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Chiropractic News

March 2009

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Author: Small business owners should practice "tough love"

FISHERS, IN--(March 11, 2009) - Whether its recession time or boom time, small business owners should look at the way they operate in order to maximize their revenues. Many small businesses are run a little loosely, because many owners believe they lack the overhead and the staff to require a lot of strict policies and procedures.

That's a mistake, according to Jim Muehlhausen, CPA and author of "The 51 Fatal Business Errors and How To Avoid Them," from Emerald Publishing.

"Every business owner is enrolled in the world's most expensive business school: The School of Hard Knocks," Muehlhausen said. "Instead of acquiring business knowledge the slow and expensive way, business owners need to capitalize on the hard-fought lessons of others. That's why benevolent dictators are the best small business leaders, because ruling by committee against that landscape rarely works."

In order to swim with the big fish without getting eaten, Muehlhausen suggests that small business owners get a little tougher and smarter to survive the nasty


"There are several practices that are considered standard operating procedure that actually work against small business owners," Muehlhausen said. "First, many insist on learning hard lessons themselves rather than learn from the mistakes of their competitors. To compound the problem, they also tend to hire employees away from their competitors without realizing that chances are that the employee may be leaving because they had been fired, or they are about to be fired."

Muehlhausen also stresses that CEOs need to be benevolent dictators to be more effective.

"Managing employees is a lot like parenting," he said. "Employees may not like what you do, but you'll have to do it anyway. Many CEOs are afraid to be authoritarian, but they should do it anyway. They should remember two things -- first, being authoritarian does not mean you can't be nice, and second, it's the CEO's name on the big door. No one else will be blamed for the failure of staff. An autocrat is not automatically a jerk, and businesses aren't a democracy."

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