The Best Tips for Transforming Your Business

The small-business author and MSNBC host brings you some of her favorite business tips from her new book.
October 16, 2012

Did you know that the way you stand can change how confident you are in a meeting? That simple questions can make your employees work more efficiently? That there’s a trick to getting a celebrity to use your product?

These are all the kinds of things I’ve learned over the past six years. During that time, I’ve been in a really unique position. In November 2005, I launched my company which turns your everyday actions into ways to support your favorite cause. In July 2006, I launched the MSNBC program Your Business which provides tips and advice to small-business owners—and I’ve been hosting it ever since. That means that I’ve gotten to spend my days interviewing thousands of business owners to find out what they’ve done best to help their business grow and then apply those learnings to my own company which has grown to more than 15 million users.

Together with two producers from Your Business, Lisa Everson and Frank Silverstein, I compiled a whole bunch of these tips (183 to be exact!) into a new book It’s Your Business – 183 Essential Tips that Will Transform Your Small Business. Here are some of my favorites:

Tip #69: Set expectations high from the start. This tip came from a woman I worked with at Whenever a new employee would hand in a project, she would ask them, ”Do you think this is absolutely complete and your best work?” Then she’d give them a chance to go back and fix it (if it needed fixing). She was very nice about it, but by asking that question, she made it very clear that she would not put up with any kind of slacking off. Because of this, she got employees who really gave it their all. And, people loved working for her because she set the bar high and supported people in reaching it.

Tip # 123: Get your holiday gift noticed. There’s no rule that says mid to end December is the only time to send out gifts to your customers, partners and employees. Frankly, if you send them then, they’ll most likely get lost in a pile of other gifts they receive. So, Rieva Lesonsky of GrowBizMedia says to buck the trend—send your gifts out before Thanksgiving!

Tip # 109: Never say no to a potential customer. I learned this from Kimberly and Katherine Corps from Pilates on Fifth. I was sitting in their reception area one day and a woman came in and asked the receptionist, “Do you have yoga here?” And the receptionist answered, “We have pilates and cardiolates, have you tried one of those?” What a smart response. Most people would have replied “No,we don’t have yoga,” and the woman would have walked out the door. Instead, by finding a way around saying no, the receptionist got this woman interested in cardiolates and she ended up signing up for a class!

Let us know if you have any tips you’d want to share with us or if you’ve tried one from the book. We’d love to know how it worked out for you. Add your comment or tip below or share it with us on Facebook.

JJ Ramberg is the host of MSNBC’s Your Business, author of It’s Your Business: 183 Tips that Will Transform Your Small Business, and co-founder of, a company which turns everyday actions into ways to support your favorite cause.