Small business survival 101
Being a business owner is TOUGH. According to Bloomberg, 8 out of 10 small businesses fail in the first 18 months. Thats 80%!
I’ve been a business owner for over 20 years and I’ve seen it all. An important fact that often goes unnoticed is this: as a business owner you run TWO businesses. The first business is the product or service you’re selling, and the second is the business of being in business. Yes, about half of your efforts will have nothing directly to do with clients, products, sales or MAKING MONEY. Things like accounting, legal, organization and technology… all required to be in business but don’t actually make money.
So, the tough question is, how do you get all of these non-billable responsibilities done right in the shortest, most efficient way so you can spend as much time as possible focusing on your customers?
Here’s a short list of super helpful tips to ensure small business survival, maximize your efforts in the back office and get you back on the sales floor:
- Use professionals – Hire a trusted accountant/bookkeeper, office assistant and tech specialist. You may think you don’t have enough money for this but it’s a must. Negotiate a fee for only the services you need and put it in your monthly budget. If you don’t, you’ll just increase your opportunity cost, the cost associated with choosing to do something other than what you should be doing. Don’t underestimate your time as a cost! You’ll find yourself reconciling a bank statement or trying to network a printer rather than talking to your customers. Bottom line is that professionals will do the job quicker, cheaper and better than you will.
- Use Software – Technology is the big equalizer that gives you the ability to compete with almost anybody large or small. Software that was once reserved for businesses with deep pockets is now available to everyone. Discover the time consuming tasks that can be performed by software. And don’t rush to the nearest store to purchase a package! OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE can be an amazing and free alternative to expensive brand-name software options. It’s every bit as good and every bit as reliable. Investigate before you buy, it can save you thousands.
- Stay in your lane – You started your business because you have a special talent – don’t forget that! Do what you do best and find other gifted professionals to help you with the rest. You’ll be happier and you’ll be able to spend more time making your customers happy
- Step up your Tech game – Its all about communication! You can literally be in and out of the office at the same time, work on multiple items simultaneously and even conduct multiple conversations at once using tech. Your smart phone, tablet and laptop are all capable of accessing your network via VPN, checking your office computer with remote desktop, sharing client files via your own cloud… the list goes on! Pay close attention to the difficult moments of your business day and ask yourself if communications technology can help you with this business problem. If so, make a point to PERMANENTLY change your business process.
These are our thoughts – but we’d love to hear how YOU have maintained your back office responsibilities while staying focused on your customers. Leave us a comment below!
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