General Business Do’s and Don’tsPosted: September 1, 2010
While thinking through some potential blog post ideas a bunch of random thoughts came to me, so I thought I’d share some of those with you, as general do’s and don’ts which might apply to a new or existing business.
Please share your business do’s and don’ts in the comments section.
- Have a plan, Stan (one of the fundamental keys to success for any business is having a solid written business plan – it’ll help when trying to secure financing also).
- Learn the business by working for someone else in the same industry first.
- Seek family support.
- Select a business you have a passion for.
- Consider starting a business on the side then growing it into a full-time ongoing concern.
- Choose carefully your bookkeeping software (it’s a bitch to switch).
- Know your expenses and learn to control them.
- Assess your skills and training against the competition.
- Get to know your competition so well that his wife asks you to pickup milk on the way home tonight (I jest).
- Build an effective web site.
- Copy your competitors (take what they do well and improve upon it).
- Limit your liability (options may include franchising, partnership, incorporation, insurance).
- Tap into family members or friends that own or run a successful business. Take them for coffee. Ask lots of questions and listen.
- Make friends and build a support group by joining a local chamber of commerce, a trade organization, a business networking group.
- Get to know your customers (they key is to listen to what they say). They will probably be happy to tell you what they think of your business and what needs aren’t being met.
- Take time out – to spend time with family and reset occasionally.
- Have a succession plan (whether you’re planning on retiring eventually or mitigating the risk of an unplanned departure from the business, you’ll want to protect the family interest in the business).
- Start a business you don’t understand or enjoy.
- Quit your job until the business plan is completed and the start-up activities are ready to go.
- Let negative Nelly discourage you from taking a chance.
- Try to do everything yourself. Delegate or hire it out.
- Risk all of the family assets. Limit your losses to a pre-determined amount.
- Repeat the mistakes others have made. Talk to relatives or friends who have blown up a business and learn what not to do.
- Compete with your employer while you’re still working for them (or until your non-compete agreement expires).
- Rush into starting a business. Take your time; make sure you are happy and committed to the business you’re starting.
- Start a business that’s too expensive or too risky (you want a reasonable expectation of success, don’t you?).
- Choose a business where you must have the lowest price to succeed.
- Ignore the negative attributes of the proposed business (who wants to clean toilets every day?).
- Let setbacks ruin your plans for success.
- Get behind on receivables.
- Use the shoe-box filing method.
- Spread yourself too thin – focus on the things your business does well or generates the most revenue.