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:

HONORING IMPACT OF SMALL BUSINESS  Cleveland Daily Banner
Town approves COVID-relief for small business  Brockville Recorder and Times

Asking the RIGHT Questions

Which questions do you need to ask to even get... Read More

Do Home Businesses Complicate Small Business Debt Collection Laws?

The home-based business market, sometimes called the SOHO (small-office/home-office) market,... Read More

Questions to Ask as Your Business Grows

Here are some of the questions that you need to... Read More

How to Integrate Yourself in Someone Elses Business

When do you need to get more involved with the... Read More

Small Business Success Tip: Learn Something New Everyday

Your grandfather probably told you to "learn something new everyday".... Read More

Home Based Franchise Case Study

Here is an interesting case study of a company, which... Read More

3.5 Million People And A Possible UK Home Business Opportunity

Has this ever happened to you... 'John, you have a... Read More

Small Business and Over Regulation

Over regulation of small business is so intense it is... Read More

Deciding Which State To Incorporate Your Small Business In

Once you've decided to incorporate your small business the next... Read More

Small Business Debt Collection Laws

In your small business debt collection laws will eventually become... Read More

The Step Zero Effect

The key to organizational focus and helping those who need... Read More

Recognizing Employees? Contributions Can Go a Long Way

Every employee would like to earn as high a salary... Read More

Three Small Business Secrets to Getting More Billable Time

As small business owners we're in business to make money... Read More

7 Habits of Highly Successful Small Business Owners

Do you spend every waking minute in your business? Do... Read More

Passion Is Key To A Successful Business

Passion. Passion alone can make your business successful. As an... Read More

Your Small Business Suggestion Box

A suggestion box is a really good idea for your... Read More

Small Business Failure? Nuts!

Pardon my enthusiasm, but a large part of your small... Read More

Business Debt Collection Letter Writing Secrets

Debt collection letters--an overview"Debt collection letter" in the singular may... Read More

Real World Accounting for Small Business Owners

If you're like me, you love accounting. It's so fascinating... Read More

Small Business Secrets: Self-Confidence Can Be Arranged

At first blush this idea might be difficult to wrap... Read More

Contract Cleaners ? A Guide for Business Part 2

In the first part of this article I put forward... Read More

A Day in the Life of a Self Employed Professional

It's Monday morning and Connie the Consultant sits in her... Read More

Operational Aspects on P and L Statements of Mobile Services Businesses

What kinds of things effect mobile service businesses P and... Read More

Franchising Companies Relationship Strategies

Franchising Corporations need to maintain an iron fist when it... Read More

Banking and Company Credit Card Policies for Small Business

Does your small business have a banking and credit card... Read More