Running Your Business

Follow these few Pointers on how to get your Business up and Running

  • Not everyone is cut out to be a small business owner. Make sure that you are ready to take on the responsibility of owning your own small business mentally and physically.
  • Make sure you have your finances setup and organized. Before you invest or jump into your own business make sure you have a solid financial plan.
  • Pick your specialty. Know your skills, interests, and employment history to select the business best suited to you. Choosing a  that you can be passionate about will help improve your chances of succeeding. Remember: Many small-business owners succeed in businesses that are hardly unique or innovative.
  • Benefit from your business plan. The exercise of creating your business plan pays dividends. Figure out the tough problems you have before you get your business going,.
  • You need bankers and investors! The vast majority of small-business start-ups are self financed. Consider your own savings, investments, and salable assets and then talk to your friends and family before you look to outside sources. Try not to use your own money.
  • Know which hats you wear best. In the early months and years of your business, you’ll have to acquire many skills. Gain the background you need to oversee all the facets of your business, but also determine what tasks you should outsource or hire employees to manage.
  • Remember that nothing happens until a sale is made. How many good products go nowhere because they don’t reach the shelves? Sales are what drive your business. You need a crackerjack marketing plan that details how you intend to package, promote, distribute, price, and sell your product or service.
  • Pay attention to your customers. After all, you have to see a customer to know one. No matter how busy you are, especially in the early years of your business, be sure to spend at least 25 percent of your time with customers. You can’t make the right business decisions without understanding the customer’s viewpoint.
  • Solve your customers’ problems. The best way to satisfy your customers is not by selling them products or services but by providing solutions to their problems. Understand the difference and market your products and services accordingly.
  • Know that quality takes only moments to lose and years to regain. Quality isn’t a destination but rather a never-ending journey. After you’ve strayed from quality’s path, your journey may be sidetracked forever.
  • Profitability first, rewards second. Beware of the small business that treats itself to hefty salaries, high-priced consultants, and waterfalls in the lobby. In small business, profitability must come first. To understand profitability, you must first measure your cash flow and understand your key financial ratios.
  • Hire superstars. If you intend to create a growing business, your number one duty is to assemble a team of superstar employees in your game-breaker positions. Game-breaker positions are key positions, such as the president/CEO (that’s you), the financial person, the sales manager, the marketing manager, the production manager, the office manager, the purchasing agent, the art director, and so on, that will make or break your company.
  • Don’t be a lone wolf. Tap into resources, such as small-business peers, mentors, and trade associations, that can help take some of the energy-draining trial and error out of starting and running your business.
  • Vendors are partners too. A good vendor is as important to your business as a good customer. Treat your vendors like customers and watch the partnerships grow.
  • Take advantage of benefits. The most valuable long-term benefit you can offer yourself and your employees is a retirement savings plan. In addition, find out how to provide insurance and other benefits and reduce your tax bill at the same time.
  • Pay attention to all small-business-related regulatory issues. Federal, state, and local government agencies require an array of licenses, registrations, and permits. Obey them or face stiff penalties, including possible closure of your business.
  • Know the tax laws. Invest in understanding tax issues that affect your small business. You can avoid trouble and, at the same time, legally slice thousands of dollars off your tax bill if you know the ins and outs of small-business tax law.
  • Focus on the customer. Whatever happens to a small business happens at the hands of the people who work for it.
  • Fast, good, or cheap — pick any two. Serious trouble awaits those business owners who attempt to be all things to the marketplace. Focus on what you do best.
  • Always be open to learning new things. As your business changes and grows, you need to change and grow along with it — particularly as you transition to manager. The one common denominator you find in all successful business owners is a open mind to new business techniques.