Starting Your Small Business

I hear a lot of the statement, “John, I have this great idea…” The simple truth is there are billions of great ideas out there, but the person that makes it happen is truly unique.

Listed below is a basic frame-work I developed to teach an introductory class to help people without prior business experience understand more about about their small business idea and how to make it a reality. (There are a myriad of resources available for people who wish to learn more… More will be forth coming)

Starting Your Small Business

What is your Business? Identify just what it is that your business accomplishes. For example, if Juanita sells beef tacos, she can look at her business and say, “I sell beef tacos.” Or, she can look at her business and say, “I sell quality food services”. The first statement is somewhat restrictive where the second allows the flexibility for Jane to adapt and make the most money from her venture.

Getting a mission statement. What is the ultimate goal of your business? This mission statement helps everyone involved gain a better understanding of just what it is you wanted to accomplish. It is important that the mission statement provides focus and flexibility. Jennifer should not limit her mission statement to, “Jennifer’s Taco shop wants to sell a lot of tacos”. Rather it should be more specific it outlining her ultimate goal as succinctly as possible. “Jennifer’s Taco shop works to ensure that everyone one in Chicago enjoys Jennifer’s quality beef tacos and unbeatable customer service”.

Basic marketing elements. There are four very important elements to marketing your business, and a few questions to evaluate them.

Product– What is my product? How is my product different from what other people can offer? What can I do to make my product better? What can I do to make my product more cost efficient?

Promotion– How do my customers here about my product? What is the most effective way for people to hear about my product and services? What can I do to integrate that into the promotion of my product?

Price– What is my cost of goods? What is the cost of operation? How much do I charge my customer? What are they willing to pay? What incentives do I offer to buy more product?

Distribution– How do people get my product? Does the location of the sales of my goods meet with the demand?

Financial: maintain books that show the cash flow in your business. The more detailed you keep the records, the more information you will have to develop your business in the future.

Tasks: Outline the responsibilities of your business in as much detail as possible. This is important to not only help you be organized, but to also provide the structure by which you can expand or lighten your work load in the future.

Inventory: Make sure that you keep running count of your inventory. If the amount in your inventory doesn’t match the amount it shows you have in the books, for more or for less, do what you can to figure out what happened.

Remember what you’re doing and why you’re doing it! Your business provides incredible opportunity to learn and grow! Work to have your business work with education and family development, to provide even greater opportunity and freedom in the future.

Save as much money as you can and avoid spending money on things that do not provide benefit for the business or family. (ie. Tobacco, alcohol, entertainment magazines etc.)

Time is money. Do not waste time. Look for opportunities to further your education. Read books, watch videos and listen to audio cds that teach good business principles. Avoid watching television or movies that do not promote family unity, education or good financial practices, (this includes novellas).

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