Blog

Monthly shots of practical advice.

Hi, I’m Diane. I help entrepreneurs like you distill their ideas into growing businesses, one step at a time.

How do I do that? By helping make “the hard parts” easy for you, and making it simple to figure out what you should be focusing on NOW.

For 20+ years I’ve been helping all kinds of clients in all kinds of industries — and I’d love to help you, too :-)

Your Business Needs an Annual Review

Your Business Needs an Annual Review

  Imagine it’s been a year since you launched your startup — or another year has flown by since you did. Before opening your doors you had time to think about the big picture — which products and services to offer, the kind of company culture you want to develop,...

The Virtue of Limited Resources

The Virtue of Limited Resources

  Over the years, I’ve noticed an interesting connection between resources (i.e., money) and innovation. The more constrained or limited a startup’s budget, the more innovative they tend to be. In other words, necessity is the mother of invention. Some of the...

7 Business Plan Blunders You Need to Avoid

7 Business Plan Blunders You Need to Avoid

  Most entrepreneurs write business plans because they have to — either to raise money from investors or to obtain a bank loan. But to successfully secure outside funding, your business plan has to be strong. Very strong. Because a business plan is a bit of a...

Stop Worrying About the Other Guy

Stop Worrying About the Other Guy

  Way back when, I was walking down Chicago’s super-hip stretch of Milwaukee Avenue in Wicker Park, and my friend pointed out some recent changes that were happening to the menu at Red Mango. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Red Mango is a national frozen...

What If I Don’t Want To “Scale” My Business?

What If I Don’t Want To “Scale” My Business?

  Everyone wants to grow their business over time, but not everyone necessarily wants to scale their business. “Scaling” is a buzzword you hear all the time in startup circles (and the media). They talk about it as if it’s the ultimate goal — the thing you should...

Why Now is the Perfect Time to Start a Business

Why Now is the Perfect Time to Start a Business

  When we think of starting a business, we often envision economic boom times. Bull markets, investors handing out money like cheap beer at a frat party... it’s easy to think of taking the leap when times are good.  When times aren’t so good, our instinct is to...

Advice I’m Giving Right Now: Breaking Down Big Goals Into Baby Steps

Advice I’m Giving Right Now: Breaking Down Big Goals Into Baby Steps

  “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” ­— Lao Tzu “You can break that big plan into small steps and take the first step right away.” — Indira GandhiAdvice I’m Giving Right Now is a series where I share with you the real advice I’m giving...

During the Pandemic, Focus on What You CAN Do

During the Pandemic, Focus on What You CAN Do

  And here's the transcript...Hi, everyone. I’ve decided to try something a little different this month (so bear with me). I wanted to make this month’s post more personal since I think it’s safe to say that we’re all reeling from the effects of the coronavirus...

The Difference Between Profit & Loss and Cash Flow Projections

The Difference Between Profit & Loss and Cash Flow Projections

  Profit and cash are not the same thing. Even if you aren’t a numbers person, as a business owner it’s important that you understand the differences between a profit and loss statement* and a cash flow statement. For starters, profit and cash are not the same...

Financial Vocabulary for People Who Hate Numbers

Financial Vocabulary for People Who Hate Numbers

  Hate numbers? You are not alone. Almost everyone has an irrational fear or two, whether it’s snakes, dentists or small enclosed spaces. Usually not too big a deal... except when you’re an entrepreneur with a numbers phobia. But figuring out how much money...

How to Find Out What Your Customers REALLY Want

How to Find Out What Your Customers REALLY Want

  Figuring out who your target customers are can be hard — that’s why I like customer personas. And customer interviews are the linchpin of creating a great customer persona. So how do you start? Create a roadmap. Interviewing customers without a roadmap is...

The Secret to Finding Your Ideal Customers

The Secret to Finding Your Ideal Customers

  Need help finding customers? Not sure who they are or where they hang out? Your first step is to focus on defining your target audience, and part of that process involves creating something called a customer persona. If you’ve never heard of it, not to worry....

How to Find Your Target Audience

How to Find Your Target Audience

  There are a lot of people telling me to blast ads all over Facebook and Instagram, but that doesn’t resonate with me. How do I find where my target audience lives without blasting ads all over the internet?When it comes to starting a business, knowing how to...

3 Alternative Funding Options for Your Startup

3 Alternative Funding Options for Your Startup

  Even though I’m a big believer in bootstrapping, sometimes there’s just no avoiding the need to raise capital. Most entrepreneurs immediately think: investors. But that’s not your only choice — and it may not even be the best choice for you and your company....

3 Times When Taking On Investors Actually Makes Sense

3 Times When Taking On Investors Actually Makes Sense

  Just because everyone talks about investors as the be-all end-all doesn’t mean you need them to build a successful business. (Pssst! You’re usually better off without them.) Nonetheless, there’s no denying that certain situations call for a pile of cold, hard...

The Downside of Investors

The Downside of Investors

  When you’re starting a business, finding investors may seem like the answer to all your problems. But in most cases you’d be wrong — there are downsides. It’s not that I don’t believe in the value of investors, because I do. But not right away. It’s far better...

3 Things Every Startup Needs

3 Things Every Startup Needs

  Imagine a stool with only one or two legs. Pretty wobbly. Just as every stool needs three legs to keep from falling over, so, too, does your startup. That’s why you need these three elements to start off on the right foot. Each has a crucial role to play. 1....