5 Entrepreneurs Share: “The Best Thing I Did for My Business”

Author: Stephanie Taylor Christensen | May 18, 2015

You don’t know these entrepreneurs personally—but they’ve walked a mile in your shoes. Check out some of the most impactful moves these business owners say they’ve made. From their stories, you may just be inspired to try a few new approaches of your own. 

Experiment with tools that fit your business. With a manufacturing team in China, development staff in Boston and the Bay Area, and a main office in Atlanta, Yale Zhang, CEO of mobile wearables provider Safe Heart faced a challenge that’s especially common in businesses with virtual offices and offsite providers: The struggle to work cohesively. Though they’d experimented all of the free and popular collaboration tools, he says they didn’t bond as a unified team until they installed the collaborative tool “Slack” (which recently earned the designation of fastest startup in history to reach a $2 billion valuation). “We use it to create several private groups to chat amongst our different teams around the world. Our employees also create their own channel to chat, and keep up to date with one another. It has really brought the team together and added ‘street cred’ to our business, ” says Zhang.

Document your collective knowledge. Keeping all your business knowledge in your head makes it nearly impossible to delegate, optimize the productivity of your staff, and allow them to feel engaged and accountable. Gabriel Aluisy, the founder of Shake Creative, created an online wiki for his company’s internal knowledge base, policies and procedures to solve for all of those issues. “It has helped centralize all of our knowledge and assets in a searchable database that can be accessed anywhere,” says Aluisy.

Embrace your story. Sharing the story of your businesses set it business apart from the competition, and helps form the common ground with your audience that’s required to form the relationships that lead to customer referrals, and loyalty.

When mother of two Louise Miner shared that the inspiration for her product Rip n Go (a detachable, waterproof, machine-washable absorbent pad for kids who have nighttime accidents) was borne out of many lost nights of sleep with her bedwetting children, business boomed. “When we started to tell our story instead of focusing on the product, people took an interest. It helped us get a tremendous amount of public relations coverage, too” says Tarique Kahn who leads business development for the company.

Position yourself as an expert. If you have information that someone else doesn’t and can benefit from, you’re a valuable resource. Don’t discount the value of sharing what you know on social media and online publishing platforms like LinkedIn, and Reddit. Likewise, remember that your physical presence still has bearing in boosting your perceived industry authority. Bob Bentz, president of Advanced Telecom Service credits actively participating as a speaker at various trade shows as one of the reasons he was able to grow his start-up with no outside public funding into one that does more than $60 million in annual sales.

Schedule time with your businesses finances. Managing business finances can be a challenge—especially when the “down time” you need to focus on them never seems to come. Jenelle Augustin, the founder of RESTore Silk, says scheduling every Friday at noon as the time she will update her business finances without interruption made tax time far more manageable, and ultimately, equipped her to make more informed business decisions. “Now it’s exciting to sit down with all of my expenses fresh in my head and go through my fabric, labor, shipping, and expenses,” says Augustin.

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