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Top 10 Rules for Small Business Success

1. Target

You are not all things to all people. Decide on your niche--narrow your focus and broaden your appeal.

2. Be Different

If your competitors are doing it, don't. Stand out from an overcrowded marketplace where so much of the advertising and products look the same.

3. Build a Team

Don't hire an employee to fill a position. Employ a person to be part of a team to build your business.

4. Be Fast

Time is the most precious commodity. When delivery is expected Friday, show up Thursday afternoon. Return calls and emails now.

5. Say Thank You

A lot. Tell your customers and employees how much you appreciate them. Better yet, do it the old fashioned way: take pen to paper and write them a note.

6. Be Consistent

Make sure your business has a consistent look and feel. A customer must get the same flavor from everyone within your organization. Always.

7. Smile

Throw out the reasons you think people buy from you like price, product quality or your warranty. They buy because they like you.

8. Fanatical Optimism

The glass must always be half full. Attitude will always win out in the end and infect all of those around you.

9. Sell Soft

Don't ever hard sell. Solve problems. Satisfy wants. Do what is truly best for your customer.

10. Leave Your Comfort Zone

Never accept the idea that this is the way you've always done it. Never accept that a new idea or technology could never work for you.

Brian Grinonneau is the general manager of McMann and Tate Advertising, an agency that works exclusively with the small business owner to help them stand out in an increasingly crowded marketplace where much of the advertising and products look the same.

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