11 Things Small Business Owners Can Learn From Punxsutawney Phil

1. Look Over Your Shoulder ? Of course, Punxsutawney Phil has to look over his to search for his shadow. You should, too, every so often, to check out your competition?and see whether they're gaining on (or leading) you.

2. Be Unique ? While groundhogs normally live six to eight years, legend says there is only one Phil, and he's been making predictions for more than 118 years. Think about why your small business stands out, and let the world know your special (and truthful) story.

3. Create An Event ? Folks gathering in Punxsutawney on Groundhog Day also enjoy the 2nd Annual Phil's "Anything Goes" Chili and Wings Cook-off, 7th Annual Woodchuck Whittle and Crowning of Little Mr. and Miss Groundhog. Find opportunities to celebrate with your customers and community.

4. Expand Your Offerings ? As you might guess, there are plenty of Phil collectibles for sale, including a Ty Beanie Red Tie version. Think of ways to capture more of your customers'/clients' business by providing more high-value products/services for them.

5. Be Resourceful ? The majority of "Groundhog Day" was shot 600 miles away in Woodstock, Illinois, because Punxsutawney didn't have an appropriate town square. Look for creative ways to find answers to your business challenges.

6. Think Small ? Punxsutawney is a community that maintains its small-town lifestyle. Remember to always treat your clients/customers like you live in their neighborhoods.

7. Act Big ? Over the years, Phil met President Reagan, appeared on Oprah and gave his prediction on the big screen in Times Square. Just because you're a small business doesn't mean you have to act like one.

8. Spread The Word ? In 1887, the editor of the local paper proclaimed Phil the one and only official weather prognosticating groundhog, and newspapers from around the globe soon began reporting his predictions. Be sure to let the media know what exciting things you're doing.

9. Involve Your Whole Team ? The Groundhog Club Inner Circle, which carries on the tradition of Phil ? including taking care of him and planning events ? consists of local dignitaries. Invite all of your employees to share with you in setting and achieving goals for your small business.

10. Have Fun ? Think about it?all these people paying attention to a groundhog? Remember to find moments to celebrate, laugh and enjoy the good things in your life.

11. Get Plenty Of Rest ? While hibernating in winter isn't an option, take advantage of opportunities to rejuvenate. It will make you more effective in the long run.

Copyright © 2005 by Success Handler, LLC. All rights reserved.

The Coach, David Handler, is the founder of Success Handler, (http://www.successhandler.com), and specializes in helping small business leaders find clarity and take action. He understands the challenges of running a business, because he's been there ? as a small business owner, franchisee, franchisor, corporate leader and trainer. Much like sports coaches, his coaching will show you how to compete on a level playing field in your industry.

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