How can you learn the little known secrets of owning a small business? Ask a small business owner! Guest speaker, and business owner, Matthew Metzger of Orange Computer visited Brady Lowe’s Globe University-La Crosse class to share his experience and success tips with Globe business students. During his discussion, he shed light on five little known secrets of operating a successful small business:
1. Refer Business to Your Competitors
Skilled in communication and relationship building, Matthew has strong relationships with his customers and competitors. “It’s a whole lot better to work with people than against them,” explained Metzger. If a customer requests support that Orange Computer excels at, he’s glad to meet, and exceed, the customer’s needs. “It’s important to know your strengths and to know what your competitors are talented in,” shared Metzger. If Orange Computer receives an inquiry that Metzger knows one of his competitors excels at, he refers the customer to his competition. In turn, because of this open and supporting relationship, Orange Computer receives referrals from its competitors as well.
2. You Don’t Have to Know Everything
“I really appreciated his [Metzger’s] honesty,” reflected Hayden Dickey, a business administration degree student. “It was neat to hear what it’s truly like to own a business.” Metzger admitted that as a small business owner, he doesn’t know everything. But, he’s resourceful. By surrounding himself with skilled staff and using outside agencies, Metzger finds the talent and tools for Orange Computer to grow. This success is evident with the company’s growth over the last five years.
3. Leave the Office…Often
Owning a small business takes hard work, and leaving the office is part of that work. Networking with local businesses, participating in Business Networking International (BNI) groups and other IT and community interest groups have been part of Orange Computer’s success. “I enjoyed hearing about Matthew’s BNI group,” shared Katie Schmitz, medical administrative assistant student. From Metzger’s community networking, he’s been able to build Orange Computer with terrific word-of-mouth referrals.
4. Grow Your Employees, Even if They Outgrow Your Company
Finding talented employees is sometimes difficult, but Orange Computer has been fortunate to assemble a team of dedicated staff. This success is due to Metzger’s fostering of employee development and allowing them freedom. He encourages their complete career growth and understands that they may leave to pursue their growing goals. Rather than stymie their aspirations, he encourages the advancement of their career.
5. Twitter Brings in Business, Even In Small Communities
In addition to being active in the community, Orange Computer builds relationships online. Even though La Crosse is a smaller community, Metzger has found qualified employees and attributes several successful business referrals to the relationships he’s built online, especially on Twitter. After initially connecting on Twitter, Metzger meets face-to-face with new contacts to see how they both can work together. According to Metzger, Twitter has been an excellent source of business for Orange Computer.
Thank you to Matthew for visiting Globe University and sharing your insights as a successful small business owner! Guest speakers like Matthew add dimension to Globe classes and challenge students to apply real-world knowledge of class objectives to their future career goals.