If you’re an experienced business person, regardless of whether your our experience is online or on the high street, I think you’d agree that we can take for granted certain processes or actions that come naturally to us. Of course that’s why we found ourselves self employed.
To that end I found myself pondering the ease with which the experienced entrepreneur and in the same respect, the mistakes some less experienced make, so here’s a few I thought of, in the hope that by writing about them, I can help a few avoid them.
Seek and Take Advice
The first, has to be thinking we know it all and driven with enthusiasm push through without asking for expert advice. Often that advice isn’t expensive and there can be grants available, but be open to accepting the advice of those with more experience. If you’re not sure where to start getting that advice, try the British Chamber of Commerce at http://www.britishchambers.org.uk they will willingly take your call.
Have a Plan
Next, must be to have a plan. Yes there’s a military adage that goes along the lines of “Failure to plan, produces, pretty, poor, results” and it’s true. No matter how confident you are, just put a plan together even if it’s a simple one. If you don’t plan and set yourself targets, how do you know when you’ve succeeded?
Invest and Spend
Apprehension to spend a little… “You have to crack a few eggs” is another adage, but another true one. If you’ve decided on a product, don’t be afraid to make a few and give them away, there is no better way of getting a good reputation for something you’re making than giving some away (of course, you can always ask for a review too)
Loss Leaders and Gestures of Goodwill
Don’t be afraid to help a client for nothing. Indeed I would go one step further and say “do try and help the odd client out and tell them its free of charge as a gesture of good will. I recall a time when I ran my last company when such favors helped us build a great and strong brand. I know one prospect who was teetering on the edge of giving us his business and at the same time VAT was changed. He asked how much we would charge to change the VAT rate on his website and I replied “its only a small job and we wouldn’t normally charge, it’s the sort of thing we would just get on with out of good will. What I didn’t know was that his current provider had quoted him just over £100 plus VAT – we got the contract.
Staying with the “work for good will” thingy, there are people who just can’t get their mind around working without payment for even the smallest thing. Their principle in contrast is to charge for every single little thing. All I can say is that in my experience, such favors go a long way to building relationships.
Take Control of Your Cash Flow and Business Finances
Take a small business finance course so you have more of an understanding of cash flow, your profit and loss accounts and your balance sheet. Do not wait months for reports but compare actuals to plan monthly. It really surprises me when you talk to some small business owners and they wait months for their profit and loss report from their accountants and only have a vague idea of how they are doing!
Until next time