Simple Problems: Simple Solutions

By: Jan Bolick

The facilitator for the April meeting of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce Small Business Roundtable was Tori Williams Reid, Ph.D., co-owner of Right at Home – Durham/Chapel Hill, an in-home care and assistance company.

During a session entitled,  Simple Problems Simple Solutions, Tori invited participants to share current business problems and then for each one, she led a discussion on potential solutions.At the end, she asked participants to share aha moments – things they had done that had changed their business.

I didn’t attend the roundtable planning to write an article about it, but left thinking that there were a lot of good business tips that could be valuable to others.  So here goes.   I don’t claim it to be a complete list of all ideas mentioned during the session, and can’t give credit to each individual for his/her contributions so will simply thank all participants of the Small Business Roundtable for these great ideas and reminders that can help all of us do better business.

  1. Make the most of networking opportunities.

a.  Choose one or two groups or methods of networking rather than spreading yourself too thin.
b.  Evaluate periodically to determine which groups and methods are delivering the best results.
c.  Have a goal in mind for each networking event (examples: meet a particular person or meet people in a particular industry).
d.  Follow up. (item#2biii may be needed for this).
e.  Be helpful.  Be a connector.  In other words, focus on helping others instead of getting what you want/need.
f.  Tell the same story (marketing message) every time.

2.  Regarding processes…

a.  Put all your to do’s in one place (like Google calendar).
b.  Let go of details so you can do the most important things for you to do (like those listed in #3-7 below).  Ways to let go of details:
i.  Hire a bookkeeper.
ii.  Hire a payroll company.
iii.  Hire an assistant.
c.  Always be checking your systems to make sure they are working.

3.  Get support /input/ideas from others. Sources mentioned:
a.  Business coach from SBTDC (Small Business & Technology Development Center) – it’s free!
b.  Business coach from SCORE (Service Corps Of Retired Executives).  Also free!
c.  A coach/consultant/expert from your industry.
d.  Shark Tank, a reality show which features business pitches from aspiring entrepreneurs to a   panel of potential investors.
e.  Entre Dot whose tagline is “Helping Entrepreneurs Connect the Dots”
f.  Linked in

4.  Ask for the business.  Yes!  It can be a scary thing to do! More on this below.

5.  Send a thank you card even if you don’t get the business.  It’s polite. It’s unusual. People will remember you!

6.  How to get the confidence to ask for the business?
a.  Know your product.
b.  Work on personal development every day.  Tips and sources mentioned included:
i.  Shoot for 30 minutes/day for reading, watching, listening to positive, instructional, inspirational material.

                     ii.  Use your car as a classroom (for listening, not watching, reading or writing).

iii.  Mentioned as sources:
1.  Business Class Quote of the Week (I am not the one who mentioned this – I promise!)
2.  Mike’s Minute. To sign up for Mike’s Minute for “Daily Inspiration, Personal  Development and Business Savvy”, send an e-mail

 7.  Have a daily goal(based on your conversion rate) of how many people you need to call, meet, speak with, present to, etc.  Make it a process…a daily routine.

The more you do this, the more confidence you develop, the easier it will be to ask for whatever you need and the more people will say YES!


Good tips from a collection of 20 or so business owners in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area….good for businesses everywhere!

Many of the tips are about doing certain things over and over.
Not a lot of things, but just a few.
Not frantically or forcefully, but consistently.
And all of that influenced my selection of  the Business Class Leadership Quote of the Week.

Waving goodbye for now.

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