Keys To Small
A. Ward once said, "Four steps to achievement: Plan
purposefully. Prepare prayerfully. Proceed positively.
Pursue persistently". Use Ward's advice while pursuing the
following tips for small business success.
1. Stay current. Join an
industry association related to your product or offering.
Subscribe to all the magazines that cover your business.
(They are tax deductible!)
Look at joining an organization like NASE
( National Association of
Self employed). They have great sources of advice and
information as well as great discounts on insurance, rental
cars, and other business expenses. Read and constantly be
researching topics about your business. It's easy on the
2. Make sure you have a
financial plan. Also a budget and a measurement process
to keep track of how you are doing monthly. If you don't
know where you stand financially and have no short term and
long term financial goals, then you are just letting fate
dictate your success and we know those odds aren't too
good. Control your own destiny!
3. Cash forecasting. It
sounds boring and difficult, but it's not. Keep it simple.
Look at your next 3 months projected income or revenue, then
just lay next to it all the expenditures you need to keep
the business running. The difference is your cash flow. You
must do this to avoid surprises. Most businesses hit the
brick wall because they fail to understand their cash flow.
4. Get an advisory board or a
mentor. Sounds crazy for a small operation? It's not!
The board can be family members that you trust, or friends.
Ask them to be your board of directors and review your
business plans and results with them. Having someone to
bounce ideas off and get an objective opinion is critical.
Or, hire a Business Coach.
5. Maintain a balance between
work, play and family. This is critical for long term
success. We all put in crazy hours on a short term basis to
get a hot project done or the product out the door, but if
you do this on a long term, regular basis it is a dangerous
sign that you are losing perspective. You need to be able to
step away on a regular basis and get your batteries
re-charged. And also have time for family because if they
suffer it is almost a sure bet your business will suffer
6. Network. It's easy to
get isolated in a home business or your own small business
operation. Force yourself to get out and meet with others
that can provide a business support structure for you. One
of the benefits of a corporation is the workings of teams
and the on going support structure it provides. You need to
create that for yourself. Don't think you can do it all by
yourself; By talking to others in business you will find out
great ideas and it will help motivate you.
One of the hardest aspects of a small business or home based
business is creating the discipline or motivation to work
each day. It is so easy to get distracted and put off the
essential tasks that need to get done. Keep your work place
and hours separate from the rest of your responsibilities.
Develop a to-do list EVERYDAY. Set goals for the week.
Review how you are doing against them. We all struggle with
this and it is one of the key elements of success.
8. Don't rest on your
laurels. Be prepared to always change. Force change.
Look for things to do more efficiently or how to improve
your offering or product. Constantly evaluate your
competition and benchmark yourself against them.
9. Do something you love.
If you are in a business that you hate, then it is a good
bet you won't be successful. Find where your true talents
and skills are and get in a business that exploits them. The
saying, " if you do what you love and the money will follow"
is so true. Remember success is more attitude than aptitude
and never forget that failure is only the opportunity to
begin again more intelligently.
10. Don't Give up. Some
of the most successful entrepreneurs failed several times
before doing extremely well. So, if you're failing, fail.
And fail fast. And learn. And try again, with this new
wisdom. Do NOT give up. Yet, do not suffer, either.
Ten Signals That
It's Time to Make
a Radical Shift in Your Business
Certain business realities
signal us that we should make a shift if we are to survive.
Herewith, a list of some of those signals.
1. You find more and more
competitors in your market.
An indication that it's a good market, but being fractioned.
Unless what you offer is both different and better, look for
2. Your market disappears.
OK, you make the world's best buggy whips! Wake up.
3. Your interests and values
are out of sync with your business.
A formula for business disaster and personal misery. Revisit
your vision and mission--and align them with your values.
Now start again.
4. Your customers are leaving
for your competition.
Either figure out why and fix it or find another business.
5. You dread going to work in
Figure out why. If it can't be changed, do something else.
6. You notice your
Have you noticed that, like it or not, it's a race? Do what
it takes to win or join another race.
7. Working on the business is
taking more time than working in the business.
If your revenue can't support more help, find a way to
simplify and streamline your business (your competitors
8. You're losing key
employees to your competitors.
A sure sign of "trouble in River City!" Conduct "exit
interviews" with departing employees--figure out what the
competition's got that you don't.
9. Your business no longer
supports your lifestyle.
Well, change either one or the other until they're in sync.
10. You're neither learning
nor having fun any more.
Certain death if you stick it out. Time for a fresh start.