What does it take to be an Entrepreneur.

Successful EntrepreneurMy job as a partner with B2B CFO® has given me great insights into the psyche of the business owner.  I know many very successful owners and, unfortunately, too many that fail.  Today’s post is my list of pass fail activities that fall true for almost every business regardless of the product.

Do This

Don’t Do This

 

Be passionate about your customers.  They are not people that give you money, they are people you help with solving a problem. Do not make decisions to feed your ego or hide your embarrassment.  This will be counterproductive to the success of your company. 
Hire slow and fire fast.  Spend some time to make sure your staff have the right personality for the job (D.I.S.C).  Give them the tools to be successful. Don’t do anything that can be done by someone else in your organization.  At B2B CFO®, we have defined Finders, Minders and Grinders.  In your company, you are a finder and should only be doing finding activities:  develop new products, exploit new opportunities, develop key relationships. 
Forecast your cash flow.  Never be surprised by how much or how little cash you have in the bank. Don’t answer your own phone.  Office calls should go to an assistant and cell phone should go to voice mail.  You have to run your business on your schedule. 
Rather than studying your financial statements, understand the key financial metrics of your business. Don’t look at Facebook, Yahoo news, Linked in or any other internet browsing site during your work day.  Too many hours spent doing this to the detriment of your “finding” activities. 
Make decisions at the appropriate pace.  If you are in crisis and need to be immediately decisive, do it.  If you have time to be thoughtful and make a decision, do this also. Don’t tell your staff how to do something, tell them what the goal is.  Remember the story “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day.  Teach him to fish and he eats for a life time.” 
Treat your vendors like your customers. Don’t spend a large amount of money without understanding the consequences of that purchase.  It is amazing the number of business owners that buy a new piece of equipment then can’t make payroll next month (back to cash forecasting!). 
Hire an assistant.  For all of you that believe you have a reason not to do this (can’t afford it, don’t have time to train them, don’t know what he/she will do) you are wrong. Don’t lie to yourself by moving the goal posts.  If you are not going to make your sales forecast, don’t lower the forecast.  Better to find out what went wrong. 
Build and maintain a cash reserves equal to three months of operating expenses. Don’t punish others for your failures.  If you set your staff up for failure then berate them for failing, you will not be able to keep your good employees.   I have a client that does this and his turnover is horrible. 
Monitor the trends.  Year over year sales, year over year profits, year over year sales per FTE (full time employee).  If you’re tipping over, you need to know it and act quickly to fix your company.  Don’t stop being a student.  If you don’t grow and develop, you become a dinosaur.  And you know what happened to T-Rex!
Make 5 key calls per day.  New customers, old customers, vendors, lawyers, etc.  This keeps you in touch. 
Take a vacation.  Take lots of vacations.  Study after study shows that “nose to the grind stone” twelve months per year makes for an unsuccessful business owner. 

 

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