The Small Business Check-up

An examination before you move to the next level

Ailment: You company lacks customers.
Prognosis: The company is inconsistent with business practices.

Prescription: A business owner should be selling, delivering on what the company sold, and developing the product all at the same time, Pledger says. If a business spends all of its resources on one client then it is not only neglecting potential clients, but also the day-to-day responsibilities that help build their brand.

A business must consistently work on developing every area of the business including accounting, marketing, and employee relations so that it can maintain the quality of its products or services. One way to accomplish that is to meet or exceed the expectations of returning customers. Lowering the standards of a product or service after the product launch is one way to disappoint returning customers and keep them from coming back.

Ailment: Contracts and critical assignments are not fulfilled.
Prognosis: The owner is trying to do too much on his own.

Prescription: Hire expert employees and learn to say no to contracts or business propositions that do not match your company’s mission. Small business owners sometimes don’t trust their employees enough because they think no one knows better than they do what is best for their business. “You can not grow and do it all [on your own],” Pledger says.

Also, don’t try to cut corners when it comes to professional help, Pledger says. The difference between a bookkeeper and a certified public accountant will make a world of difference come tax time. Hire competent people that understand your industry. Once you put the right people in place you have to trust them and know when to let them do their jobs.

Also, take time off and get away from your business once in a while. Otherwise you will begin to lose your enthusiasm, which will affect your customers and employees. “Entrepreneurs very rarely say no because they are always chasing the next dollar,” says Edmondson. “Sometimes the next dollar can be [found by] getting rest and relaxation.”


Small Business Administration – Small Business Training Network

U.S. Chamber of Commerce – Small Business Library

SCORE -Counselors to America’s Small Business

Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship

The Kauffman Foundation of Entrepreneurship

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    Small businesses push the economy; they are now considered the backbone of the economy. The Andersons are doing their part to bring to shine the light on black businesses.
    We need Black Enterprise and Our World to do a piece on what small businesses are actually doing to survive the economic downturn. Esp as we approach the holiday season. Please contact me ASAP.

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  • Elie

    Tennessee Williams’ talents seem to peak in the 1950s and 1960s; his work of the 1970s met with ever inrceasing critical and audience disinterest. Created three years before his death, the 1980 CLOTHES FOR A SUMMER HOTEL was indicative of his later failures: a large cast, technically complex show that left even hardcore Williams fans yawning in the aisles. August Strindberg (1849-1912) is Sweden’s greatest playwright, and he exerted a powerful influence over such 20th Century dramatists as Eugene O’Neil, Arthur Miller, Edward Albee, and Tennessee Williams. Toward the end of his life, Strindberg wrote several dramas that he described as ghost plays plays that abandoned linear narrative for the surreal logic of dreams. It is a notion that Williams uses for much for CLOTHES OF A SUMMER HOTEL, but while Williams was noted for his poetic and often dreamy style, this wholesale dreamscape does not come naturally to him, and the result is both awkward and tiresome. The play itself focuses on the legendary mis-match of novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald and his inrceasingly insane wife Zelda Sayer Fitzgerald. The marriage was disastrous for both. Scott based many of his characters on Zelda; she in turn began to write; and the two began to compete over which had the write to use her life as material. By all accounts Zelda had a unique way with words, but while her writings are riddled with poetic turns of phrase, the gift did not translate into anything that approached sustained narrative. Nonetheless, there has always been an underground notion that Fitzgerald suffocated Zelda’s creativity and that this drove her to madness. The play opens very much in ghost play mode, with Fitzgerald, now near the end of his life and suffering from heart problems, visiting Zelda at her North Carolina sanitarium. The characters find it difficult to articulate themselves, and their difficulties are furthered by a wind that tends to sweep their words away unless they shout. After a point, the play seques into the past to present a largely linear narrative of Zelda’s infamous affair with a French aviator in the 1920s; along the way it also presents, with occasional ghost play embellishments, a few of the more famous individuals in the Fitzgerald social circle, including Gerald and Sara Murphy, Mrs. Patrick Campbell, and most notably Ernest Hemmingway. In the process of this narrative, Williams not only presents Zelda’s affair, he refurnishes the rumor that Fitzgerald and Hemmingway were homosexuals who were unable to cope with that fact and who ultimately despised each other because their meetings made them aware of this fact. Toward the end of the play, Williams returns to ghost play mode: the characters are once again seen at the asylum, once again unable to communicate in any meaningful way, and the play itself ends in stalemate without emotional resolution of any kind beyond the certainty that Scott will soon be dead of heart failure and that Zelda will eventually die in a fire that swept through the facility years after Fitzgerald’s death. Although it has a few moments here and there, CLOTHES FOR A SUMMER HOTEL does not hang together in any overall sense. It is easy to see how Williams was drawn to the subject of the Fitzgeralds he often depicted women driven to the extreme edges of life but he fails to find either factual or artistic truth in his portraits, which are at best superficial. Unless you are determined to read every single thing Williams ever wrote, this is one title you can skip over. GFT, Amazon Reviewer