Our typical client is a business that has been operating for at least 3 years, typically much longer. However, I often speak to start-ups and new business owners. From working and speaking with both, I believe all business owners should take the following three (3) steps:
Read and participate in industry events and training.
- Participate in industry events or associations, read trade publications and general business publications, and participate in training, when applicable and possible. Many new business owners are good at something and decide to start a business doing that something. However, running a successful, ongoing business that operates for years is significantly more complicated than just providing that one product or service. By doing the above, you can determine what you don’t know and figure out how to fill the gaps.
Create an advisory board.
- Create an Advisory Board with at least two advisors. The advisors could be an entrepreneur friend, a marketing acquaintance, your banker, your attorney… Whomever it is, the advisors should be people whose opinion and insights you trust who are good listeners or who can help you make decisions that support your business. Isolation is a big issue with new entrepreneurs and ongoing entrepreneurs who have a laserlike focus on the business . You can be surrounded by others but those others may have no clue what it means to do what you do. An Advisory Board mitigates or eliminates the feeling of isolation because you have people who can relate – on some level or in some aspects – and who can help.
Focus on cash flow.
- Focus on cash flow. I always say this, CASH IS KING. Focusing solely on revenue or profit can cause you to make poor decisions such as extending credit to undeserving customers who ultimately do not pay or always pay very, very late or selling on too thin margins that don’t cover your costs, or not ensuring you have enough working capital to cover the next 1-2 months. By focusing on operational cash flow on a weekly basis, you structure your business operations right from the outset. Then you don’t have to be concerned about alienating customers down the line. If you didn’t do this at the outset, it is never too late!! As a business owner, you must be aware that an unprofitable business with good cash flow (i.e., customers pre-pay or provide deposits) can limp along sometimes for years but a business that runs out of cash to pay its bills can fold in weeks!
If you need help with the above, join The Resourceful CEO membership site! Get access to the insights and documents that a COO or CFO would provide. This can help you truly build and strengthen your business. Join The Resourceful CEO membership forum.