14 Ways to Grow Your Business in 2014

Posted on: Dec 03, 2013

Categories: Speaking

Grow Your BusinessThe Curtis Zimmerman Group recently was honored to receive the “2013 Best of Business Award” by the Small Business Community Association (SBCA).

What was interesting to me about this is SBCA’s mission statement: “helping others understand that running a business is an obtainable goal and that everyone should try their best at living their dreams.”

Notice the last three words: “living their dreams.” My goal is to help others live their dreams as well, and because I’m often asked for the steps to developing a speaking business, I’d like to give you some basic business philosophies you can adapt to succeed as an entrepreneur or small business owner:

1) Would you say 50% of all new small businesses fail, or 50% of all new business succeed? Depending on how you answered that tells me whether or not you should open a new small business.

2) Look at what everyone else is doing and do the opposite.

3) Understand why most people’s understanding of “job security” is flawed. Most people think that working for a large company provides better security, but whenever you work for someone else, one person can fire you. As an entrepreneur, I have hundreds of clients and hundreds of streams of income. If I present for one client and they choose not to have me back the following year, I still have the other 99 companies to fall back on. So think with your head, not your insecurity: who has the more secure job?

4) Do not become an entrepreneur or small business owner to work less and make more. That’s called a “wantapreneur.” Become an entrepreneur to do what you’re passionate about and to love what you do everyday, even if it means 70-hour work weeks.

5) For 25 years I was successful in show business, because I understood that business is the bigger word. If you have the best products and services, but you don’t run it like a business, you will never succeed, no matter how great your product is.

6) Passion supersedes natural ability. You can’t sell what you don’t have. If you’re not excited, passionate, and fully invested in your products or services, neither will your employees, customers, or family members be. Make sure you’re fully committed and ready to do the work before you ask others to join you.

7) Treat your employees and customers like you would hope to be treated. I often ask executives, “Would you like to work for you?”

8) If you are currently in a job you don’t like, don’t quit and then decide what to do. Start your new business as a part-time job while maintaining the one you currently have. When it makes financial sense, you can leave the job you have and work full-time on your dream.

9) Always over-deliver. I mean ALWAYS. It’s the only way to separate you from the herd.

10) Set out to work in an industry with people you would like to invite to a BBQ at your house. A big part of owning your own business should be to spend time with people you appreciate and would like to have lasting relationships with.

11) Understand that most businesses have a sale cycle — the time it takes you to acquire a sale. Also, there is always a busy season and a slow season. Budgeting is everything to be successful. I can take you to Macy’s on a Tuesday in March and there will be 20 people in the store. I can also take you on December 23, and there will be 3,000 people in the store. When you have a  great month, don’t immediately buy a new car, hire a new employee, or move into a bigger building. Understand your sale cycle before making these financial decisions and you’ll succeed.

12) Always be honest.

13) If you quit your job today, began a business, and it failed, could you go back to your old life in a year from now, working in the same industry and making the same salary? In most cases, the answer is “yes.” If you can always go back to the life you had, what are you really risking?

14) Finally, do the “Retirement Home Challenge.” When you’re retired and looking back on your life, will you be okay with having never tried to become the executive director, entrepreneur, or having gone backpacking through Europe. If the answer is yes, stop reading this and get back to work for your boss.

You only get so many days on the planet to be the person you want and do the things you love. What are you waiting for?

Encouraging Your Dream,



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