Wednesday, June 19, 2013
8 Business Skills That Can Cost You Money
Many people have the passion and knowledge to become business owners but do not take time to educate themselves about how to start and sustain a business. Many business owners cannot generate increased revenues to produce consistent cash flows due to lack of business skills or business knowledge. Lack of business skills can cause lost revenue.
Some of the most common mistakes business owners make are: not accepting multiple forms or payments, credibility - what makes you different from your competition, having bad credit, limited use of technology, lack of creativity and not establishing a target market.
As a customer you do business with companies that have experience, provide good customer service, offer reasonable prices, meet your needs and have proven that they have sound business skills. Are you providing the same to your customers?
Don’t let your lack of business skills cost you revenue. Educate yourself about how to become a successful business owner to help you take your business to the next level. If you don’t know how to do something, do research to find out how to do it on your own or hire a professional. Here are 8 guidelines on to increase your business skills and stop losing money.
Automate your business processes. Create automated systems to recruit new clients, maintain client databases, product purchases, setting appointments, tracking metrics, and tracking financials. Automating your business processes will also help you efficiently handle repetitive tasks eliminating the risk of error; free up time for other tasks, help you make better decisions, boost sales and help you remain competitive. This will save you time and money and allow you to focus more on growing your business.
Use effective ways to communicate with your audience. Free websites may scare away potential customers who may feel that you are inexperienced, not serious about your business or that you cannot be trusted. Free websites also have advertisements that may distract potential customers from your website. Take the time to hire a professional web designer and make continual updates as needed. Include client testimonials, bio, FAQs, resource information and free products or offers on your website. Capture visitor emails to build your database. Avoid using free email accounts unless you work in an industry where free email accounts are not frowned upon. Setup a separate phone number for your business in your business name.
Find a Mentor
Get a business mentor who can provide advice and lessons learned on how to grow your business and create a brand. A business mentor will review the overall marketing performance of your business and will help you devise strategies to enhance sales for your business. A business mentor can help you become an expert in the industry and personal life. Mentors also provide valuable advice, help you solve problems and help you think strategically about your business.
Create a support network of family or friends who will encourage and support you. Hire experienced professionals to help support your business such as a financial advisor, lawyer, accountant and office support staff. Hire other professionals as needed to help you grow your business. You may feel like you can do everything yourself but that is the quickest way to failure. Consider outsourcing services as needed. Learn from entrepreneurs who grew into successful business owners.
Make a First Impression
First impressions are critical to turning prospective clients into potential clients. Word of mouth is the cheapest and best way to generate business. If your physical and/or office appearance are of low quality you may be missing out on potential clients. Always look and speak in a professional manner. Surround yourself with at least three successful business owners and ask them for advice on how they achieved their success. If you are in an industry that focuses heavily on appearance consider hiring a stylist.
Keep personal and business records separate. Using your SSN as your tax id can cause problems when filing taxes so it is best to obtain an EIN. This ensures that you keep your personal life separate from your business and prevents personal liability. Make sure you file the correct status for your business based on your needs. There are several options when filing your business status with the IRS such as sole proprietorship, limited liability corporation, corporation, partnership or non-profit. Create a separate bank account, phone number and mailing address for your business. Keep personal and business credit separate to make it simpler to track accounts and makes it easier to file your taxes.
Stop Being Mr. Nice Guy
In a survey of 50 CEOs, Russ Edelman author of “Nice Guys Can Get the Corner Office: Eight Strategies for Winning in Business Without Being a Jerk” asked about the impact of "being too nice" on their businesses. The CEOs surveyed responded by stating that being too nice cost them 8% of their gross revenues. For a small business that is the difference between going out of business and generating a profit. If you always give away free products or services you will never get a profit. Stop working like you are an unpaid intern and work as a business owner. Create policies that show others you value your time such as a cancellation or refund policy. Don’t be afraid to fire customers or vendors if the relationship is taking up too much of your time, not meeting your needs or cutting into your revenue.
Use Social Networking
Social networking is the easiest and cheapest way to get new clients and increase revenue. Create a separate business profile for your business. Ensure you social network business profile remains professional. Don’t allow others to post negative or inappropriate comments on your profile. Ask trusted friends and clients to recommend your product or service. Continually engage your audience and get feedback. Determine which social media network meets your needs and is the most advantageous for your business.