15 Business Tips Every Entrepreneur Should Know!
The biggest problem founders and small business owners have is that they’re experts in their field and novices in what it really takes to effectively run a business. That’s what usually trips them up, sooner or later. Don’t let that happen to you! Admit that you don’t know what you don’t know about business, starting with these 15 tips guaranteed to help keep you and your company out of hot water. Some are straightforward, others are counterintuitive, but they’re all true.
Always make sure there is and will be enough cash in the bank.
Period. The most common business-failure mode, hands down, is running out of cash. If you know you’ve got a cash flow or liquidity problem coming up, fix it now!
Separate your personal expenses from the business.
Most business owners, at one time or another, run personal expenses through their business. When you’re ready to sell, it’s imperative that you stop doing this and separate things in order for potential buyers to get a clear and accurate picture of the revenue, expenses and net profits of your business.
Budget for growtH.
If you’re like most business owners, growth is always top of mind. Growth should always be accounted for in your budget. In addition to the costs, your projected budget should also conservatively anticipate the added benefits and revenue growth associated with generating more leads and/or allowing people to pay online for example.
Know your finances inside and out.
If you don’t know your revenues, expenses, capital requirements, profits (gross and net), debt, cash flow, and effective tax rate – among other things – you’re asking for trouble. Big trouble.
You can’t fire bad employees fast enough.
You just can’t. Just make sure you know they’re the problem, not you (see next tip).
The problem is probably you.
90 percent of all problems are management problems. When things aren’t going well, the first place to look for answers is in the mirror.
Take care of your stars.
This goes for every company, big and small. The cost of losing a star employee is enormous, yet business leaders rarely take the time to ensure their top performers are properly motivated, challenged, and compensated.
Improve customer experience to boost sales
In order to increase customer value, map the customer journey and assess if you can make any improvements to improve their experience with your company and ultimately your bottom line.
For example, ask yourself if you are making it easy for your customers to make appointments, contact your business, and ultimately pay you, or are there steps that are overly complicated? Don’t be afraid to talk to some of your customers to get their honest feedback for areas of improvement.
Listen to your customers.
It boggles my mind how little most entrepreneurs value their customers when, not only are their feedback and input among the most critical information they will ever learn, but their repeat business is the easiest business to get.
Know when and when not to be transparent.
Transparency is as detrimental at some times as it is beneficial at others. There are times to share openly and times to zip it. You need to know when and with whom to do one versus the other. It comes with experience.
Trust your gut.
This phrase is often repeated but rarely understood. It means that your own instincts are an extremely valuable decision-making tool. Too often we end up saying in retrospect and with regret, “Damn, I knew that was a bad idea.” But the key is to know how to access your instincts. Just sit, be quiet, and listen to yourself.
Partner with other businesses for co-promotion.
Co-marketing is a win-win situation as essentially two brands team up on a campaign or piece of content such as a webinar, e-book, or even a special competition. Each company gets exposure to the other’s audience.
Learn to read and write effective agreements.
You know the expression “good fences make good neighbors?" It’s the same in business. The more effective your agreements are, the better your business relationships will be.
Run your business like a business.
Far too many entrepreneurs run their business like an extension of their personal finances. Bad idea. Very bad idea. Construct the right business entity and keep it separate from your personal life.
You don’t know what you don’t know.
Humility is a powerful trait for leaders, and that goes for new business owners, veteran CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, and everyone in between. More times than not, you will come to regret thinking you knew all the answers.
Behind every failed company are dysfunctional, delusional, or incompetent business leaders. The irony is, none of them had the slightest idea that was true at the time. Even sadder, most of them still don’t. Don't end up like one of them.