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Becky Brownlee

Brownlee: Make sure you build your customer profile

There is not a business out there that sells its products or services to everyone. While I find this shocking, some people really don’t like chocolate. So, if you aren’t selling chocolate to everyone, who exactly are you selling it to? The 80/20 rule suggests that 80 percent of your sales are coming from 20 percent of your customers. In my experience, that is a pretty good estimate, although in some cases it looks more like a 90/10 rule.

Brownlee: Be smart about starting a business

January is the time of year when we see a lot of individuals wanting to start a business.

Planning key to growth beyond first business years

Growth requires planning. One of the most important items to have in your business is the business plan. Many business owners have a great business concept but have not taken the time to think about the details of their operations on all of the components of their business.

BROWNLEE: Tracing your costly business DOWNTIME

Downtime might sound heavenly for a small business owner who hasn’t had a vacation in 2 years, but DOWNTIME is a lean six sigma acronym for eight business wastes that may be costing you money.

Brownlee: How do you lead - a choice of style

Recently I was teaching a class that was in part centered on organizational leadership. Of course, we had the all familiar discussions that an organization is only as good as its leaders’ vision and direction must trickle down from the top, great leaders are made not born, etc.

BROWNLEE: Lessons from a small business owner

There is certainly no shortage of business advice out there, and I read just about everything I come across. But sometimes it leaves me scratching my head and wondering who exactly is the person giving the advice and have they ever actually owned a small business.

BROWNLEE: Smart steps for a new business

Many people dream of owning their own business, and many of them are successful. Unfortunately, some are not. Thorough planning is critical, so let’s look at some of the things that should be considered.

BROWNLEE: The case for strategic planning

I love the saying “failing to plan is planning to fail.” I think most would agree that it’s true, but as a small business owner, do you actually have a plan?

Many of you started with a business plan to explain the viability and need for your business and to possibly secure funding. 

BROWNLEE: Employee or independent contractor?

I recently provided five of my top HR tips to a local magazine. My No. 4 tip was “Don’t misclassify employees as independent contractors to avoid payroll taxes or worker’s compensation insurance. Violations of wage and labor laws can result in costly fines and penalties.”

BROWNLEE: Answer these questions before spending on ads

A lot of people confuse the terms “marketing” and “advertising” and often think they are the same. This can be a costly mistake since businesses spend hefty amounts to advertise their products or services. Let’s take a look at the differences between the two.

BECKY BROWNLEE: Sometimes, business location isn't everything

“Location, location, location” is a phrase that we are all familiar with when it comes to real estate. As a business owner, choosing the right location can be critical to your success but it is much more involved than just identifying a prime space, building or piece of real estate.

BECKY BROWNLEE: For businesses, customer service equals dollars

All businesses, product and service based, have customers. The lifecycle of customers for your business varies by industry, but some attrition is natural, which means that businesses are always in pursuit of new customers.

Should I buy a franchise? What to consider

If you’re thinking about buying a franchise, it’s important to understand the franchise system and then decide whether you will be happy operating a business within that system. This is by no means a complete list, but here are some important things to consider.