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September 16, 2016

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The three keys to small business success

January 21, 2016

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Do 'big league' startup rules apply to small businesses?

February 10, 2016

I don't know about you, but I'm a HUGE Shark Tank fan!


Thanks to the success of ABC's TV show Shark Tank, "shark"/investor Mark Cuban is a household name. Cuban's extensive involvement with startups has earned him his reputation as a seasoned expert. 


I stumbled across this graphic the other day in an article Cuban wrote back in 2012, just as Shark Tank began to gain notoriety. Based on his experience, Cuban made a list of 12 rules for startups. 


Cuban works with large startup companies that are looking for equity financing, meaning they go on Shark Tank to offer an ownership percentage of their business in exchange for funding. Most of these businesses value themselves at more than $1 million, though some exaggerate their numbers and risk the sharks calling their bluff (which is always fun to watch). 


But for many small businesses, it can take YEARS to acheive a million dollar valuation. 


I wondered, do his rules still apply to the small business startups clients we work with at AMI?



The answer, for the most part, is yes! Here's my breakdown: 



Rule 1: Don't start a company unless it's an obsession and something you love

Small business verdict: Still true!


Getting a small business off the ground takes time, energy and a whole lot of effort. You gotta love what you do to make your business successful! 


Rule 2: If you have an exit strategy, it's not an obsession

Small business verdict: FALSE, keep the exit strategy.


Many small business owners invest personal savings to start their business. It's important to know at what point your business becomes an expensive hobby rather than profitable. Not every business succeeds, and that's ok! What's important is knowing when to stop pouring your own money into a sinking ship. Exit strategies are a healthy way to make sure your small business venture doesn't take you to bankruptcy court. 


Rule 3: Hire people who you think will love working there.

Small business verdict: True


Knowing when to take your business from one-person to multi-person is tricky. But when you do hire, hiring passionate employees will always help your business succeed. 


Rule 4: Sales cure all. 

Small business verdict: True


 Businesses exist to sell. More sales means more customers and a growing business!


Rule 5: Know your core competencies and focus on being great at them