is a practical affair. Most SBOs (small business owners) don’t have much
patience or time for theoretical stuff. What follows isn’t
theory. The ten principles are hard-and-fast success rules, lessons I’ve
learned over the years about running a business
purpose of a business is to make money. It’s fine to have a social
conscience, but without a positive bottom line, you’ll soon be working for
someone else…and your employees will be out of a job. So, don’t confuse
charity with business. When you make money, everyone benefits.
business is good business. Don’t cheat or lie to your customers, your
employees or your suppliers. If you do, it will catch up to you eventually.
only quality employees. Your employees are your greatest
assets. Good, honest, hard-working employees will help make and keep your
business a success. Poor employees will destroy everything you are working
your employees right. This starts with paying them an above-average
wage. In fact, forget about the "average" wage. If they’re
good, pay them what they are worth. If they’re not, replace them.
your top line and your bottom line. Delegate this responsibility and
you delegate control of your business. Not really a numbers
person? Tough. If you’re in business, at least learn the
basics. Then, without fail or exception, spend at least 30 minutes each
week poring over the books. It’s amazing what you can learn about your
company that way.
good, objective advice. Your best source is your banker who,
especially if you owe the bank money, has a vested interest in your financial
solvency. The next best source is a good accountant (not just a
bookkeeper, but an accountant) who can show you how to use your money to make
more money and save taxes. Finally, talk to other successful business men and
women. Do not talk to helpful friends and do-gooders who have never risked
a nickel of their own money in a business venture. What they know can’t help
a "brain trust." This builds on the above point. Find
half a dozen aggressive, focused small business owners like yourself. Meet
once a week for breakfast or lunch to discuss business issues. Form an
agenda to discuss goals, concerns and "best practices," how to solve
problems. Two hard and fast rules: (A) Discuss only business matters;
do social hour some other time. (B) No griping or complaining; keep this a
positive, problem-solving and idea-sharing session.
balance in your life, including time away from the shop. Business is
important, but so is family and friends and community involvement. One of
my favorite practices when I feel overwhelmed by the trials and tribulations of
business is to just walk away from it for an hour or two. It has been my
experience that even a small break helps bring most problems into perspective.
forget that success hinges on SOP — standard operating
procedures. Master what works and then turn it into a process that can be
repeated over and over again. That’s the primary reason big companies and
franchises are successful. It can work for you, too.
growing. Keep learning. Otherwise, you will become bored and grow
stale. Find new challenges.
get out there and work hard, have fun and make money. JRI
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