It’s Small Business, Stupid!

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Here at Sandbox Suites, we love our small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs. Turns out, many others do too. In recent months, people like Bill Clinton, Brink Lindsay, and Jonathan Ortmans have underscored the importance of supporting small businesses to spur economic growth.

We sat down with David Mish, a Berkeley Sandboxer, business coach, and founder of In-Context LLC, to find out more about why small businesses are so important right now, what determines their success, and what he is doing to help.

As a business coach, what do you do? 

I work with business leaders (CEOs, entrepreneurs, VP, physicians, etc.) to design their business for success. I provide them with independent perspective and tools. For some, it is helpful to have periodic check-ins to be sure that they are on track with their business and personal goals.

How has our current economic situation affected people’s careers and professional decision-making?

No doubt about it, this business cycle has been tough.  Most important is to remember that it is a business CYCLE and there will be a corresponding upturn. Note though, each business sector has its own timing; some are even thriving right now.  For those who are prepared, this is a great time to start a business.

What are some key steps that a startup, small business, or entrepreneur must take in order to have the best chance at success?

First, figure out your position in the marketplace. What makes your offer unique?  How can potential buyers cut through all the clutter to choose you? In this business cycle leaders must have fanatical focus on progress and focus in the right areas. I suggest that readily available systems be adopted. Web and software-as-a-service has transformed what small and medium enterprises can do—often on par with the big guys now.

What are the major risks and benefits of starting your own business?

I have always liked the approach taken by Robert Kiyosaki (Rich Dad, Poor Dad and Cashflow Quadrant).  He views that being employed is higher risk than running a business.  I agree, but it is a roller coaster.  You must be prepared to fail. I have heard some say that entrepreneurs have to fail twice before success. You will work harder than you ever thought you would.  You will have sleepless nights.  There are times you will need to swallow your pride and admit mistakes and move on. But, you have control over your time and future. There are also the financial benefits that come from owning your own business (please consult your accountant on this topic!).

How does the state of this sector of the economy affect our country’s broader economic well-being?

It is so often claimed that success of the country is dependent upon the small/medium business sector as a growth engine. We employ a significant percentage of the population and small firms are more often than not the source of innovation. I just wish that the banks and others would lighten up and make cash more available.

What excites you about getting to be involved in this on a day-to-day basis? 

No doubt, the innovation and excitement of bringing new ideas forward!

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