In this comprehensive small business management guide, we will practically take you by hand and walk you through the process of starting and running your successful small business.
What you are about to read in this little but mighty successful small business management guide are what you cannot get for free from any other experienced accountant out there. We don’t usually prepare guides like this but the request from our readers to prepare comprehensive guide like this kept growing and we eventually fell for it.
A-Z SIMPLE STEPS TO START, RUN AND SELL A SMALL BUSINESS
Brain Storming Session
To start any business, you have to hatch an idea, nurture the idea and test the idea before committing any of your resources to it. Brain storming session gives you all the tools you need in order to come up with business idea that works.
In this day and age where everything and everywhere are connected, brainstorming can be done even with people have not met before. All you need to do is join an online community in the field you are interested in, be active and see what people are looking for.
Once you have some idea of what are been discussed in the field you are interested in, set up a google alert so that you receive alert whenever reputable sights mentions the terms or phrases that you entered.
The rationale behind this is that your subconscious mind unintentionally absorbs ideas without knowing. That is what I call ‘brainstorming in your dream’ this reason why I prefer to brainstorm this way is that it helps make the actual research phase easier.
Well, many people have their opinion on this topic and here is mine. Market research is finding a long lasting internet buzz word and finds a way of satisfying the needs of the searchers. Think about it, how many people are there does not use the internet to search for things they intend to do? I bet there is no much.
There are many paid tools out there that aid your modern day research. But I personally use the free tools and still get same result as those who use the paid version. The only downside is that I spend extra time- but that is why we have time, to use them and not to waste them.
My starting point is www.ubersuggest.org. This free tool gives me an idea of what term people are using to find their goods and services. Once you get the broad idea, head straight to google keyword planning tool to get more search information. Armed with this information, you will be able prepare targeted business sales copy write.
Select Your Business Name Wisely
The name you choose for your business should positively reflect what the mission statement of your business. You cannot for example name your restaurant business ‘dare to die restaurant’. Yes, the name is catchy and sounds controversial but nobody wants to use his or her money to buy food from a restaurant with such name, except those that wants to die of course.
My clients have in the past used name generation software to get names that will not only sell to the human eyes and mind but will also be search engine friendly. We will talk more on search engine when we talk about the online marketing. I don’t recommend any particular name generation software but a simple google search will provide you with tonnes of such software to select from.
Make sure you register your business name both online and offline. To register your business name online, simply buy a domain name and you are good to go. For the offline registration, it depends on your country. In the UK for example, the Companies House registers all business name and it is not too expensive to do. It costs about £15.00 at the time of this writing.
Starting your business:
The next logical thing to do at this point is to open the doors of your business for the public to enjoy. The only thing that can hold you back at this point is yourself. This is the stage where many entrepreneurs procrastinate a lot and end up losing the desire and motivation to start. My only advice here is to just do it.
Finding a mentor:
If there is one person you would like to have on your initial business network as an entrepreneur, it is a small business coach or mentor as many call it. Finding a mentor is not an easy task but can be done if you try.
Finding the right founder employees for your start up business can be daunting so it will be better if you engage the services of recruiting agency to supply you with temps at the initial stage. This will change when the company starts growing and can afford have fulltime staff on their payroll and then set up a human resource department.
We won’t spend much time on this topic as this article on sources of finance for small businesses have already done justice to this topic. The only thing I would like to add at this point is that you keep it simple at the beginning and hire a small business accountant to handle the finances when it becomes more complicated.
Winning your first set of customers
Without customers, no company, Apple will be worth anything. Create companies are made of people – as employees and customers. You already know the saying that ‘customers are king’.
Winning customers is one area that 99% of new start-up businesses struggle with. Your small business success will know no bound if you get this right. Shortage of funds and resources at the disposal of small businesses mean that the luxury of expensive marketing and advertising is out of the equation.
This means that customers should be won freely and in some cases cheaply. The answer lies in the use of your online and offline network of friends and relatives.
Establish your expertise in your field of interest, and then tap into the network of fans you build. Join online communities and if you can, set up a blog. You won’t believe how many clients I have got through my online activities.
You can also engage in free small business bloggers outreach to gain new customers. I really like bloggers outreach because it always bring in results.
Developing management information system
I have worked with really successful small businesses and most of the reasons for their successful operations are because they have a robust management and accounting information system. One of my best tools for management information system development that stand the test of time and is robust is ISACA’s COBIT 5.
COBIT5 cover nearly all aspects of business technology, value adding system designs, corporate governance, information system security, and integrated risk management.
Securing your asset
Many small business owners that are just starting up often ignore the importance of securing their assets. The most outrageous mistake made by first time entrepreneurs is that they don’t have any form of asset register. Having a good asset register is a major step in developing and implementing an internal control system.
Another area that young entrepreneurs are ill advised is in the area of small business insurance. The number golden rule of investment is to protect your asset yet many don’t think it is really important to insure the base asset. I think I have said enough, you know what to do.
Small business competition is no longer all about engaging in price war. The ideal way to compete is to consistently add value in an efficient way. And that can only be done by continuously improving the way things are done. My standard advice on this is to reek of quality and highest standard.
Motivation to keep going:
Relaxation and meditation are very important in order to remain focused and motivated. I advise my clients to sign up for light exercise programmes and to also go to spa at least once in every 3 months.
Motivation is a journey not a destination and you therefore have to keep moving in order to stay motivated. One way of getting motivated and staying motivated is to surround you self with positive people and items.
Establishing online presence
You cannot successfully do any business in this google age without having a strong online presence. Having a website for your small business is no longer an option, it is now a necessity for successful running of your small business. Domain name and webhosting is now cheap that you can get some decent hosting and domain name for as low as £85.00 per year. I have said this before but will say it again. Get a blog where you can share some free quality information.
Good public relation is another area that every dynamic small business should really give full attention. If not for anything else, good public relations are very essential when it comes to manage negative press. Having a controlled online presence is part of the overall public relations management especially when you have a blog to go with your corporate website.
Continuity planning and succession planning
Small businesses are terrible when it comes to continuity planning. 8 out of 10 small businesses have no succession planning. Read these 2 articles for more on small business continuity planning and small business succession planning.
Negotiating with suppliers
If your small business is in the manufacturing business or into buying and selling products, you will need to have concrete and solid arrangement to ensure reliable and trusted supply. Aim for just-in-time philosophy by all means.
Proper financial management especially working capital management is essential to the success of your small business. This is especially important when it comes to managing the cash flow of your small business.
Keep it simple and unsophisticated. Never start a marketing campaign without doing a proper due diligence. A well thought out online marketing is a must.
Strategic planning is all about planning for the future using both internal and external information a small business must recognise where the tide is turning to and either follow through or make plans to wedge against any unforeseen effects of micro and macro changes.
Compliance is a must in this ever regulated environment that businesses of all size need to work in. as a small business, you don’t just be compliant just to meet the legal requirements of government and other stakeholders. Being compliant is the only way of doing a sustainable successful business. The ubiquitous nature of information technology has given rise to a buzz word called big data. This big data and other factors increased the risk of breaching customers’ personal data in your possession. At the very least, the privacy of your customers must be guaranteed at the very least.
The only thing you need to know in this area is that you need the service of a small business valuation specialist that will employ any valuation method to value your business.
Now is the time to start thinking about your exit strategy if you don’t already have one. You must have an exit strategy from the very beginning. Some entrepreneurs are known for their serial entrepreneurial trait of starting and flipping small businesses.
Wow! I have not made any post this long since I started this blog in 2009. You have noticed that most of the points are written in summarized version. That is because am conscious of the lent of this post as I really don’t want to scare my readers with really long post.
Please forgive me for doing this. I am only responding to requests to prepare a small business guide from start to finish for entrepreneurs.
I hope you enjoyed this little yet comprehensive small business guide. If you have any question on small business management, do not hesitate to ask by leaving your comment below. Please do share it with your network.