The 9 Hour Small Business Tune-Up
This section deals with the importance of being in full control of your business.
Losing control of your business can occur because of excessive debt, other parties owning shares of your company, and partners. These elements can drive you out of business.
If you’re incurring excessive debts, it doesn’t matter if you have a good cash flow, a good marketing campaign, and business is booming. If you don’t reduce the debt it will catch up with you.
Debt is a major restriction of freedom and hinders your ability to make decisions. You may be presented with a very good opportunity but not be able to take advantage of it because of your debts. Don’t allow debts to restrict your growth. Make a plan that will allow you to reduce and eliminate it.
The best way to reduce debt is by taking a percentage of your profits and applying that to the debt. Plan on making a monthly payment.
Treat it like you would all your other bills, it has to be paid and it has to be on time. Come up with a figure that you are sure you can pay each month. If it’s too high, you will not stick to it and skip payments. If it’s too low, it will take too long to pay off the debt. The figure you come up with must be realistic.
Exercise: Debt Reduction
Look at your accounts to determine how much debt your company is carrying. How much can you reasonably pay each month to reduce this debt? Make a detailed payment schedule you can stick to.
You may have had to take on partners in order to establish your business. There is nothing wrong with that, especially if everyone knows the boundaries and sticks to agreements. If someone else has a controlling interest in your business and it starts to boom, then buyers may pop out of nowhere. Unless you are in control, you could soon discover that your beloved enterprise is being sold and you can’t do anything about it.
Your main priority should be to have control of your business. Don’t risk something happening to it after all your hard work.
Another controlling factor in your business is your suppliers. For example, suppose your business is providing a hot item that has you operating 24 hours a day. Not an hour goes by without a continual flow of cash, all because of this product.
Suddenly your supply runs out and your supplier that just cut you off, is the only one that carries it, what will you do now? At this point, you can’t do much. To prevent such cases from happening, make sure you have an alternative supplier that can supply the essentials you need to run your business.
Another essential and controlling part of your business is your employees. To clarify the importance of an employee’s role in your business, imagine a very unhappy employee feeling unappreciated. He decides he can do better with his own business. He gets a partner and opens a business just like yours, but before quitting he keeps working for you.
When a customer comes into your store he tells her confidentially to go to his store, for better prices and a huge discount for new customers. All of the sudden sales plummet and you don’t have a clue why. By the time you find out the reason, it’s too late and the damage has been done.
You must be aware of employee operations at all times. If you are running a large operation then you should get feedback from all levels of employees. Don’t depend on the department heads or managers alone.
Keep going down the ranks and get all the feedback you can about customer satisfaction, working conditions, ideas for improvement, and employee satisfaction. Not only will you have the important feedback but your employees will know you care about them as well as your business, and they will appreciate that. Remove dangerous gaps between you and your employees. Keep them happy and working on your team.
One way to determine if your business has any weak areas is to think like a competitor that wants to put you out of business. This will help you to make a plan to quickly strike back if this nightmare becomes a reality. You won’t want to just weaken the invader. You’ll want to attack and destroy! For that, you need a strategy.
Exercise: Competitors Outlook
List the things that a competitor could do to put you out of business and take your market share. What should you do to minimize the risk of this taking place?
Times change and so does the market. Sometimes we think the world will always be the same. When your children are small, you think they will never grow up and leave home. Then one day you wake up and they are adults with homes of their own. Market trends are like children. Stay alert for changes in the marketplace as well as changes in your industry.
There are many factors that impact your business. Become aware of all the conditions that your business requires for its survival. This awareness will allow you to take steps to eliminate as many dangerous conditions as possible.
Exercise: Identifying Threats
a. List all the conditions that could threaten the livelihood of your business:
b. Come up with some possible solutions to these threats:
The 9 Hour Business Tune-Up – Conclusion:
If you were diligent about completing this program, you now have a clear-cut plan to operate your business more effectively.
You are now ready to increase your marketing skills and watch your business really take off toward profitability and success!
Marketing a business that is not well planned will result in failure because the better you market a poor business the more people know about its problems. Your business should be in good shape before you start promoting it.
Your business is like your body. If you don’t take care of it, it can’t take care of you. Therefore, you may want to consider reviewing this 9 Hour Tune-Up every six months.
It’s yours to use as often as you like. Your business deserves 9 hours of tuning up every six months. If you take the time to do it, I’m sure you will see positive results.