaining are established ones, Fischer said. This year
Mississippi added 7,000 new businesses.
Small business undergirds
the states economy to the tune of 98 percent,
according to Fischer. Six thousand small businesses will
go out of business either by folding or ending a natural
business life or by being sold.
Fischer said one-half of
business failures are due to lack of management skills.
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