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Top 10 SME techniques and other tips
Illustrations by Frantz Arno Salvador
Jun 26, 2012
Like most corporate executives, owners of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) guard their business secrets zealously, sometimes to the point of not wanting any publicity for their companies.
Among other reasons for shunning the spotlight, they fear that copycats might steal their proprietary ideas and practices and create rival enterprises that could edge them out of the market.
Among these cautious CEOs is an entrepreneur whose company is one of the best peforming SMEs.On condition of not being identified, he agreed to share with the new generation of entrepreneurs the lessons he has learned from running his various businesses for many years now.
Here are his strategies:
1. Think long term
As one who had inherited his father's business, he believes that new owners of a business should realize early enough that they will be in it for the long haul.
"To realize profits in a business sometimes takes more than five years," he says. "You have to first prove yourself to your customer before you could even get a foot in his or her door. And even if you find it easy to get in, it could also be easy to get thrown out.Also, you have to be like a chess player, able to think several moves ahead. Being shortsighted is very costly in business."
2. Let your lieutenants run the shop
He believes that although an owner should really know his business inside and out, he should not spend too much time in its day-to-day operations. The company's managers can do this while the owner uses his time- at least a third of his time each day, he says -- doing research and development, thinking of ways to grow the business and to do it better. "Imagine your role as the conductor of an orchestra, creating an ensemble of sound," he explains.
3. Use technology to stay in touch
He says that the business landscape has improved dramatically with the development of mobile technology and the Internet, such that a businessman today can always stay connected, make decisions, and close deals even when he's out of the office. "A CEO can now operate even without a secretary or a physical office, and he no longer needs to type out letters or carry documents with his either," he says.
4. Connections are still important
Even in this era of instant messaging, he says, it's still worthwhile to cultivate friendships and business alliances because it will help a businessman find leads for getting more business. "Before, an opportunity would find a person," he says."Today, you have to find that opportunity, and showing up in person is one way to do it."
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