3 Things Small Business Owners Can Learn from Training Camp
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Just days before the pre-season kickoffs and the (sort of) start of football season, some members of the FreeEnterprise.com team had the opportunity to attend a session of the Redskins pre-season training camp. While normally a time for NFL teams to acclimate themselves to new teammates and systems, and get back into shape, we here at FreeEnterprise.com thought there were some interesting lessons to be learned for the small business owner.
Setting Goals: “I think everybody would agree with me on the team that expectations for us can be no lower than getting to the Super Bowl…Everybody should have that goal. If you don’t have that goal, then it’s like a defeatist type of mindset” said Houston Texans defensive end Antonio Smith in a recent interview with the AP. While many agree the Texans have a shot at this year’s Super Bowl, it helps that they are already setting that goal.
Goals need to be specific if we have any chance of accomplishing them. In a 2010 survey of small business owners, over 80% said that they don't keep track of their business goals. Even if they are as lofty as making it to the Super Bowl – it’s important to give yourself a benchmark of success and something to strive for.
Try New Lineups: After years of speculation, the Green Bay Packers’ Charles Woodson will officially switch from cornerback to safety this year. While the change isn’t too drastic – he will continue to create turnovers and make plays- the switch is designed to help prolong Woodson’s career and ultimately the Packer’s season.
Like the Packers, you can use these slow summer months to try out new strategies to see how they will work for your business. Have you thought about how to boost your search engine results? Wondering if you should get on Pintrest? There are plenty of ways to shake up your business and the summer slow-down is the perfect time to explore a new area. Try checking out the classes at a local community college or library, or visit your local chamber of commerce for seminars on new business and marketing strategies.
Don’t Be Afraid to Make Some (Smart) Cuts: Those of you who watch HBO’s "Hard Knocks," a documentary series that follows the Miami Dolphins through training camp, know the heartbreak that goes into cutting players. Last week’s episode introduced us to undrafted rookie offensive lineman Derrick Dennis. While Dennis was clearly excited to be at his first NFL training camp, viewers already knew the Dolphins had decided he was going to be cut. As unfortunate as that was for Dennis, it was for the better good of the team.
Before you jump to layoffs, be sure to try other cost cutting moves, like improvements in inventory and working capital. According to a recent survey published in CFO magazine, when looking to save money, only 17% of the midsize companies cut inventories, but those that did so saved an average of almost $520,000. While layoffs were much more popular — 47% of midsize companies cut staff or management — the reductions saved much less - an average of just $400,000.