West Points

Friday, October 1, 2010

Keeping the Balance

By Heather Gurewitz
Mendocino Women's Business Center Director

No matter what we do, or how good we are at what we do, there is always a need for refreshers, updates, learning time. That's what the annual Association for Small Business Development Center's Conference is for West Company staff. For one week each year, our staff travel to the destination in which hundreds of business consultants from across the country share strategies, secrets, and tips for improving our ability to serve our clients.

Over the three days of training, we have to choose from marketing, finance, accounting, management, and leadership courses offered by various centers. My strategy going in is to find the workshops that hit my weak spots. For example, I steer clear of social media marketing workshops, and I bee-line for the accounting. However, after 6 hours of taxes, balance sheets, and cash flows the first day, I realized that I was hitting to heavy in one area and I had to remind myself of what I teach my clients:

You have to think holistically about business, the most key part of business is not finance, marketing, or product, its BALANCE. You may be great a making formulas, adding numbers, and subtracting numbers, but if you forget the marketing piece, you won't have any numbers to mess with. Conversely, if you are a cracker-jack marketer you can have millions of dollars in sales and have zero profits. You can even end up with net losses. So, the big reminder to me of the conference, is that there is never a silver bullet, for me or for my clients. It's an integrated process, and the more you put yourself off balance, the more you leave your business at risk of failure.

As for me, I had to mix it up a bit. So while I definitely got some great new tools to use in financial management, my brain is now chalk full of market data, decision making strategies, and all kinds of facts and figures to help Mendocino Coast businesses and start ups. Over the next few blog posts I will be following up with topics inspired by the ASBDC conference.

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