Tips on Being a Business Owner or Freelancer

You have to think of long term, your business, and your employees. This is one of the biggest tips for any business owner.

As a business owner, no one in your company should not be replaceable at any time, including yourself. With that in mind, you should have every thing every employee, manager, officer does written down and reviewed quarterly to add or make changes. It is so you don’t need those two weeks to find out what that person does or try to figure out what they did after they are gone. And beyond that what happens if some one gets sick? or dies? or can’t come in due to personal reasons.

Tips on Being Small Business Owner

  • Business Plan. Write it down. Read it and review it monthly. Change it if necessary.
  • Get an LLC, Inc, or what ever.
  • Get Insurance and more than enough insurance. If you have a home office most insurance only covers $5000 worth of business stuff. That’s not much when you add stuff up.
  • Write stuff down. Have a daily/weekly task list.
  • Set goals. Then create steps to achieve those goals.
  • Figure out your money makers. Nothing is worse than wasting time on some thing that will make you little money.
  • Don’t be afraid to get rid of bad clients or customers. They will end up costing your company money. Be nice but firm. Tell them things like “I’m sorry my business can’t fulfill your needs.”
  • Stick to what you are good at. Don’t over extend your services. If you are an ice cream shop, don’t try to be an upscale restaurant. If that is what you want to turn into later down the road once going, great, make a plan to do that.
  • Create a proper image for your company. Spend the money on a good web site. Business cards, etc. Nothing is worse than looking like a fly by night company.
  • Be professional. You can have your fun. And business can be very fun. Just don’t act like a tool.
  • Know your customer base and market. If you want to cater to the well off. You better have a business that acts like it and what they would expect. Opening a fancy high end computer store in a run down neighborhood is stupid.
  • Target your market and the people who you want to be your customers. But don’t be surprised if your customers turn out to be some thing else. If your customers are more computer savvy. Do things like send email newsletters, not snail mail.
  • Have a disaster plan. Nothing is worse than crap going wrong and things get messed up because there wasn’t a plan in place.
  • If you have employees, write out a job description. Review it every 3-6 months.
  • If you are looking to hire. Be picky. It is better to wait to hire some one than to spend countless hours dealing with the wrong fit.
  • Go that extra step for your customer. Even some thing as simple as helping them out the door goes a long way. But know your limits without coming off as a jerk.
  • Don’t be afraid to fire some one. If they are doing some thing bad or a bad fit. Get rid of them now. They will drag your company down. If some one gives two weeks. Get rid of them ASAP. They are leaving they don’t care about your business, they will probably not do much work in those two weeks. Why pay them.
  • Kill any sort of office drama.
  • Create a good company culture.
  • Read. And read a lot about any thing to do with your industry and business. Self help, business help, you name it. If some thing will fit into your company, make a plan to integrate it, then follow through.
  • Treat all clients equal. It doesn’t matter if some one spends $5 or $5000. You never know who your customers talk to. If you blow off the person who spends $5, you never know. They might be the one who tells the most people about your business.
  • Learn to manage time.
  • Break up projects in to small pieces. Just because some thing will take 6 hours doesn’t mean you have to do it all at once.
  • Spend at least a few hours a week improving your business. If you have trouble finding time. Schedule it.
  • Keep a schedule
  • Define your processes and tasks. Look at every process or task. Figure out the best way to do it. Write it down.
  • Don’t be afraid to contract some one for a job or project. Just because you know how to do some thing doesn’t mean you should or that it is the best use of your time.
  • Don’t be afraid of change. If you don’t change you will be left behind.
  • Train yourself and your employees well. It is often what makes or breaks your company.
  • Network your business. Go to networking meetings. Become a leader in your community. But don’t have the attitude or come off as “buy from me”. Share your knowledge and have the “How can I help/What can my company do to make your company better” attitude.
  • Charge what you are worth and make sure you are worth what you are charging.
  • Don’t be afraid to bill people. Be up front with the person. If you are rendering a service, find out how much you can legally ask for up front.
  • Be up front about freebies or bonus things you give your clients. Don’t let them expect it every time.
  • Don’t spend money you don’t have.
  • Be honest with yourself, your employees, and your customers.
  • Learn to know when to apologize. Things happen. Apologize, correct it (go beyond expected if possible), then move on.
  • Cut out dead services or products that aren’t making your money or have a low return, especially if you can replace it with some thing better.
  • Be excited that you are in business for yourself. Be excited about your business. If you aren’t why are you doing it any way?
  • Take time for yourself. Go on vacation. Go have fun. What ever. It is important .
  • Let your employees grow. You will be surprised what some are capable of. Talk with them, see what they like. Learn what they are good at doing. Just because you hired them to do xyz, doesn’t mean they always have to do xyz.
  • Listen to your customers and employees. But be smart before making changes.
  • You will hear complaints 5-10x more than you will hear praise from your customers. That doesn’t mean you are doing a bad job or have to make a change. It is a fact people complain more than they praise. And what they complain about is some times stupid. Learn to cut through the BS.
  • Praise your employees when they do a good job. Some times just saying “Thank you” or “Excellent job on…” goes much further than bringing cake or some thing like that.
  • Never complain about employees or customers to other employees. If a customer is being crappy. Deal with it, move on.
  • Know how much time you should spend on stuff. We often get caught up doing meaningless jobs or tasks the majority of the time.
  • Keep organized. Its easy to let things go. We are lazy by nature. But you will waste more time trying to figure out some thing or find some thing than taking the time to keep it organized.
  • Get rid of negative people or influences. It usually takes three negative people to disagree with your idea before you give up. Its crap. Most people don’t like to see other people succeed or take risks. Those are the people who try to crush your dreams.
  • Talk to other business owners. Find business that are similar to yours that aren’t your competition and start or master mind group where you talk about business once a month.
  • Pack up your pride. If you are struggling. Get a business coach or ask for help.
  • Get an accountant, lawyer, etc. A few bucks to ask or get a blessing on some thing, is far cheaper than being sued.
  • Create fair, honest, clear policies for both customers and employees.
  • Stay away from Dark Patterns and deceptive practices.
  • Learn to say NO. Especially to services outside of what you offer. The money will be tempting but if some thing happens, if will cost you more in the end.
  • Be picky about your clients. If you have a bad feeling about a potential client. Usually you will be right. Deny with grace.
  • Listen to your gut. If some thing feels right, it usually is. If not, it usually isn’t.
  • If you are a service business, create a contract for all clients. Get it blessed by a lawyer.
  • Know when to quit. Better to stop and move on then waste time and money.
  • Do what ever you are going to do very well. You don’t have to be the best. Just better than your most of your competition.
  • If you are launching new products or services. Prepare properly. Its exciting to get new things out there but poor execution will run any excitement and clients.
  • From time to time, take a step back and just look at what you are doing and how.

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