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Category >> Case Studies
Jul 25

Advice for Car Wash Guy

Posted by Steve Marr in Untagged 

“Jim” developed a nice Michigan business over 15 years of washing cars at people’s homes. He offered an old-fashioned hand washing for $30 to $40 for a van or a larger vehicle. He developed a steady clientele of customers who liked this service. All they had to do was pull the car out of the garage without having to take it anywhere. In addition the car didn’t have to go through a harsh carwash. With Michigan’s regular summer rains and winter road salt, this developed into a popular service. He also serviced cars at a customer’s employment location. They liked driving to work with a dirty car in the morning and going home with a clean vehicle in the afternoon.

Jun 21

Hiring Workers for a Cleaning Business

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“Martha” owns a house cleaning business and has struggled with employee turnover over for the past few years. While the business is profitable, she can’t afford higher wages for her three cleaning crews. Since just hiring workers without a target strategy would continue the employee revolving door problem, I suggested a different strategy.

May 29

How to Help a Local Christian Newspaper

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I know that a publisher of a Christian newspaper is struggling.  This isn’t a new problem.  I have written before about the challenges facing print newspapers. When I talk to newspaper owners, they tell me about how the costs of organizing, printing and distributing the paper are high. They struggle with limited revenue for advertising.

Apr 02

Going Out of Business

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“Tom” owned a local store selling printer cartridges and posted a sign announcing that he was going out of the business. The owner blamed a slow economy. Maybe; maybe not.

I purchased around $600 of cartridges over the past year. On two occasions, I stopped by before closing time to find a note posted: “Closed early.  Sorry.” Since I needed the cartridge I drove to Office Depot, another ten minutes away.  In each instance, Tom’s store lost a $50 sale.

Then, I experienced another issue with the store. I needed a cartridge, but it was out of stock. The owner promised to have one by the next day. I stopped by the next day, and no cartridge.  He promised to have one by the next day. Again, there were no cartridges when I returned. Again, Tom promised to make sure to have one in stock that he would hold for me.  I returned a third time a few days later.  He told me that he was sorry, but he sold the cartridge.  However, he told me that he could order another.  I’m sure he could have, but I drove back to Office Depot that day and in the future.   If others experienced my frustration, he went out of business due to poor service and not a poor economy.

Jesus taught, “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning.” (Luke 12:35, NIV)  We need to be ready to meet our customers’ needs and keep our promises to them.

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Sep 10

When is it Time to Move a Business?

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Several years ago I met with a dentist who was taking over a practice in a small town of 20,000 residents. He was struggling to build a client base and had two presenting questions. First, what could he do to build his customer base?  Second, should he stay in the current shopping mall location with high visibility along with high cost?

My advice at the time was to stay in the mall.  Even though the rent was high, the visibility would help build walk-in traffic.  Second, I advised that he work several evenings a week to offer extended hour appointments to folks with day jobs. Both steps worked. I asked if he wanted to expand his business by hiring a part time dentist to help manage the growing business.  He did not.
Now, he needs to decide if he should renew his office lease. This time my advice is different. He now has a short waiting list for new patients and has built a solid reputation for competence and integrity.  Renewing the lease in the mall will cost around $2,500 a month more than renting an office suite in another location. Given the build-up of his business, paying a premium price for location when you can’t take more patients is a waste of money. At this time, the better choice is to save money by moving.
Time and circumstances will alter a decision about when to move a business.  The prophet Joel wrote “Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears.” (Joel 3:10, NIV) However, a hundred years later Isaiah wrote: “They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.” (Isaiah 2:4, NIV) As scripture demonstrates, it requires different action at different times to make the right decision.
When you face major decisions, take the time to evaluate the situation. Determine what has changed and if those changes dictate a different choice. Then, make the decision that will grow your business.

Steve Marr, Your Christian Business Coach 

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