Extra Edition / Business Management

Five Tips to Take Your Business to the Next Level

Almost on a daily basis, news reports detail the marketplace factors that can affect businesses large and small. No matter what potentially game-changing information is coming out of Washington, D.C., though, there are winning strategies that not only endure but should be part of every workplace’s culture, says financial expert and small-business advocate Chris Hurn.

“With some merit, analysts are always reviewing contingencies that may change investments by businesses; most recently, the ‘fiscal cliff.’ But there are many ways to invest in your own business regardless of the economic climate,” said Hurn, author of The Entrepreneur’s Secret to Creating Wealth: How the Smartest Business Owners Build Their Fortunes.

Hurn offers five tips for business owners and entrepreneurs to help make 2013 a transformative year:

Consider buying: After a business has survived three to six years and is stable, commercial property ownership is a natural next step with benefits that new entrepreneurs often overlook, said Hurn. Ownership is a path to more stability and long-term wealth, and the government program administered by the Small Business Administration — SBA 504 — offers long-term financing at below-market fixed rates.

Self-investment: Often in business, one measure of strength reflects your strength of character, so invest in yourself. Identify business books that focus on areas you need to develop or lessons shared by successful business people you admire. Commit to reading at least one per month.

Company culture: Your company’s culture has a lot to do with your success. Come up with three ideas that will improve your company’s culture and take action on them. Improved health, the most universal resolution, can have a profoundly positive impact on the workplace, from boosting morale to increasing productivity.

Refresh/jumpstart marketing: Identify three new marketing initiatives that you can implement on a regular and ongoing basis. Start small and track which ideas seem to have teeth. Remember — repetition and consistency are keys here.

Become an authority in your field: Research industry publications (such as The NEWS) and pitch yourself as a media source. This can net you some free PR. Also focus on local media outlets — become a familiar name so they can turn to you as a reliable source. You have to convince contacts that you know your stuff and that you’re available to comment when there’s news to report. If you simply don’t have time for this, consider investing in a reasonably-priced PR firm.

Chris Hurn is CEO and co-founder of Mercantile Capital Corp. based in Orlando, Fla. He graduated from Loyola University Chicago with two magna cum laude bachelor’s degrees and earned his master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s Fels Institute (formerly at the Wharton School of Business). For more information on his book, The Entrepreneur’s Secret to Creating Wealth: How the Smartest Business Owners Build Their Fortunes, visit www.theentrepreneurssecretbook.com.

Publication date: 4/8/2013

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