I am blogging on behalf of Visa Business and received compensation for my time from Visa for sharing my views in this post, but the views expressed here are solely mine, not Visa’s. Visit http://facebook.com/visasmallbiz to take a look at the reinvented Facebook Page: Well Sourced by Visa Business. The Page serves as a space where small business owners can access educational resources, read success stories from other business owners, engage with peers, and find tips to help businesses run more efficiently. Every month, the Page will introduce a new theme that will focus on a topic important to a small business owner’s success. For additional tips and advice, and information about Visa’s small business solutions, follow @VisaSmallBiz and visit http://visa.com/business.
Michael Gerber – author of The E-Myth – calls it the “Entrepreneurial Seizure.” It’s that moment when it dawns on you that a business of your own is a great idea. You think about the freedom – financial and lifestyle – that you could enjoy. You start counting the money. You visualize “ringing the bell” at the New York Stock Exchange.
That’s not what happened to me. My husband, Hot Rod the Plumber, had a partner. Sadly, at the age of 33, his partner died. He died from a stress-induced health crisis, after working a 100-hour workweek. Sigh. It took a few months to recover from the loss as this fellow had been his best friend as well as partner. I offered to step in and help my husband. With all my education and experience, I figured it would be a snap to run the family plumbing business.
I was wrong. It was awful. We ran up a mountain of debt and strung out our suppliers. And we argued about money and who did what and just about everything else. Luckily, thankfully, we found a mentor who really helped us become successful. Here’s some hard-earned advice…in the hope of making things easier for you!
- Start filling your mind with positive, business-building philosophy and tactics. Turn off talk radio. Tune in to audio programs and YouTube videos of…
- Pay attention to the money. If you do what you love, the money won’t just…follow. You have to create it. My book, Where Did the Money Go?, is a terrific accounting primer. Get an accounting program. QuickBooks is a rockin’ good, solid accounting program. Enlist the help of a bookkeeper or accountant to help you learn to use it and develop your financial literacy. You don’t need to become an accounting expert, but you do need to know how to read the reports…the scorecards. Start now to track every dollar in and out.
- Charge more than it costs. Profits and cash fix just about every financial problem. Use credit wisely. Your Visa Business card is a great line of credit. Track your charges in your accounting program and you’ll never be “surprised” when the statement comes.
- Put a simple business plan together. Answer the basic journalistic questions about your business – What? Why? Who? For Whom? How? How Much? By When? – and put them in a three ring binder. For more on this, check out The Weekend Biz Plan.
- Approach a wealthy, happy person and ask him or her to be your mentor. Nobody gets to the top all by themselves. Great people understand that, and lend a hand to others on the way up. I found my mentor (Thanks, Frank Blau!) in the pages of a plumbing trade magazine. Every industry has a magazine or a blog that offers great business advice. Search online and find inspiring, content-rich sites and potential mentors. (See? You are on the right track!)
- Be generous with your information and money, too. Even when you are broke, tithe or give some time and energy to someone who really needs it. Remember the struggle, and use those lessons to help others as you expand in wealth and grow your business.
Now…that’s a bit of what it takes to become a businessperson. However you landed in the game, I encourage you to discover the freedom – financial freedom, lifestyle freedom – that lies within a winning business of your own.