Jim Oberholtzer – Bio
Prior to joining the Advantage+ team, Jim and his family opened a small restaurant in Waukesha, Wisconsin. After four years as an owner/operator, Jim decided to pursue his MBA at Marquette University and soon after started his career with Advantage+. “I love knowing that the financing we offer at Advantage+ can truly help small businesses” said Jim, “Watching our customer’s come back to us time and time again to help their businesses expand and grow is fulfilling because it makes me feel like a part of their success.”
3 Things I Wish I Knew When Starting a Small Business
By Jim Oberholtzer
1) Hire and recruit based on your company culture, not just skills.
For many small business owners, their company is a life-long dream and passion to manage the business their way and to offer a product or personalized service that larger companies do not. With their business model comes a unique and dynamic culture that is constantly evolving.
Granted, experience and skills are incredibly important when reviewing a prospective candidate. Those with little or no experience and underdeveloped skills tend to extend the training time and training costs. On the other hand, a highly skilled prospect who doesn’t fit the company culture will likely turn over, creating long term costs of rehiring and lost sales due to a temporary shortage in labor resources. Look for someone with the right personality and attitude that aligns with the company’s mission and goals. They’ll be more eager to learn and adapt, especially if they’re provided opportunities for continued growth and success.
2) Limit your vendors.
When a new business opens, vendors come out of the woodwork offering products and services that may or may not help your business succeed. If you are not careful, your company will spend hours a week dealing with these vendors, likely with unproductive results. Every attempt should be made to scale down the number of vendors. Long-standing relationships with a select few can then be built. These relationships lead to mutual and profitable growth for the vendor and the company. The vendor is able to supply resources to your company, while increasing your company’s value to that vendor. This places your company in a better position for price negotiations and special requests. In addition, you will spend less time doing accounts payable and more time improving your business.
3) Market wisely.
Small businesses are inundated with marketing and promotional offers every week promising to get your company’s name out to thousands of people. The truth is, not everyone is a viable customer. In the first year of my family’s business, we spent thousands of dollars on print ads and marketing promotions only to find that most of our new customers had been referred to us by a current customer. Create and develop your own internal email contact list. Send birthday month coupons or weekly specials and your customers will bring new business to you. And do not forget your website! For most businesses, your website should be your largest marketing expenditure as it provides the greatest impact both in reach and dollars spent. Be sure it tells exactly why your company is the right choice. Internal promotions keep your current customers coming back while your web presence will help you find new ones.