In order to succeed in business, entrepreneurs must wear several hats. These responsibilities will change over time; however, through the daily operations of their business, they will have gained lots of experience. The various responsibilities range from troubleshooter, marketer, communicator, technical writer, or all-around “Jacks of all trades.” Let us also not forget the President, CEO, CFO, CIO and COO positions.
This can be daunting, to say the least. It can also become exhausting and cause the entrepreneur to take his or her eyes off the important areas that he or she must focus on. Defining the critical parts of business operations that they must focus on can vary depending on the business. If the business operates without employees, focusing on a personnel plan would not be logical. Focusing on those areas that will make the business operate more efficiently will make the difference between growth, survival or extinction.
Keep in mind that when you are driving, you must keep your eyes on the road while taking the necessary steps to use your signals and mirrors to communicate your intentions with the other users of the road. This is the same for business success. Identifying those areas of business that you must focus on can change over time, though a few will stay constant. Too often, entrepreneurs spend their time on things and processes that are not productive. Here are three areas you should pay attention to:
1. Financial Focus
Too often the financial aspect of a business is left to others, whether it is the CPA, CFO or Bookkeeper. Leaving the financial operations in the hands of others, though you have hired them for this reason, does not mean you should take for granted that all is well. When you as the owner of the business do not put in the effort and time to monitor the financial health, the business will suffer in the long run. This can lead to mismanagement, theft, fraud and could leave you exposed to drastic repercussions.
2. People – Building A Team
The people, or personnel as it is called in its truest sense, are the foundation for many successful enterprises. Having the right people in place will make the business run more smoothly. No business can operate effectively without people that are trustworthy, dedicated, focused and mission-driven. Pay them well; treat them right and listen to their concerns and suggestions; it will go a long way to minimizing your employee turnover rate. Even if you use independent contractors to facilitate your business needs, the way you treat them will always dictate whether they keep you on as a client or not.
3. Supporting Your Local Community
Community support is often overlooked when operating a business. Having a presence in your local community can go a long way to growing your business. Building an outreach program to help combat an issue can bring its own reward. Whether you are helping with the local high school, the PTAs, church groups, county events, or some other unique opportunity within a 10 or 15 mile radius of your business, it can make a major difference when a community member has a need. You will be the one they remember, not just your company. It can help drive sales, especially when you are not just doing it for the money.
There are many other areas you should focus on, however, prioritizing what you should pay attention to is important for you and your business. Determine what is important to you, deliver on it, and your business can and will make it through the seasons of growth or survival.
Is there something else that you would add? Does this make sense? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Karlene Sinclair-Robinson, dubbed “The Queen of Business Financing” is the Bestselling Author of 'SPANK THE BANK: The Guide to Alternative Business Financing'. She is considered a foremost expert on 'Alternative Business Financing' for startups, small businesses and struggling entrepreneurs. She is a speaker, instructor, business consultant and principal of KSR Solutions, LLC, based in Northern Virginia. She is also a top Twitter business financing source to follow via @KarleneSinRob. Website: www.SpankTheBankNow.com.
There is no reason why a plumber can’t lead the way and set the example. The electric motor is two to five times more efficient than a diesel engine. Higher efficiency means less energy consumption. Less energy consumption means lower costs and less pollution.
I would add getting to know your ideal customer. Your early customers may not always be the best customers for you long term, so you need to ask a lot of tough questions about what kind of work you want to do and what kinds of customers you are most fired up about serving.
Thought provoking article, Karlene! I agree with your focus on people/team and financials. Applaud you for including contribution to local community - an often overlooked factor considered as a "one day" piece rather than as a foundational piece that strengthens organizations.
Your analogy of driving - keeping eyes on the road while taking necessary steps to communicate your intentions with other users of the road brought up two things for me: 1) Another foundational piece is vision. Entrepreneurs must know where they are going and frequently do course corrections along the way. 2) Entrepreneurship can be so demanding that if we're not careful, we get pulled into doing the work without communicating what we're doing to others. Entrepreneurs need to build this communication function into their team building. Thanks for sharing your perspective.