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People - Engaging and Motivating Them Is One of the Keys to Small Business Success!

Since I've managed, grown and done turnarounds across multiple industries, many folks have asked me, especially in the turnaround situations how I was able to come in and quickly transition into such disparate businesses and operations. I turn the questions right back at them and say "what is the common denominator across all businesses?" It's people! People who are employees. People who are customers. People who are suppliers. And the relationships we build with each of them.

Back nearly 40 years ago, in his seminal work, Megatrends, author John Naisbitt coined the phrase, "high tech, high touch," describing that in a world of high technology, people still wanted and appreciated personal, human contact. And in our, increasingly, virtual world, we may be overlooking this critical aspect of business success.

How well you engage and motivate the people who interact with your business will, for the most part, determine how successful you will be. That's a bold statement, but frankly, for somebody who's been there, a "no brainer."

Keeping all your employees, whether you have two or twenty-two, engaged and motivated by keeping them constantly informed about where the business is, what the plans are for it, how important each of them is to it and what their role is in its potential success, provides a critical foundation piece for that success. Even if you are a virtual company, have periodic face-to-face meetings. It will go a long way into everyone feeling a part of something bigger than them.

Except for commodity products, easily purchased via the internet, people still buy from people. Even in the commodity situation, while price will play a major role, how well the website engages the customer, makes it easy for them to use it and order the product, will often be the difference between a sale and not. Same thing applies on a larger scale to a major product or consultative sale. The more you know, engage and motivate your prospect with first, understanding their business; and second, how the benefits of your product or service meet the needs of that business, the more comfortable that prospect will fill about your company and the more successful you will be. And, back to employees, the more engaged they are, the more they will engage customers when they call for support or questions, further solidifying the customer relationship.

And finally, with key suppliers, just because you are a very small portion of a supplier's business does not mean that you shouldn't create a solid relationship with them from the "get-go," especially, if they are also a small business. Set up a meeting with their CEO and tell them about your company, your goals and plans and how important the relationship with them will be to your company's success. Learn about them ahead of time and engage and motivate them to work with you. This will also be critical at some point in your future when you either need a major schedule improvement or payment considerations from them as your business grows.

At the end of the day, business is still a people game from employees to customers to suppliers. How well you engage and motivate them can well be the prime determination for your success, both short- and long-term.

"The Entrepreneur's Yoda" knows these things. He's been there. May success be with you!

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