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The Small Business Formula for Excellence

Small business owners are engaged in the “fight of a lifetime.” A big goal, of course, is to somehow get a lifetime out of your business. In an acronym, here is the important stuff I have learned that gets you there:  Ex.C.E.L.L.E.N.C.E.

Ex.  Expert.  Be one in your industry. The simple truth is our competitive markets will not reward newbies, trainees, wannabees or even supercharged hopefuls. Your chances are far better if you combine that passion with competence and ability to satisfy customer needs/wants better than your competition.

C.  Change. You can deal with it.  It is a near certainty business models change every few years because, well, things change. Can you innovate new solutions or launch new products/ services to adapt to market changes before the Change Monster eats you?

E.  Eats and drinks. What your product hopefully does. Example: I sell copiers so once that is done they require toner, parts, service and paper.  All are good additional revenue streams. Selling only machines with no support revenue makes it much harder to build a business. Get these streams under contract.

L.  Leader. You need to be one. Employees, customers, bankers and vendors look to you for this. My winning leadership philosophy for a small business owner is to treat everyone differently.

L.  Luck. You need some and you will get some. It will also go the other way.

E.   Exit plan. Keep in mind one day you will want to power down, sell the business or retire in some way.  You need not worry about it today, but you should have your business slowly building in a manner that lets you end the way you wish.

N.  Numbers. Know them. You are supposed to be a businessperson. This means you understand financial statements, ratios, profit margins, benchmarks, pricing, inventory turns, cash flow, taxes and all the rest. You are always the chief financial officer and not your accountant.

 C.  Call on prospects.  Make outbound sales calls.  Sell. Somebody in your company can. Do deals face- to-face with prospects and find prospects. Nothing happens until somebody sells something. It is common today to try and get sales without selling.  “If I just get enough likes, hits, blasts, blogs, views, tweets, friends, followers, locations, etc., I will get orders.” You will get some but not enough.

E.  Easy.  Ease is the number on buying criteria today.  Convenience is king. If doing business with you is not easy, saving customers many, many nanoseconds, and your products do not make life easier, customers walk.

Tom Pease is a small business owner of an office equipment dealership called e/Doc Systmes, Inc. He has previously owned a full-line Kawasaki dealership as well as a document shop. He also has authored two books: 'Going Out of Business By Design: Why 70% of Small Businesses Fail' and 'Small Business Survivial 101.'

Posted: 7/1/2015 7:30:00 AM | with 0 comments
Filed under: Big, Blog, Business, e/Doc, Excellence, Formula, Ideas, Inc., Pease, SBC, Small, Systems, Tom

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Your business may be small, but that doesn't mean that your impact can't be huge! The Greater Memphis Chamber's Small Business Council serves to encourage, support, recognize and be a resource to small- and medium-sized businesses in the Memphis area. Here, our talented panel of contributors will present big ideas that could make a huge difference to your small business. And don't be afraid to ask questions ... no matter how small.

Sales & Small Business Ownership
Voss W. Graham is CEO and Senior Business Advisor for InnerActive Consulting Group Inc. He is known by his clients as "a knowledgeable partner who helps our team achieve business growth." He provides practical experience as a small business owner for over 29 years, yet is often engaged with Fortune 500 companies in the development of their people and business strategies.

Public Relations
Several professionals and strategists from the local Obsidian Public Relations firm provide excellent advice on everything from research to media relations to event planning. They believe that all companies, no matter how big or small the company or its budget, should have a public relations plan driving how they manage their relationships with key stakeholders. Public relations is an integral part of doing business the right way.

Human Resources
Joel Myers is a career Human Resources professional, with over 40 years in the field including 26 years in consulting.

Small Business Advice
Tom Pease is a small business owner of an office equipment dealership called e/Doc Systems, Inc. He has also owned a full-line Kawasaki dealership as well as a document shop. He used 30+ years of experience in owning a business to author two books, including: Going Out of Business by Design: Why 70% of Small Businesses Fail and Small Business Survival 101. He also has published 85 columns in The Memphis Daily News as the Small Business Advisor.

Marketing & Public Relations
Lori Turner-Wilson is CEO and Founder of RedRover Company, a sales development, marketing and PR consulting firm. Lori works with companies large and small, from start-ups to mature organizations, to help them improve the productivity of their sales force and the return on their marketing investment. Lori writes a weekly syndicated column for the Daily News, Memphis News, Nashville Ledger, and Desoto Times, among others, titled “Guerrilla Sales & Marketing,” for which she won a 2011 Summit International Award and 2012 International Communicator Award.

Design and Digital Strategy
Founded in 1999, inferno provides brand development, advertising, public relations, design and digital marketing services to clients across a broad spectrum of industries. Headquartered in Memphis with a satellite office in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the award-winning firm produces results-driven work by passionately combining strategic thinking, creativity and culture to ensure the success of its clients. For more information, visit

Labor & Employment Law
Fisher Phillips attorneys are ready to help you take a stand: in court, with employees and unions, or with competitors. Fisher Phillips has the experience and resolve to back you up. That's why some of the savviest employers come to the firm to handle their toughest labor and employment cases. The firm has 350 attorneys in 32 offices, including Memphis. For more information, visit

Since its founding in 2005, Paragon Bank has maintained a solid focus on the community and customer service. For more than 10 years, Paragon has delivered innovative products and financial expertise, convenience, and a deep understanding of what both businesses and individuals need from a ban, in order to provide solutions that make a difference. In the areas of business or personal banking, lending options or wealth management, Paragon delivers cutting edge technology, an experienced team and the most service-oriented staff of any community bank.