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Street Smarts

Norm Brodsky

"Street Smarts" columnist and senior contributing editor Norm Brodsky is a veteran entrepreneur who has founded and grown six businesses. In 2007 he sold CitiStorage, a document-archive business based in Brooklyn, New York, for $110 million. Along with Bo Burlingham, Norm has chronicled his entrepreneurial journey in his column in Inc. and in the book The Knack: How Street-Smart Entrepreneurs Learn to Handle Whatever Comes Up.


Recent Street Smarts Articles

The First Step

There's so much to do when you're starting a company that the hardest part may be figuring out what to do first. CEO Norm Brodsky advises that, before gettin...  Read more


The First Step

There's so much to do when you're starting a company that the hardest part may be figuring out what to do first. CEO Norm Brodsky advises that, before gettin...  Read more


Return of the Middle Manager

The labor shortage has set off bidding wars for talent, which can easily wreak havoc on a business. CEO Norm Brodsky advises that, if you want to avoid losin...  Read more


Small Is Beautiful

It may feel good to sign up big clients when you're starting out. But CEO Norm Brodsky suggests that it's the smaller customers who will prove to be your sal...  Read more


The View from Brooklyn

Change creates opportunity, and the Internet is producing both. But that doesn't mean the only opportunities are in the world of dot-coms.  Read more


The Case for Higher Prices

Thanks mainly to Alan Greenspan, it's harder than ever to get customers to accept price hikes. But, argues entrepreneur Norm Brodsky, you're making a big mis...  Read more


The Art of the Deal

People assume that the high bid always wins. But looking beneath the surface, you may find factors that are more important to closing the deal.  Read more


The Road Not Taken

CEO Norm Brodsky discusses why, of all the challenges people face when they decide to start a business, one of the most difficult is learning to say no.  Read more


Ask Norm

Inc. columnist and CEO Norm Brodsky offers tips on negotiating, overcoming seasonal slumps, giving up stock to investors, keeping employees from ste...  Read more


Getting It Right

It's easy to fall in love with a business idea. But the fact is, few successful companies end up with the same concept they began with. CEO Norm Brodsky disc...  Read more


The Inspector

Most entrepreneurs believe that their companies are the best at what they do. But, as CEO Norm Brodsky examines, being the best doesn't mean you can't get ev...  Read more


Fear of Flying

What keeps people from starting their own company? CEO Norm Brodsky examines why, rather than lack of capital or opportunity, the biggest obstacle often lies...  Read more


Ask Norm

Our popular CEO columnist answers some of the queries that have been crossing his transom lately, including tips on rolodex funding, negotiating and survivin...  Read more


The Right Stuff

The key to entrepreneurial success isn't just spotting the hot business opportunity, it's developing the discipline and stamina to stay focused on it.  Read more


You Don't Ask, You Don't Get

You always hear that to be a good salesperson, you have to overcome rejection, but what you really need to overcome is the fear of asking for what you want  Read more


A Moving Experience

Relocating your business can be an agonizing and expensive experience. But when you weigh the benefits against the costs, moving could be the best thing you ...  Read more


Bubble.com

Sure, some people are making millions starting Internet companies, but the path to success is a tricky one. Here are some rules that can keep you from gettin...  Read more


Parting Company

There's nothing wrong with quitting your job to start a business that competes with your former employer. But going about it the wrong way can ruin your most...  Read more


Hiring the Best

Don't assume you can't afford top-notch executives for your small company. Given steady incomes and space to perform, they'll soon pay for themselves.  Read more


How to Profit in the Coming Recession

CEO Brodsky explains why the imminent economic recession could actually benefit your business if you know how to prepare. He offers four steps to turning a f...  Read more


The First Salesperson

Hiring your first salesperson can cause long-term damage to your business if it isn't ready to grow. Here are three pitfalls you should consider before incre...  Read more


Hurry Up and Wait

CEO Brodsky describes how budding entrepreneurs often make poor business decisions because they're too impatient to think them through. He gives advice on le...  Read more


Where the Money Is

CEO Brodsky explains how to prepare before a meeting with venture capitalists or private investors. He describes the philosophies of investors and how to lea...  Read more


Size Matters

CEO Brodsky explains how mergers and roll-ups can create great opportunities for the smaller companies that remain independent.  Read more


Caveat Emptor

CEO Brodsky explains why it's riskier for a first-time entrepreneur to purchase an existing business than it is to build one from the ground up.  Read more


Hiring for Growth

CEO Brodsky gives four rules for hiring salespeople who will be loyal and represent you well.  Read more


Multilevel Mischief

CEO Brodsky recounts the experiences of a friend who went to work for a multilevel marketing company. He explains why very few people get rich from MLM ventu...  Read more


Buying Blind

CEO Norm Brodsky says you shouldn't buy a business merely out of hatred for your old job. You should make sure you fully understand what the business entails...  Read more


Don't Worry, Be a Little Unhappy

CEO Brodsky suggests that legal disputes rarely yield an ideal solution for either party. If you're prepared to be a little unhappy with the outcome, you'll ...  Read more


I've Got a Secret...

CEO Brodsky explains that the key to successful business negotiation is to listen carefully to the other party, keep your real priorities a secret, and then ...  Read more


Due Diligence

CEO Norm Brodsky explains that a complex business plan drawn up for investors can yield unrealistic numbers or mistakes. He suggests that entrepreneurs first...  Read more


Forget Spreadsheets

Brodsky stresses that the best way to track monthly sales and gross margins is to do it by hand.  Read more


When the Price Isn't Right

A veteran entrepreneur explains that to win loyalty, you have to offer more than a discount.  Read more


The Return of Customer Loyalty

A vetern entrepreneur explains why it's more important than ever to keep the customers you already have.  Read more


We Have Met the Enemy, and He Is Us

A veteran entrepreneur explains why it's usually employers, not employees, who create poor customer service.  Read more


What's Good About Bankers

A veteran entrepreneur explains why every business needs a banker, even though bankers are bad salespeople.  Read more


Improving Your Luck

A veteran entrepreneur explains how luck plays a role in business, but only to a point.  Read more


Listen and Earn

A veteran entrepreneur explains why it's important to relearn the lost art of listening to customers.  Read more


A Niche in Time

A veteran entrepreneur explains why sometimes the only way to help your company to survive is by changing businesses.  Read more


The Best-Laid Plans

A vetern entrepreneur explains why you have to know where you want to be before you let your company take you there.  Read more



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