How to avoid guaranteed failure.
I have been a public accountant for over 25 years. Running a business isn’t hard but there are things you MUST DO if you hope to succeed. These are things business owners learn the hard way.
- Determine profit margin BEFORE YOU START. Here’s a brief Youtube I did years ago that will simplify it for you. YOU MUST UNDERSTAND MARGIN.
- Eliminate the accounting function. If you rely on somebody else to tell you if your profitable, it’ll cost you. (Watch above youtube again!) You do this by linking your checking account to accounting software like Quickbooks.
- DO NOT SPEND MONEY UNLESS YOU HAVE TO. Even then, be careful. (Refer BACK to the youtube video on margin.)
- Develop a business plan. The best one I’ve seen (and it’s totally free) was put out by the Small Business Administration. If I were you and didn’t know business, I’ll cling to this like a 4 year old clinging to their mommie.
- Marketing Step #1: Develop a market penetration strategy. I run an entertainment and publishing company. Mine consists of using Twitter and facebook to identify people who might like my books, (And soon a movie) and novelty products. I use this link to get book readers to sample our writing for free.
- Marketing Step #2: Develop a growth strategy. These are two TOTALLY DIFFERENT functions. Market penetration is to get prospects. Growth is to get sales. What we do is to include chapter from works we sell in works we give away. This is our main book page Notice how it’s designed to be a “click to buy page. This is because we DO NOT advertise on our buy page. We advertise through advertising channels. You want your customers to buy on the buy page, not dance around trying to figure out how.
- Take your ego out of the equation. If you look at my titles they revolve around Paul Trifthauser, a character. It’s NOT ABOUT ME. It’s about my readers. To find your customer, you have to stop thinking about YOU and think about THEM. The best way to gain the customers trust is, ironically, to BE TRUSTWORTHY. So many people dance around telling everybody within earshot that they’re a business owner. All that creates is envy. When you create a name for your business, it should mean something. My company, Landon-Fillmore was named after the place where my great grandfather George Schwartzmeyer and his wife Catherine started their tailor shop in 1877, just after he was naturalized. He came here, dirt poor to start a new life, fell in love and had 7 children. I have their picture on my wall. George and Catherine, Anton, George, my grandfather, Barbara, Rose, Wilbert, Josephine and Jacob. The name has depth, meaning and history.
- Determine the value of your business. Remember, it’s not a job, it’s a business. This will change the way you think of it. If you think it’s a job, you’ll want to make more money. If you think of it as a business, you’ll want to make it more valuable!
- Start small. Don’t commit to spending money until you’ve finished 1,2 and 4. Once you determine the profit margin on one job or product, then you determine scalability. That is, selling multiple products or jobs. You may find that you change your product or perhaps do something totally different. Don’t be frozen in your “great idea.” You don’t need a great idea, you just have to be like Tom Brady. You have to complete 25, 7 yard passes a game.
- Know that your plan is NOT going to work. Once step 4 is done (do it in a word doc that you can change) new information will help you to continually tweak it. You’ll spend the rest of your business life tweaking it.
This list is for you and it’s free. Do yourself a huge favor and use the links. multiple times if necessary. If you feel compelled to help me, you can sign up in my mailing list and I’ll send you updates, as well as links to the works of Landon Fillmore Company. OR, you can purchase one of our action novels!! Obviously our customers get preferential treatment.
Suggested viewing and reading
Youtube video on Commodities. (For your interest, explains world markets)
“Influence, Science and Practice” Robert B. Cialdini. (Great book)