Thursday, December 6, 2012

Bright idea to Big Business: Tip #3

Tip #3: No man is an island…

 No man is an island…and going at it alone will leave you deserted.

Get some positive mentors, industry related advice, and feedback from other business owners. 

Ask, Seek, Knock
 When I first started getting information about starting a business, I was apprehensive about asking for advice.  I did not want to appear uneducated and I was afraid that “people” would not have time to answer my questions.  I was really wrong; I find that most people want to advise others so they don’t make the same mistakes.

 I try to ask questions to companies that are selling me something.  I look at it as a give and take, they have a sales pitch …you need sales tips…win, win.  

Support Staff
Most of my support system has been people that I met by chance who understood my struggles and wanted to help.  It pays to be personable and nonjudgmental because I believe people are placed along your path for a reason.   Team building is very important because you can only do so much before you either get burned out or drop the ball on something important. 

Customers Come First

1. Some of these important support areas become very evident when writing your business plan others present themselves when the time comes.  For instance I mentioned in a previous post that “we jumped in head first with no idea of what we were doing”.  It is important to have and maintain a customer base.  In business, the customer is the lifeblood, so someone must always be in charge of what is going on with the customer.  If this person is you then make sure that you remember that vendors are customers too.  

Right Hand Man (Woman)

2.    In the beginning having an administrative person seems like a luxury and many people try to do this themselves.  If you have never been doing this type of work then it can be a BIG mistake to manage the business, the customer, and the finances.  Do yourself a favor…Hire a (Secretary, Administrative Assistant, Co-Manager…Whatever title) person to handle the daily operations.  The phone calls, letters, emails, door answering, package delivery, filing, paperwork person is very important.  This person manages the distractions and facilitates the actions in your business.  This is often a very imperative, yet overlooked part of organizing your system in business.

The Green

3.  The third (and sometimes the most glorified) person that you need is the “Money “Person.  This person is in charge of bringing in the money (investors, creditors, banking).  The person who handles this aspect of the business pays everyone or brings in the money.  Now one thing I have learned in my Accounting studies is that the person who handles the money coming in (inflows) should not be the same person who handles what gets paid out (outflow).  This is a management and accounting control measure that ensures that there are checks and balances in a business.  If you are not a math, money person, then you should be looking for an Accountant or Bookkeeper, to be a part of your team. 

Team Building Equation 

Let’s recap: Team building

Administration + Accounting/Finance + Customer Service (Inbound/Outbound) = Team.

You (Jack of all trades ....Master of None) + No one Else = Hot Mess 

Of course, each business has to consider how to compensate these people but in the very beginning you should at least have these three areas covered.  Now before those who are reading this start asking questions like:

  • What about Marketing?
  • What about Advertising?
  • What about Human Resources?

Pump your brakes because you are the person who has to do all this work, delegate this work, or hire (pay) someone to do this work. One thing at a time , one day at a time.  If you have your customers flowing and your budget allows for these areas then go for it. I am just giving out some perspectives based on past experiences   Also remember that there are interns (and teleworkers) that are looking for this type of work. 

Cost Saving Tip

Where to find teleworkers and freelancers:
Task Rabbit:

I mentioned in a previous post that the local Chamber of Commerce, Colleges and universities, as well as SBA, and government sponsored organizations are all good place to ask questions, do research,  and network. 

There Is No I in Team and No Team with One Person.

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