I guess you could say I grew up eating, drinking, and sleeping business. Ever since I can remember, everyone I knew owned businesses.
My grandparents owned a finance company that was started by my grandfather’s parents. My aunt and uncle owned a furniture store. My parent owns rock quarries that my grandfather started and my sister and her husband are buying. My mom owned her own salon. My brother has owned businesses, my husband has owned businesses… I think you are starting to get the picture.
Our family holidays and dinners are all business chatter. Taxes, employees, customers, great years, bad years, the economy, politics, and everything in between.
Business fascinates me.
I myself have owned 3 businesses.
That is why I am so passionate in helping entrepreneurs with theirs. Although I have listened and learned decades of knowledge, the business world has changed dramatically. It still strikes me that some things need to remain the same.
In my humble opinion you still need 3 core beliefs to make you a successful business owner.
It does not matter if it is brick and mortar, online, or my daughter’s lemonade stand.
What do I mean?
Showing up. You, the owner of the company.
The company needs you to lead, guide, and make decisions. The company needs you to care.You need to think ahead, grow, challenge, and change.
You need to be a thinker and a doer. Working on your business is just as or more important than working in your business.
You need to project and think about where you want the company to be in 3 years down the road.
Set goals. Set goals for sales, opportunities and your employees.
I like to set 3-6 months, 6-9 months, and then 1 year. I also love to add incentives if the business hits the goals.
Ideas for awards:
- The company buys lunch.
- The company will provide bonuses for the top producers.
- Spa day for the staff.
- T-shirts for everyone with the company name on it.
Brainstorm with your staff about the incentives. This is an opportunity to know what motivates them and what will help them to be excited to work with you on achieving the goals.
Make a plan to expand or change the business. This is for you. I always asked myself 5 questions when making my plan.
1. Will it make me money?
2. Is this in the best interest of the company?
3. Will it be worth my time and effort?
4. Is this aligned with my beliefs and core values?
5. How much will it cost, and will I need to borrow money to do it.
Always be aware of what’s happening in your industry. What is new, what is working for others, what is all the buzz about. Don’t get stuck because something has always worked in the past, but isn’t now.
You have to put money back into your business and get it working for you.
Don’t overspend on build-outs, remodeling, or decorating. Overspending on build-out is one of the top causes of failure for small businesses, particularly retail. Before they know it, they feel stuck, buried, and outdated. It gets too overwhelming to catch up. They lose their passion to keep going.
Without it, you will soon be out of business.
Honesty, truth, and transparency. If something is your fault, own up to it. If you are falling behind, let the client know.
If you need your employee to do something, tell them the truth. Let them know they are not meeting your needs.
Your product and/or service must have quality.
What you sell has your name on it. You are the face of the product and/or service you provide.
It must be a benefit to your client. You must show the client that you care enough about them to give them the best. It will show if you don’t.
Quality is about going the extra mile.
In the beginning, it’s day in and day out.
You are all in. 100% in building this business. Although balance is important too, your focus should be on your business. Working all the angles. Deciding that you will give it your all and then doing it. Keeping up with the tasks that need done. Putting the cash flow away when it’s good and saving it when it’s not. Putting the company first when you really want to go buy something for yourself, but you really can’t afford it.
The only way to look at clients is that they are signing your paycheck. They have graced you with their business. They deserve respect, service, courtesy, and the best possible care. They want to be recognized, addressed, and validated.
You want them to leave your company with the feeling they will be an advocate for your business by telling everyone. But remember, this can be positive or negative depending on their experience. Bad new travels faster and with much more impact.
Everything you do should be based on what is best for them.
You should be on time to meetings, drop what you are doing if they come in, answer the phone when they call, and make sure they know how much you appreciate them with a “Thank You! I really am so glad you choose my business.”
Treat them the way you want to be treated when you give someone your business.
It is all on you. Pay and collect your bills. You want to get paid, pay your vendors on time. Pay your employees on time. It’s your responsibility, and remember, they help market your business and that can be positive or negative.
Expect to be paid. You pay your bills on-time and there is no reason you shouldn’t be paid as well. Be firm, but treat them as you would want to be treated. Paying your bills includes taxes. I know, I hate them too. But, you don’t want that bill hanging over your head. Get it paid and move on.
Communicate with your employees, talk to them often.Make sure they are happy, see if they have any comments or questions.
Ask them how they think the company can do better. Perform due diligence on anything new you are bringing in. Research and follow through with finding everything out you can. If you are hiring a coach, marketing firm, or accountant make sure you have referrals, testimonials, and track records.
I have made the mistake of not background checking a marketing firm out. Let’s just say, I lost thousands of dollars because they did not do what they said they would.
The buck stops with you
If someone is unhappy… deal with it. If someone is ecstatic, give the people who did the job the credit. Then celebrate!!!
Make sure you are insured. Understand you must charge and make money. You can not do the things you want to do if your business does not profit. This is why you are in business – to make a living and provide for your family.
Do the work
If something needs done and nobody’s doing it, it’s up to you to get it done.
Delegate or sub-contract the things you don’t like to do or are not good at. Know when to ask for help and know when to act upon it. Know when to let go.
If you are not able to pay for employees, cleaning staff, accounting, and other things that you can not afford, you must let them go. Be the leader and lead. Continue to grow, learn and expand your company. I wish you all continued success in your businesses.
Please feel free to reach out if you have questions or comments.I am always honored to help.
Author: Lisa Coots Schooley
Life/Business Coach For Women