William A. Ward once said, "Four steps to
Plan purposefully. Prepare
persistently". Use Ward's advice while
pursuing the following tips.
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
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
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.
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 too.
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
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
One of the hardest aspects of a small business or home based business is
creating the discipline or
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
8. Don't rest on your laurels
Be prepared to always change.
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
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
money will follow" is so true. Remember
success is more
attitude than aptitude and never
failure is only
the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.