Friday, April 13, 2012

My Tips for Small Business Owners

Running my own operation was be a tough proposition, but once I made a go of it, it was greatly rewarding. While a small business may range from just one person to dozens of employees or more, certain tips and techniques can run the gambit of operation size when comes to running a business. And it’s not always the operation that makes the most money, but the one that manages that money and the operat
ion the best that lives to see another day.

Here are some of the rules that I tend to follow as an independent operator myself, and that help me maintain a steady course as I sail my own ship.

Maintain Healthy Reserves Whenever and Wherever Possible

Whether it’s in inventory, cash, credit, or supplies, I find that it’s extremely useful to have reserves on hand whenever and wherever possible. In the initial days of my own self-employed venture, had I not had the financial reserves to maintain myself through that first year when income was virtually nil, it would have been difficult to outlast that cash drought.

Now that I have my legs under me, and my work is more where I’d like it to be, I find that maintaining a cash reserve serves as peace of mind. Meanwhile, keeping inventory reserves available acts to bolster confidence while allowing me to endure increases in demand and smooth over periods where productivity may drop due to inactivity related to travel or a vacation.

The Little Things Add Up

Whether it’s expenses or income related, the little things can add up. It’s not always those big costs that can kill a business, but the little ticky-tack items that slowly creep up on you.

My first year out, some of my greatest operating costs were related to office supplies and postage. And while some of my income streams in those first few years seemed mighty miniscule, only adding up to $40 or $50 here or there, some of them grew to provide me thousands of dollars in income. Had I simply given up on them early on, I could have missed out on tens of thousands of dollars in extra revenue over the years.

Be Ready and Willing to Change

What you plan for yourself and your business might not be what ends up earning you your income. There are plenty of small business owners out there who have entered one industry or niche only to find that they are better suited to something else altogether.

Tis is exactly what happened to me. I entered one area of an industry only to realize that if I wanted to pay the bills and earn any sort of real income that I was going to have to adjust my strategy and type of work to better fit the demand that was out there rather than try to force the issue with work that just wasn’t earning me any money.

Know Yourself and Know Your Business

While it might take some time to get to know your business as a small business owner, hopefully by now, you’ll already know yourself. Understanding how far or hard to push yourself, when to take a chance, how to balance risk versus reward, and when it’s time to pack it in and call it a day can make the difference between success and failure in a small business venture.

I realized that self-growth when it came to running my own show was a combination of learning myself through learning my business and vice versa. It took me time to learn how I would react and grow in an environment where I was governed by my own rules rather than those of a company or corporation. I understood that the quicker I could meld myself and my business into one, the sooner I could make decisions that benefited both rather than one or the other.

Disclaimer: The author is not a licensed financial professional or small business advisor. This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, financial or small business advice. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.

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