Whether you are going it alone or working with a team of believers and dreamers, going into business for yourself is an exciting and somewhat scary time. It is exciting because you are doing something new. Once you go into business for yourself, it is no longer business as usual. Your 9 to 5 just became a 5 to 9. Your days just got longer and your nights, a whole lot shorter. Your weeks are without ends because Saturday and Sunday become at least partial workdays. Things will go on this way for a lot longer than you expected or wanted.
One of the reasons you are up so early and at work so late is that you are trying to figure out how to do a lot of things for which you were not necessarily prepared when you decided to start a business. If you are a baker, you already know how to bake the kind of treats that people want to buy, but that does not mean you have all the business knowledge that makes it all work. They don’t teach baking in business school. And they don’t teach commerce in cooking school. Here are a few of the disciplines you need to pick up along the way.
Not every business relies on a server closet full of big iron, but every business relies on sales. Somewhere along the way, there is an end user who has to discover your product or service, select it, and give you money for the right to use it. If you come from a tech support background. You learn a lot about dealing with customers, but you generally don’t learn a lot about how your company generates income. Spend some time in the sales department before opening your own outsource customer service business.
Start by finding a quality sales training package and take full advantage of it. Sales is not magic. It can be learned. Great sales people make it look incredibly easy and that gives many entrepreneurs the false confidence that they could do it without any experience. After all, how hard could it be? That is the kind of miscalculation that could soon have you wondering if it’s time to hang of your solopreneur shoes. The answer, absolutely not! Everyone underestimates the importance and difficulty of sales when they first go into business. They think if you build it, they will come. That is not true. If you sell it, they will come. Start your sales training today.
The best advice is to find a bookkeeping service that specializes in small business accounting. While 62% of small businesses have in-house accounting, you don’t want to ignore the benefits of outsourcing your bookkeeping. Whichever way you choose to go, you will still need to know the basics of bookkeeping for yourself. You can’t afford to take a completely hands-off approach to one of the most important aspects of your business.
You need to have enough knowledge to check the work of your bookkeeper and get a good overview of what your money is doing. You need to be able to spot errors. And you need to know what questions to ask when going over the books. If you don’t understand the data, you will not be able to improve. It is worth taking a course at your local community college.
Every Job in Your Company
Don’t hire anyone to do a job in your company that you don’t know how to do yourself. You don’t need to be a professional bookkeeper, but you need to know it well enough to maintain accountability. The same is true for buffing the floors to writing the ad copy. If the future of your business depends on that job, you need to know how to do it. A boss that doesn’t know how to work the copy machine and sanitize the coffee maker isn’t worthy of being a boss.
Being a successful business owner means knowing how to operate the peripheral services on which your business depends. You might have someone doing the IT for you, but you need to understand the computer systems that keep your business going so that minor problems don’t crash your business whenever the IT person takes a day off. It is vital you know something about sales, bookkeeping, and all other jobs in your company. If you don’t possess some knowledge about all critical aspects of your business, it really can’t be said that you own the business at all.