As Independent Business Owners and Entrepreneurs, we often see ourselves as courageous. Friends and family often call us something else. Where others may only dream, we put that dream in action.
Most of us start a business because we have at least two of the following things:
The other thing that most of us have is:
A BIG Learning Curve on Everything Else
It Takes to Make a
Years ago I taught the Stephen Covey "7 Habits of Effective People" class and one of the habits was "Begin With the End in Mind." Somehow it almost seems counter-intuitive to think about your exit strategy before you have hardly got started. However, if you don't know where you want to end up, how can you set concrete goals to get there?
Do you want to leave your business for a family member? Do you want to build your business model to franchise? Do you want to sell the business in three to five years? Do you want to "work until you drop?" (that is an option albeit not the best).
Once you have established the end goal, you can start to build a comprehensive plan to get there. Most of us start a business because we have a passion and/or a great skill set. We know what we are good at, a question we are less apt to ask ourselves is "What am I not good at?"
- Can you handle the accounting/bookkeeping for your business?
- Do you know the best way to organize your business from a legal perspective?
- Do you know all the regulations and tax responsibilities that may be applicable to your type of business?
- How are people going to find you?
- Is your product/service priced right? How do you find your "ideal client" or more importantly, how do they find you? Is social media a viable revenue stream for you? If so, how do you manage that?
- What happens to your business if you get sick? What kind of insurance do you need?
- Do you have the staff to support the business when it comes in?
- And the list goes on.
HOW DO YOU GET IN THE SUCCESS ZONE AND STAY THERE?
"Success is simply matter of luck. Ask any failure." - Earl Nightingale
THERE ARE THREE KEY COMPONENTS OF A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS OWNER
PASSION + PREPARATION + EXECUTION = SUCCESS ZONE
These are three separate entities, but they are interrelated. One is not more important than the other, because if one is consistently missing the business will struggle and ultimately fail.
We all know what it looks like when one of these key elements is missing. You may see a person filled with PASSION who immediately jumps into action (EXECUTION) with little research, minimal information and often little support. They find themselves in constant "crisis management" and eventually their PASSION falters.
Another person may have the same PASSION and spend countless hours and resources getting ready to start or expand a business (PREPARATION) but never put the plan into action. The business never reaches its potential.
Some people work hard on PREPARATION and EXECUTION, but have no PASSION for the business and are unable to find the drive and energy necessary to start and maintain a business. Each of these three elements needs to be functioning at optimal level. That synergistic energy creates and maintains the SUCCESS ZONE.
The Pressure is On!
In this tough economic environment, several things have changed for the Small Business Owner and Entrepreneur:
- There is little or no room for error.
- Strategies in marketing, advertising, promotion must be constantly assessed and if necessary, revised and re-focused if not delivering a return on investment (ROI).
- All parts of the business must be functioning at 100% effectiveness.
- If your competition is NOT ahead of you, they are certainly nipping at your heels.
- Continuous learning is NOT an option and YOU must always be willing to learn and try new ideas and strategies to become and stay successful.
Find Your Resources Now!
Never before has the entrepreneur and small business owner has access to so much information and so much help. It is easy to be overwhelmed. Knowledge is power and is also empowering. Possessing good, solid information helps you make good, solid business decisions. The better your business runs the less STRESS you feel.
- Check out your local resources. Many communities have a local Small Business Development Center (SBDC), often associated with the Chamber of Commerce, the Office of Economic Development through the counties and workforce centers and your local colleges. All of these groups have training, individual consulting and small business support available to you for little or no cost. They have professionals on staff partnered with business owners in the community that bring their expertise to you on wide-ranging subjects such as: business plan writing, funding options, start-up consulting, financial management, HR Support and the list goes on. At the end of this article I have attached several, but by no means all resources in Denver, CO.
- Get on Linkedin, Biznik, Facebook and when it opens up to the public Google+. Join groups that support each other. Start a group. Ask questions and provide your expertise to others. Sign up to business newsletters that meet your needs.
- Network with the business groups that have the "pay forward" attitude. Stay away from the groups and the individuals that exhibit the "what can you do for me first" attitude.
- Find business professionals in the area that truly support small business. It may be your CPA, an accounting/bookkeeping firm like us, a business attorney, etc. who is willing and able to connect you to the resources you need to make your business run better. At Apis Business Solutions we have worked hard to develop a professional referral list of like-minded professionals in Denver. We are not alone.
- Do not underestimate the power of bartering. We do managerial accounting for small businesses, so we have bartered our services to other small businesses that have helped us with website development, marketing etc.
- Develop and use a professional advisory board to help you make strategic decisions for your business. You may already have a CPA or tax professional, a business attorney, an accountant, a business coach, a financial adviser, etc. What you may not do is bring them together to help you develop your business strategic plan and execution.