Nine easy steps to owning a business

score Question:
I have been in my own business for two years and feel overwhelmed at times. Is this something we get over after a while?

Being an entrepreneur means wearing lots of different hats. With small businesses, at least for the first couple of years, you are the chief, cook, and bottle washer. It's like you've been chosen for the cast of a play and you get to perform each and every part all at once.

Fred Dias of Barry University described it well in highlighting the nine keys of being an entrepreneur.

  • Be a thinker: We tend to get so wrapped up in what we're doing, we begin acting like robots; our minds become closed to new ideas. Slow down and open your mind to learn as much as you can about your business. Take classes on various aspects of small business management, and read extensively about small business operations.
  • Be a proactive creator: Brainstorm with others about what you are doing and what youhope to do. Be creative; don't just react to the environment around you. Don't go with the flow, BE THE FLOW.
  • Be a communicator: Successful people share one common trait: They all communicate well, both in oral presentations and the written word. When it somes to selling, whether it's products or services, the best communicator who focuses on the benefits to the buyer wins.
  • Be a goal-setter: Set short and long-term goals for yourself and for the business. Make sure that your personal goals are consistent with those of the business. The goals must be realistic, measurable and defined. And they must be written down.
  • Be a decision-maker: Entrepreneurs are usually very adept at making decisions. The typical day often entails making one decision after another. No one needs to be afraid, just evaluate the facts, weigh them carefully and make a choice.
  • Be a promoter: Every business needs dynamic promotion. Master the basics of advertising, publicity, public relations and sales promotion. Unless your potential audience has knowledge of your business, you will fail. So promote, promote, promote some more. He who promotes best, wins.
  • Be a salesperson: Nothing happens until someone sells something. If you're not comfortable selling, take a Dale Carnegie course or join Toastmasters, listen to audio tapes while driving, watch video tapes and take college courses to gain some confidence. And practice, practice, practice.
  • Be an accountant: By no means am I suggesting you become a CPA. Leave that to the professionals. But it is imperative that you know how to read and interpret financial statements. You must know what the numbers are telling you in order to make sound managerial decisions.
  • Be a customer specialist: Without customers, there is no business. The business exists because customers are there, and they are the sole source of income. Taking care of and satisfying customers are top priorities. Align your focus on what's truly important: providing customer benefits via your product and service.

So, how do you match up? Maybe you're not so proficient in each area, but don't fret. Just give it all you've got and be willing to learn something new every day.

Bill Bryan is a counselor with the Service Corps of Retired Executives. SCORE offers counseling, workshops and seminars on small business operations. You can reach Bryan through SCORE, 515 N Court St. 815-962-0122, for information and appointments.

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