Fri07252014

Business & Real Estate

Local author pens book with tips for small-business owners during tough times

Photo Photo Courtesy Of Heather Lussier Los Altos resident Heidi BK Sloss offers advice for small businesses in her new book, "Fortune is in the Follow-Up."
Los Altos resident Heidi BK Sloss has parlayed her 30-plus years’ experience with successful small businesses into a new book, “Fortune is in the Follow-Up: Five POWER Strategies to Grow Your Business” (Bush Street Press, 2011). The book outlines problems plaguing small-business owners and entrepreneurs, and addresses how they can be solved with simple, time-tested strategies.


Sloss said she got the idea for the book after coaching many small-business owners who were “frustrated and overwhelmed – all movement and no momentum.”

“They didn’t have a plan in place,” she said. “They’re running around like chickens without their heads.” Ultimately, the reason some businesses don’t succeed is not the condition of the economy, Sloss said – it’s themselves.

Excuses about lack of time to plan and presumptions about rejection from clients feed into poorly functioning businesses.

In fact, the title of the book has to do with one of the key factors in succeeding or failing. “If I could just follow up, I could make some money,” said Sloss, echoing the mindset of some business people who do their initial networking. “But they don’t.

They think a connection will happen, but it doesn’t happen unless they make it happen.” Sloss said business owners attending a networking event should not only be out to get business, but also be open to give business to others – after all, others are at the event for the same reason.

Establishing strong relationships was key to Sloss and her father in their successful menswear manufacturing business, an enterprise they started in the 1980s with virtually no investment capital. Handling rejection – or the fear of it – is also vital to sinking or swimming in the small-business world.

“We talk ourselves out of more business than we talk ourselves into,” Sloss said. Her book explores the sales process and taking action. “If you get rejected, ask why,” Sloss said. “Say, ‘I would like to learn from this.’” Don’t be intimidated by the economy, Sloss added.

In some industries, she said, “there is less competition than four years ago ... this (time) is a great opportunity to be a small-business owner.” Another major factor is planning. Sloss said business owners who are struggling “need to commit to doing something different.”

This includes setting aside adequate time for planning and strategizing. “What’s going to be the new information sharing?” she suggested as one of the questions businesses should consider. “What are we going to do 10 years from now? And think backwards.”

Involved in small-business coaching for more than 10 years, Sloss has done everything from running a successful real estate business in the Midwest, which she sold in 2008, to working for an international non-profit.

“What’s happening now, with the book, is (coaching) more on a speaker basis,” she said.

“Fortune is in the Follow-Up” is available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble online (BN.com).

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