Are You Ready to Own and Operate a Business?

How often has someone thought of starting a business based solely on the fact they think it will be easier than working for someone else. Fact is, owning and operating a business can be one of the most grueling experiences you will have. Granted, there are many advantages, but unless someone has actually run a business there is much to consider before you make that decision.

The following information will help you operate a business more professionally. With today's technology there is no reason you cannot have the look of a large company even if you are working off your kitchen table. If you have a home based business it is suggested you have a room dedicated to your business. This helps you to stay focused and there are some major tax benefits in doing this.

PROFESSIONALISM

-Choose voicemail rather than an answering machine. There is a major difference in the perception to the caller.

-Toll free number. Check with your local telephone company to find out if this is available to you if you will have a lot of clients/customers from outside your calling area.

-Have a separate business phone line. You do not appear very professional if your children answer the phone.

-Email. Avoid using free services due to limitations and perceptions. -Dedicated fax line. A small business will appear as such if the fax number and phone number are the same.

RUNNING AN OFFICE

-Stay organized. The more you can keep yourself organized the easier it will be to respond to customer's requests in a timely fashion.

-Color file folders. A great way to organize your file system. Each color indicates a category.

-Dedicated file cabinets. Separate personal papers from business.

-Form letters. Don't reinvent the wheel with every letter you write. Keep form letters on a disc or your hard drive.

FINANCIAL END of running the business. There will be many costs to running a business. The following are some of the investments you will need to consider.

-Medical insurance
-Separate phone lines
-Taxes
-Marketing material
-Office supplies
-Products
-Service fees
-Accountant
-Financial Planner
-Bookkeeper
-Keep excellent records
-Keep all receipts
-Advertising

THINGS YOU WILL NEED IF YOU WANT TO STAY COMPETATIVE

-Business license
-Incorporate
-Bookkeeper
-Financial planner
-Marketing material
-Business cards
-Letterhead
-Envelopes
-Folders
-Letters of referral
-Bio sheet
-Product or service sheet
-Web site

PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

-Which ones are most beneficial for you to join? To get the biggest benefit from any organizations you need to get involved. Use the monthly meetings to network.

-Dues and fees. How much are the annual dues and cost for monthly meetings?. Figure that in your budget.

-Conventions. Are there any conventions you need to go to? What is the time and cost investment? Talk to others who have gone to find out if it will be worth the investment.

-Network. Most of your business will come from referrals.

QUALIFYING THE BUYER

-Who is my customer?

-Do they have a budget for my product or service their budget?

-Do I want to work with them?

PAPERWORK

-Invoices

-Contracts

-Service agreements

-Letters

MANAGE PROFESSIONAL IMAGE

-Responding to requests by providing what the customer needs. If you are not the person for the job, who can you refer (that's why networking is so important)

-Follow-up. Do your follow-up in a timely fashion

-Develop a good relationship with the client

-Return calls as soon as possible

-Send information in a timely fashion

-Priority mail is often less expensive than first class. And it can be more impressive to your client.

-Keep in touch after the fact. A mistake a lot of people make in doing business is they do a job for a client and then seem to forget the client. It is easier to get repeat business than it is to find new business, and yet, so often business owners and salespeople (which is what you are if you own a business) will look for the new customer and forget about their existing clientele.

Kathleen Gage is a keynote speaker, author and business advisor specializing in marketing and promotions. Access Gage's's FREE eBook about how to gain visibility on the Internet with Street Smarts Internet Marketing at http://www.streetsmartsmarketing.com/free -ebook.htm

In The News:

JULY Introduces Small Business PEP  National Association of Plan Advisors
Celebrate National Small Business Week with our Colorado small businesses  Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade

North County San Diego Small Business

North County San Diego has had some significant growth, and... Read More

How To Ruin Your Business

If you're like the rest of us, you've spent a... Read More

How To Start A Blind Cleaning Business Quickly And Easily

Starting the blind cleaning business is one of the best... Read More

The Game Plan ? The Difference Between Small Business Success And Failure

It is an American dream to own a business. But... Read More

Essex Accountant: Accountancy Firm MVP for Your UK Business?

Most business owners know when they need an accountant, but... Read More

4 Areas Where Your Business is Losing Money

In my 18 years of consulting I have heard it... Read More

How to Protect Yourself & Your Business

As a business owner, you already know how important it... Read More

How to Get Maximum Results With Minimum Effort

Get maximum results with minimum effort. Sounds great doesn't it?... Read More

Truck Detailing Shop Business Case Study

As an entrepreneur you can learn a lot by following... Read More

Tracking Revenue For MORE Profits

The revenue history is a vital piece of your power... Read More

The Advisory Board: A Business Owners Most Valuable Resource

As a company grows, the owner's role begins to change.... Read More

Get Approved for a Franchise

Deciding to start your own franchise is just one of... Read More

Going Public: The Process for Small and Mid-size Companies to Go Public

It's the dream of every person who starts a business... Read More

11 Benefits of Starting a House Cleaning Business

One of the biggest fears people have about starting a... Read More

Environmental Pressure Washing in Pennsylvania

If you run a mobile car wash, mobile fleet washing... Read More

Local Government Relations for Small Business

Most small businesses simply go about their daily business and... Read More

Grab Your Consumers Attention in a Cluttered World of Marketing Communications

A cluttered world of marketing communications diminishes the ordinary. The... Read More

Are You Satisfied With Your Business Just As It Is?

Did you know that satisfaction is the number one emotion... Read More

Business Pain Defined

Every company has business pain, but the pain does not... Read More

Trailblazer Interview with Diane J. Levin, Partnering Solutions

Today is a Red Letter Day! It's special because today... Read More

If You Want Business - Be Consistent

Why does consistency in the message have an effect on... Read More

5 Small Business Management Questions to Help Choose Marketing Programs

As small business managers, we juggle limited resources in a... Read More

Finding the Right Virtual Assistant for Your Small Business

Articles abound advising the business community how to properly screen... Read More

Two Types Of Business Plan Cover Pages ? Which One Are You Using?

This is the tale of two business plans with very... Read More

Increase Productivity and Business Success - Take Responsibility

Are you responsible for your results?What comes to mind when... Read More