There are approximately 30,000,000 small businesses in this country representing approximately 70% of the jobs. It is what we do. We are a nation of small business owners and employees working in the small business arena. Big business may get the spotlight, but small business is the heartbeat of this country.
What does this mean and what can we learn from this?
We are born to compete. Small business is were we do it. Unfortunately we tend to do it by ourselves, alone without help, guidance, or support, isolated, committed and focused on our daily tasks.
I therefore offer you these guidelines, what I have learned from other business owners as they figure out what works and what doesn’t work.Here are some of those ideas that works that we have learned from our clients.
50 ways to run you business more effectively:
1. Get guidance and direction from other men, your own board of directors. You will do better if you do. You cannot do it as well alone.
2. Numbers are the language of business, learn to use them and understand them, enough with the excuses.
3. Flat management is better then pyramidal organization, divest authority, grant responsibility and nurture leadership. Inspect but delegate.
4. Teams work best, far better then individual efforts, create teams, support them and let them succeed.
5. Key indicators are crucial to tracking, monitoring and thus managing your business succesfully. Use them.
6. Systems are critical for success at every level. Create them, write them down, use them…No oral legacies.
7. Training is critical, accept this mandate and never stop training your employees. Create a career path based on training.
8. Have a business plan before you start up a new business or buy an existing business and make certain you have a cash flow proforma. If you have not raised enough capital to launch your business, do not launch. Wait, raise more, change your plan or cease the effort.
9. Incentive based reward systems work very well and increase productivity and success.
10. Quality is king.
11. Be careful not to waste money on ineffective advertising. Test before a full launch.
12. Use a web site and a blog, create relationships. Web 2.0 blogging, video, facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.
13. Productivity is the key to profit, monitor it and make certain it is maintained at a very high level. Too much employment is self defeating. Forget the concept of overtime, increase productivity first.
14. Profit over gross revenue.
15. Do not continue in business if you cannot figure out how to earn a profit as well as take home a paycheck both are necessary.
16. Avoid personal guaranties at all costs.
17. Never allow your wife or family to sign anything.
18. Protect your home from business debt, there are many ways but the best is to not be in title on your home, or organize your assets effectively.
19. Make certain you always pay your payroll taxes, use a payroll service to force compliance. Cease operations or make drastic changes if you cannot pay them.
20. Repeat business is incredibly important and very valuable.
21. Word of mouth promotion and marketing is the best form of advertising. References and testimonials are supreme.
22. Salespeople should always be compensated by commission.
23. Manage through action, set examples by doing.
24. Appreciate your employees, thank them for their effort and loyalty, support their mistakes, errors and failed risks, it will pay you back many fold.
25. Quickbooks is most often the answer to effective accounting management systems.
26. Define your market niche and capitalize on it.
27. Ask your employees, customers and vendors how you are doing, take their advice seriously.
28. Leave your ego out of your business decisions.
29. Accept responsibility for your own errors, and reward and recognize the success and achievement of your employees.
30. Successful business is built around high quality employees, find them, keep them, train them, build around them.
31. Take vacations often.
32. Keep your word…always.
33. Be generous.
34. Have a sales and marketing plan, review it often and make changes when necessary.
35. A successful business is successful because the owner knows how to run a successful business, not because of how good the product or service offered is.
36. Enjoy yourself, laugh, do not take yourself too seriously.
37. Give back, pay forward for those that dug the well for you to drink out of.
38. Debt can be dangerous, manage it effectively.
39. Do not allow debt to upend your business or personal life.
40. As soon as you believe your debt will eventually bury you, do a pre-emptive workout.
41. Any debt can be worked out…any!
42. Always pay your payroll taxes but if you fail to, it too can be worked out.
43. If your revenues have declined, downsize your operation immediately. Excess payroll will kill you quickly and everyone will be out of work.
44. Your banker is the opposition when in default, do not listen to his demands or instructions. Get help.
45. Do not invade your IRA or 401k to pay down debt, no matter what your banker insists you do.
46. Do not hesitate to do a workout because of fear of credit blemishes, it can be rehabilitated.
47. Renegotiate everything, leases, vendor pricing, everything, this recession will last a long long time. Make adjustments now.
48. Re-define your business equation, the economy has changed you must change as well.
49. There are no employee issues, train your employees to be as good as you want them to be.
50. Enjoy your business life, you made the decision to be a small business owner, it can and should be very rewarding. Remember entrepreneurs are unemployable, you had best make it work.
This is part of what we have learned from our clients, we expect to learn much more. We thank all our clients for showing us the way to succeed.