Many business owners or people who are about to start a business have idealistic views about their new venture. People who are experienced in business know that there are some basics and some fundamentals that you must get right if you are to succeed. This article outlines a list of "Street Smarts" which have been distilled from the knowledge and experience of many successful business people. Read them carefully!
1. The fatal mistake of many business people – thinking that because they are a good mechanic, baker, accountant, that they understand what it takes to run a mechanical business, bakery business, accountancy business. The most important skill for any business person is to know how to run a business. How much management & business & marketing training have you invested in yourself?
2. Make sure you clearly understand the concept of working on your business as distinct from working in your business. The most successful business owners spend a great deal of time working on their business – learn from them! Read The E Myth by Michael Gerber – a must read!
3. Work out what it would take in dollars to pay someone to do what you do, for the hours you put into your business. Are you paying yourself the same amount? If not, why not? You are clearly worth it! Many people would argue that if you are not paying yourself that same amount, then you do not have a business, you have bought yourself a job – and sometimes a low paid one!
4. Learn from other people, especially their mistakes – you can not live long enough to make them all yourself! This means that you must be willing to embrace change – in every aspect of what you do. The one certainty is that change will continue and increase! The definition of insanity is "doing the same things in the same way and expecting different result." If you want a different or better outcome – change!
5. Can your business run without you for up to a month? If it can not, then you have a job, not a business. Are you taking a holiday each year? Why not, your staff do! If you are a one or two person business, then bring in a relief person for the time you are away. Pharmacists, doctors, & dentists, do it all the time – why not mechanics, bakers, accountants or home based businesses?
6. Prepare yourself for this one! If you have had the same accountant, for more than 7 years, then get "a second opinion" from a completely new source. Evaluate their advice against your "regular" and see which is more likely to deliver the lifestyle you want. Two important things to note about this: a) if your adviser advises you against this – what does that tell you? and, b) if your accountant does not understand how and why a business should "deliver a lifestyle", then it's time to update your advice.
7. Embrace technology at a personal and business level. If you are not on email and checking it at least every day, then the world is passing you by and you do not even know it! Among other resources, there are literally thousands of free email newsletters available which will help you make your business more profitable – mechanic, baker, accountant or farmer!
8. To get where you want to go, mix with people who are already there. Talk to the best people in your business – you will learn from them. Avoid the negative complainers – they'll drag you down. The majority of business today comes from networking.
9. It does not matter how much money your business makes. What matters is how much you keep! Turnover is a very misleading measure of the success of a business. Do not fool yourself (and others) by thinking that a "large" turnover necessarily means a great business.
10. If you are in business, then you are in marketing. The more time you spend on marketing your business, the more profitable your business will become. The single greatest skill to develop and learn and keep developing is marketing. 11. Bonus Point! What have you read or listened to this month? Become thirsty for knowledge and both you and your business will grow.