Growing your business and going on-line: six hard lessons so far -- part 2

By Andrew J. Birol, President, Birol Growth Consulting, Inc.

Focus. Accomplish. Grow. ®
Volume 2, Number 10
Wednesday, October 25, 2000

Focus. Accomplish. Grow.® is a newsletter delivered as a free service from PACER Associates, Inc. to clients and friends who need to consider the issues and challenges of finding, keeping and growing customers. If you enjoy reading Pacer Associates’ E-Letter please tell a friend or colleague. Anyone can sign up for a free subscription - simply click here.

In this Issue:

  1. Note From The Editor
  2. October’s Topic: "Associations and Your Business: Six Questions To Ask When Joining" By Andy Birol
  3. Andy’s Anecdotes: "Useful And Funny Observations Heard Over The Years"
  4. Shameless Self-Promotion

Note from the Editor

Dear Friends:

A short note this month about confidence, a factor that drives and dogs all our efforts. Based on our experience and practice, confidence gives each of us the ability to risk what we have and to go for it. It is probably the best thing that comes with age!

Just like individuals, businesses demonstrate confidence. They expand, commit and dedicate themselves to risky actions every day, often as much on instinct as on evidence.

But based on their collective experience and resources, shouldnt businesses have more confidence and take bigger risks? Too often the reverse is true. Why is it that when individuals work together in a business they may have less confidence in taking risks that they each might on their own.

I dont have any clear answers on this, but I wish more companies had more confidence.

Best regards,


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October’s Topic: "Associations and Your Business: Six Questions To Ask When Joining" By Andy Birol

Since the beginning of time businesses have formed groups to help them grow and profit. And business and trade associations have matured into efficient organizations providing tools, knowledge and real value. But today, businesses already have more information than time. And many associations are feeling a real pinch in membership. So when and why should a business use an association?

Associations can serve four purposes. They:

  • Provide critical knowledge
  • Offer group buying and savings
  • Enable networking with peers and prospects
  • Serve as advocates on industry issues

For the small to mid-sized business there is a constant opportunity to join, go and contribute to a number of associations. Here are six questions to ask when making the decision.

  1. Does the association really meet your needs? Is your business customer-poor, talent-hungry or cash-strapped? Will the association really assist with your core challenges? Which of the associations programs will you implement?
  2. What is the real value of the membership discounts and programs? What does your company need to buy? Does the association provide what you need? At what real cost do the discounts come?
  3. Do the associations education and training programs meet your business needs? Will your staff attend the courses? Will the associations approach to training work for your people?
  4. Are the networking opportunities the right ones for your company? Will you meet prospects, vendors or competitors? Will the right people in your organization commit to networking? What is the real value of saying you belong to the association in terms of customers, vendors and peers?
  5. Will the collective voice of your peers help you to succeed? Does your business need to be heard as one of many voices? What is the message that you need to get out? Is the association positioned to give you the platform you need?
  6. Does the association measure its success in your companys terms? What is the connection between the associations mission and your companys goals? How does the organization obtain and spend its funding?

There are literally thousands of associations your company can join. Joining the right organizations for the right reasons and staying involved is great. But remember one last point. If you join the right groups, your companys commitment in time and energy will exceed the financial cost of belonging. Choose carefully and commit fully. It is in your companys best interests!

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Andy’s Anecdotes: "Useful And Funny Observations Heard Over The Years"

  • When interviewing anyone, find out if they:
    • Can do the job,
    • Will do the job, and
    • How will they do the job
  • For better and for worse, firing one employee causes everyone else to feel his or her own mortality.
  • Decide with your head, implement with your heart.

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Shameless Self-Promotion:

Andy is scheduled to speak at (contact Andy to learn how to attend):

  • Andy Speaks in Silicon Valley! - Friday, January 21, 2001. Around noon. "Four Quick Ways to Grow Your Business." Stay tuned for details in upcoming newsletters.

Andy’s articles currently appear in (click on hotlinks to read them now):

  • Crains Cleveland, October 16-20, Page 20. "Good Ideas Dont Need Angels."
  • SBN Magazine, October: "Mind Your Own Business, A four-step process for growing your company without sacrificing your customer base." Click for Article and in October’s hard copy magazine version.

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The Best and Highest Business News® is published monthly by Birol Growth Consulting, Inc.®
5165 Ramblewood Ct
Solon, OH 44139-6015
Voice 440.349.1970, FAX 440.349.0187
Copyright 2002, Birol Growth Consulting, Inc.
All rights reserved.

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Articles by Birol Growth Consulting are © copyrighted and all rights are reserved. However, articles may be reprinted with prior written consent if attribution is included as follows:

© Copyrighted by Andrew J. Birol, President of Birol Growth Consulting, who helps owners grow their businesses by growing their Best and Highest Use ®. Andy can be reached at (412) 973-2080, by email at, or on the web at

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