Wednesday, February 9, 2011

You Are An Entrepreneur...Now What?

Starting a successful business is challenging and stressful. That's why 80% of small businesses don't last for more than 5 years. Of the 20% that do survive-only 20% of those will last another 5 years. So, what can you do in order to avoid going extinct like the rest of the small business owners?

1. Be Prepared To Sell
"Selling" has developed a negative stigma. If you want to run a successful company, recognize that sales and business development are critical. You'll need to fight tooth and nail to earn and keep every piece of business. You'll be competing with companies that have more resources, experience and better branding. Your customers will be buying YOU and the connection they make with you.

2. Remove Your "Expert" Hat And Become A Leader And Businessperson (Sometimes)

If you are designer, and love to design, be prepared to sacrifice a significant amount of your design time to manage employees, find new customers, manage your books, fix the phones, take out the garbage, manage vendors and the list goes on. If in your heart, you only want to "design"- then I recommend you work for another company, or do freelance work. However, your expertise in a specific field will still play a very important role in ensuring that your employees meet your standards. Don't ever sacrifice your high standards.

3. Outsource

One of the smartest moves our business made was to outsource our accounting and bookkeeping. Instead of spending hours each week tracking our books, I currently stick everything in an envelope and hand it to our accounting partner, who provides outstanding accurate monthly reports. I now have more time to grow our business, and better information to make informed decisions. Some additional areas to consider outsourcing include networking/computer support, janitorial, payroll and design. I highly recommend hiring a company that will charge a flat monthly fee rather than an hourly fee. This will incentivize them to do the job correctly up front, and allow you to budget for their services.

4. Hire Good People

Get ready, your highest expense is going to be payroll. Take your time to find the RIGHT person. The wrong employee can make your life miserable, and sink your company. The right individual(s) can make your company fun, productive and very profitable.

5. Start Small, Think Big

Now, I stated, "think big", but what I should propose is, "think of your end result". If your goal is to run one small café, then work towards that objective. If you want to own 50 café's then, make critical decisions based on that goal. That may include investing more capital in scalable equipment and more experienced employees, so that in 1-2 years you are better prepared for rapid growth. But most importantly, be prepared to sweat, suffer, and never be happier as you pursue your dream.

Contributed by: Joe Witte and Gail Lewis |
Motivators and Creators Women's Group


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