4 Unique, Actionable Insights from the “Small Biz Ahead” Podcast - Striven

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4 Unique, Actionable Insights from the “Small Biz Ahead” Podcast

Scott Hammer
September 13, 2019
6 min read

If you’re a small business owner, everyday begins with a new set of decisions to make. Choices about finances, software implementation, and employee management are ones that if you make incorrectly, can have serious consequences for your company. 

So where are small business owners supposed to go for advice on making these kinds of choices? One of the best resources we’ve found for answers on everything “small business” is the “Small Biz Ahead” podcast, presented by The Hartford (@TheHartford). 

Hosted by small business expert Gene Marks (@genemarks) and Elizabeth Larkin, this podcast focuses on answering questions about the tough choices that small business owners are faced with every day. 

Here are four big takeaways from our favorite episodes of the “Small Biz Ahead” podcast:

CRM software benefits more than just sales departments

Episode 23: Does Your Small Business Need a Customer Relationship Management System?

crm software on erp software

In this episode, Gene and Elizabeth go in-depth on the benefits of Customer Relationship Management software for small businesses. They discuss what CRM is, what it does, and why a CRM is a “must-have” for any small business.

Additionally, Gene and Elizabeth discuss how CRM software will positively affect your employees’ performances and what to do if some of your employees are resisting the change to CRM software.

If you have any questions about CRM and how it can improve your business practices, listen to this episode. Gene and Elizabeth clearly explain the benefits of CRM software and go through multiple examples of how CRM can be used to positively impact your business.

Successful business owners aren’t always successful managers

Episode 69: How Do I Become a More Effective Communicator?

small business meeting about erp software

One of the traits of a great small business owner is being an effective communicator. So what if you have the business skills needed to run your company, but you lack the ability to communicate effectively to your employees? How can you improve on how you convey information to your team? 

In this episode, Gene and Elizabeth break down the difference between being a strong business owner and a strong business manager. They discuss the importance of being transparent with your employees and how admitting your mistakes and showing your weaknesses to your employees will foster better workplace communication. They stress the importance of being “real” with your employees.

This episode is great for anyone looking to become a more effective leader in their small business. Gene and Elizabeth give real tips on how to improve your current communication style and how effective communication can make the difference for your small business.

Learn from the mistakes of failed businesses

Episode 103: Why Do So Many Small Businesses Fail?

small business erp sign

One of the best ways you can prepare your small business for success is by looking at other small businesses that failed. By studying the choices that ultimately led their business to close, you can learn what mistakes to avoid. 

In this episode, Gene and Elizabeth explore 7 common reasons why small businesses fail. They discuss topics like the importance of the right timing, deciding whether there is a need in the market for your product, and how a lack of planning can put your business on the wrong path.

Often, studying what doesn’t work is just as important as studying what does work. This episode does just that. By exploring some of the most common reasons small businesses fail, this episode gives small business owners a roadmap of what to avoid– in order to lead them to success.


Experience and skills can be taught– character is what counts

Episode 161: How Do You Hire the Best Employees for Your Small Business?

small business erp

Hiring employees is one of the most important decisions a small business owner can make. In this episode, Gene and special guest Kathy Bromage (Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, The Hartford) discuss what to look for in potential employees during the hiring process. 

They review tips for how to handle the interview process, ways to uncover an interviewee’s true intentions for pursuing your company, and how employers can adapt to employee demands. 

They also touch on the importance of references and how to carefully review an interviewee’s social media presence. They teach you, as the small business owner, what to look for when interviewing candidates for a position within your company.

This episode gives small business owners an overview of what to look for when hiring new employees. It gives you advice on how to assess a prospect’s character and intentions, how to prioritize character over experience, and ultimately what are the key characteristics to look for when choosing someone to join your business. 


The “Small Biz Ahead” podcast is a must-listen for any small business owner. If you’re looking to improve any part of your company, you’ll find practical advice and answers throughout this podcast.

Using insight and real examples from the business world, Gene and Elizabeth answer some of the most common questions among small business owners. This podcast is the “How To” Guide for everything small business.

Scott Hammer Headshot

Scott Hammer

Scott Hammer is a business technology writer. His background is in literature and education, which means he can quote Emerson and Thoreau at moments that seem appropriate, but are ultimately random. If pushed, he can also write really, really long sentences.