As an entrepreneur, you have two different sides to your business. The first is the product or service you provide. This is likely what made you start your business in the first place: you’re a talented hair stylist or you enjoy coaching others to manage their financial success. Unfortunately, you can’t just do the activities you love and forget the rest. Paying attention to the other side of your business – the actual business side – is what will ultimately determine if you succeed or fail.
What You Need to Learn to Manage
Gaining and retaining clients Your clients are the lifeblood of your business and you need to continually work to gain new ones while also retaining the ones you already have. Depending on the unique nature of your business, you can accomplish this through networking, marketing, or developing referral sources. The most successful entrepreneurs will do all three.
Accounting We’ve talked about how downtime is the perfect opportunity to get your finances in order. This includes budgeting, separating your business and personal finances if you’ve not already done so, planning for taxes, and ensuring you have an effective invoicing system in place. You also need to understand that accounting boils down to turning your actions into numbers and creating an accounting scoreboard so you can determine if your business is winning or losing.
Marketing Marketing isn’t just for the purpose of gaining new clients (though it’s a big part of it.) A robust marketing campaign will also establish you as a thought leader, strengthen your brand, and help you provide valuable information to your prospect or client base.
Making sales If you’re not making sales, your business won’t survive. Many entrepreneurs find themselves wearing multiple hats and either fall on the side of concentrating too much on sales and letting administrative tasks fall by the wayside or they go the opposite direction. If you haven’t grown to the point where you can hire salespeople or employees to help with administrative work, you need to find a way to balance both in your schedule.
The Best Ways to Learn
So how do you learn to take care of these vital aspects of your business? Many entrepreneurs have training in their specialty, but have little to no experience or education on being a business owner. If you fall into that category, here are some good resources to help you learn:
Find a mentor You become more like the people you spend the most time with. That’s why hanging out with successful people – especially mentors or role models who are willing to share tips and strategies with you – is so beneficial. I find it’s best to have a variety of mentors, some of whom are in your industry and others who are not. The more you’re able to spend time with and learn from these individuals, the stronger your business will be.
Read, watch, and listen What do you do with your downtime? If you want to be like the most successful entrepreneurs, you’ll spend it reading business books, watching informative videos, and listening to podcasts that help you build your business. There are literally millions of options to choose from and it can be a little overwhelming to choose the best resources. To get you started, here are a few of my recent favorites.
Take classes If you’re ready to change your cash-eating monster into a money-making machine, taking courses specifically tailored to managing the financial end of your business is key. Courses like my Finance School for Entrepreneurs will show you how to maximize your dollars, get your finances in order, and continue to make money no matter what the market is doing.
Being an entrepreneur is exhilarating and rewarding. It’s also one of the most difficult things you’ll ever do. When you learn how to manage the business end of your business, you increase your chances for success. Have questions or comments about this topic? I’d love to hear them!