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Good Business Advice™

For Small, Really Small & One-Person Businesses

From Free Agents to Entrepreneurs including:

  • Artists, Musicians, Inventors, Makers, and Cause-Driven Nonprofits
  • Healthcare, Legal, and Business Professionals
  • Small and Very Small Hotels, Restaurants, and Spas
  • Small Manufacturers, Wholesale Distributors, and Retailers
CW (Claude Whitmyer)

What Is Good Business Advice?

Brooms for sale.

Good Business Advice™ helps you start or run a business that:

  • Does right by your partners and workers.
  • Delivers the highest quality products and services to your customers or clients.
  • Supports local causes and gives back to your community.
  • And gives you meaningful work while still making a profit.

With Good Business Advice you can:

  • Quickly reduce expenses.
  • Maximize revenues and profits.
  • Improve your management and trade skills.
  • "Recession proof" your business.
  • And minimize the pain of growth and change.

FAQ: Starting and Running a Good Business

The following are the questions I'm most often asked in my work as a career guide and business consultant.
  1. What Will It Take to Launch My Idea? (Any creative project, cause-based initiative or money-making enterprise?)

    • Challenge: I've been thinking about starting a business. Do I have what it takes?

    • Solution: Self Assessment is the best place to start. In my book Running a One-Person Business, the first chapter, "One-Person Business Owners—A Unique Group," includes a seven-page section on "tradeskill," a concept first introduced by my co-authors Salli Rasberry and Michael Phillips in their earlier book "Honest Business." It's a brief introduction to the idea that, as with many arts, crafts or other skills-based activities, business requires a cluster of behaviors and attitudes that are vital to your success. This cluster of behaviors and attitudes is what they labeled tradeskill. Like language and other things, tradeskill is easiest to acquire when you are young. If you were lucky enough to have grown up in a family business or to have begun your worklife in a job that exposed you to the behind the scenes running of a business, you likely already have many of the "tradeskills" necessary to run a business or most project, for that matter. Phillips and Rasberry's original concept included these seven attributes:
      • Being persistent
      • Facing the facts
      • Minimizing risks
      • Being a hands-on learner
      • Being good with numbers (or at least, unafraid of them)
      • Being organized and Being able to read carefully
      Personally, I found tradeskill to be the single concept most correlated with success in any kind of project, initiative or enterprise. From my earliest introduction to the idea, I begin observing my clients and others with several questions in mind, including:
      • Who has tradeskill? Who does not?
      • Can people teach or learn tradeskill?
      • What other behavioral clusters might be included in a list of the most critical tradeskills?
      I published the results of my findings in an ebook, along with an instrument you can use to assess your own level of tradeskill and use your assessment to create a plan to take advantage of your strong tradeskills and to strengthen those that were weak. Check out Running a Good Business: Self-Assessment for Tradeskill on the Smashwords site. It's free.

  2. Will My Idea Work?

    • Challenge: I have a great idea for a killer product, service, focus or speciality. How can I tell if my idea will work as a business?

    • Solution: Market research to clarify the audience and product testing with potential customers.

  3. Which Niche Does My Idea Fit?

    • Challenge: I've researched the industry, done my testing and have narrowed my idea to the marketplace niche it best fits. How do I get started building it into a business?

    • Solution: Take care of the legal stuff. Draft a marketing or business plan. Recruit key team members and advisers. Check out my ebook Start-Up and Legal Matters available from Smashwords for 2 bucks.

  4. How Can I Finance My Idea?

    • Challenge: I've chosen my legal form, completed my business plan, identified or gotten commitments from my most important team members, advisers and other key stakeholders. How can I finance the start-up phase of my business idea?

    • Solution: Identify the right sources of financing for your business. Start by learning about crowdfunding, but also take a look at alternative sources like family and friends or fans and supporters.

  5. What Should I Charge?

    • Challenge: I have obtained financing and begun producing my products or services. What are the best prices for my products or services?

    • Solution: Check out the section "Pricing Products and Services" in "Chapter 4: Financial Strategies" of my book Running a One-Person Business [Link to Amazon used books–$4 to $11-Used]. (Yes. That book applies to any size business.)

  6. How Can I Move Forward?

    • Challenge: I've finalized my pricing and launched my business, but now I feel overwhelmed and completely out of control. What can I do to get beyond this stage?

    • Solution:

  7. Which Internet and Personal Technologies and what Cloud Tools Should I Use?

    • Challenge: I've heard that the Internet is The Great Equalizer for small businesses and I'd like to learn how to use cloud computing to maximize my resources and build a bigger, better more profitable enterprise. What are the best technology investments for my business?

    • Solution: "Check out Chapter 8: Choosing Office Equipment—High Tech or Low?" in Running a One-Person Business [Link to Amazon used books–$4 to $11-Used]. The sections in that chapter entitled "Evaluating Technology—Fetures versus Cost" and "Questions to Ask About Any Technology" are as applicable today as when the book first came out. (Yes. It applies to any size business.) .

  8. My business has made it beyond the early stages of launch through the first 3 years.

    • Challenge: How can I improve my relationships with employees, independent contractors or subcontractors, vendors and other key stakeholders?

    • Solution: Believe it or not, "Chapter 11: Staying a One-Person Business," will help a lot or at least get you started. It covers related issues such as the need for backup, the importance of clear agreements, the perils of managing others, the importance of good suppliers, and the value of client contracts. "Chapter 10: Emotional Support Systems," is useful too, covering several topics that create a foundation for improving relationships including giving and getting support, the importance of building trust, and taking time off. The book? Again: in Running a One-Person Business [Link to Amazon used books–$4 to $11-Used]. (Yes. It applies to any size business.) .

  9. Should I Stay Small, Grow or Sell?

    • Challenge: My business is well supported by employees, subcontractors, vendors and other key stakeholders including family, friends, fans and supporters. Should I "right size" and maintain a steady state? Or should I grow or sell?

    • Solution: Check out "Chapter 11: Staying a One-Person Business." in Running a One-Person Business [Link to Amazon used books–$4 to $11-Used]. (Yes. It applies to any size business.) This chapter offers a reasoned discussion of the pros and cons of staying small.

  10. How Do I Grow Or Sell?

    • Challenge: I want to expand or sell my business. How should I go about this?

    • Solution: Want to grow? Let's talk. Want to sell? Time to learn more about valuing a business and how to list it with a business broker.

Bonus FAQ

  • Who Will Support Me?

    • Challenge: No matter what stage your business is in, it can be challenging to keep going when the going gets tough. How can I get the personal and emotional support I need to hang in there and, eventually, thrive?

    • Solution: Engage with your tribe. Cultivate emotional support systems. Check out "Chapter 10: Emotional Support Systems" in Running a One-Person Business [Link to Amazon used books–$4 to $11-Used]. (Yes. It applies to any size business.)

Good Business Advice™ has answers for all of these questions. Plus, you can learn how to:

  • Plan and launch a brand new business.
  • Close or turn a failing business around.
  • Expand or sell a successful one.
  • Devise, test and document better policies and procedures.
  • Develop a strategic, operational and marketing plans that work.
  • Find more effective and productive ways to engage customers and clients--even better than display advertising alone.

Good Business Advice improves any business with:

  • Better information handling.
  • Effective time management.
  • Reliable record keeping.
  • Stronger financial controls.
  • Enhanced relationships with suppliers, subcontractors, and employees.

Good Business Advice can do all this and help you stay true to your personal values.

While pursuing Good Business Advice you'll take advantage of

  • Hands-on learning in one-to-one tutorial sessions.
  • Focused learning through a series of online workshop and webinars.
  • Access to a network of like-minded consultants, teachers, and advisors.
  • Online, collaborative learning with other good business owners enrollment in a members-only web portal providing access to
  • Anytime online discussion forums on a wide range of small business topics
  • Multi-media delivery of learning content through Auds, Pods and Vids (audio clips, podcased and videos).
  • A library of ebooks, articles, reports and other learning content available 24/7/365.
  • Anytime playback of video or audio recordings of previous learning events.
  • Access to CW through regularly scheduled online office hours and by appointment when appropriate, as well as telephone, fax and email when needed.
  • Personalized referrals to people and resources that are a part of CW's own network.
  • The extent of these benefits means that Good Business Advice is unmatched by any consulting firm, small or large.

    If you or someone you know wants to own a good business — a business that pays the bills and is good for people and the environment — a business that is not only successful but also gives you more political and ethical freedom — a business that gives you the room to be who you really are — then Good Business Advice is for you.

    CW (Claude Whitmyer) is a long-time member of The Briarpatch, the international network of businesses practicing right livelihood and simple living. Since its inception in 1974 the Briarpatch has uncovered and promoted many sustainable business practices including, for example, social responsibility, the greening of business, employee participation in decision making, open books management, and fun in business. In addition to CW, meaningfulWork.Com enjoys the support and collaboration of other Briarpatch members and makes referrals to them as appropriate to your needs.

    Set up a short, no-obligation phone conversation and learn more about Good Business Advice. Discover if it's right for you! Please send an email or call 415-648-2557.

    With more than 40 years of experience, CW has served hundreds of small and really small businesses as well as teams or departments within corporate, government, healthcare or higher-ed organizations and manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers. CW's clients have ranged in size from just under 100 employees to a multitude of one-person niche businesses.

    To learn more visit What is Good Business Advice? or Who has used Good Business Advice?

    Quick jump to:
     Online Business Advice
     Couples in Business
     Online Learning for Enterprise Builders
     Books on Free Agentry and Entrepreneurship


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    Books on Free Agentry and Entrepreneurship.

    Browse or buy in our affiliate FutureU's Bookstore, where you will find descriptions of dozens of books and tapes that can help you make meaningful choices about your career and life.

    Of special interest are three books written by Claude Whitmyer, co-founder of meaningfulWork.com:

    If you have your own business or wish you did, read Running A One-Person Business (Berkeley: Ten Speed Press, 1994, 2nd edition).

    If you wish your work had greater meaning, read Mindfulness and Meaningful Work: Explorations in Right Livelihood (Berkeley: Parallax Press, 1994).

    If you are looking for ways to be in community, to collaborate, or work in a team, read In the Company of Others: Making Community in the Modern World (Tarcher/Putnam, 1993).

    Online Business Advice.

    We have identified the tools needed to hold online consulting sessions for individuals and entrepreneurial teams. Our approach to online consulting is based on the same methods we and our associates have pioneered with hundreds of socially and environmentally responsible businesses in regular face-to-face consultations. If this interests you, please let us know. For information about the online consulting tools we use, please visit here.

    Couples In Business: Planning To Stay Together™.

    The Mom and Pop shop and the SOHO (small office/home office) are thriving as more couples than ever before are finding ways to work together. Such couple-owned businesses have their share of rewards--and challenges--as we (meaningfulWork.com co-founders Gail Terry Grimes and Claude Whitmyer) well know. To help others meet the challenges and make the most of the rewards, we have created a 3-day planning retreat for couples in business together, or who would like to be. We call it "Planning to Stay Together." Learn more here.

    Online Learning for Enterprise Builders.

    Longtime associate Paul Terry was named Inc. Magazine's Entrepreneurship Educator of the Year in 1995. Now he is helping meaningfulWork.com to create a series of online training courses for entrepreneurs. These courses are based on the methods and materials developed by Mr. Terry and our co-founder Claude Whitmyer over many years. They each and together have presented these ideas and approaches successfully to thousands of small business owners. Here are some courses on the development list, based on topics already successfully delivered in face-to-face classrooms:

    • Do You Have What it Takes to Start Your Own Business?
    • Running a One-Person Business
    • Finding Money for Your Business
    • Developing and Understanding Financial Statements
    • Grass Roots Marketing
    • Selling by Building Relationships
    • "Doing" a Trade Show
    • Writing Your Own Business Plan
    • Writing Your Own Marketing Plan
    • Writing Your Own Strategic Plan
    • Growing Your Business
    • Managing Your Business As If People Matter
    • Building a Professional Service Business

    If you're looking for a learning experience that is more effective than reading a book but takes less time than going to an evening class, you may want to enroll in one of the forthcoming online programs for entrepreneurs, based on our unique values-based approach to business.

    Receive the study materials by mail or online, with optional online discussion groups. Proceed at your own pace. Enroll for the entire program at once or each of eight courses sequentially. To learn more or put your name on the waiting list, write to us.

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