Twelve New Rules for Small Business Owners to Live By

As small business struggles to survive low consumer confidence, dismal forecasts and tight credit brought on by this financial crisis, it doesn’t really help knowing we are paying for the sins of irresponsible government and big business rather than anything small business did. But even more painful may be our loss of trust in the old rules we’ve lived by. So much of what we have been brought up to believe in now seems to be in question. Remember when:

  • Any company that did not balance its books and turn a profit went bust
  • Following a banker’s rules ensured an ample line of credit
  • Emulating a large company was a good thing to do
  • Customers would pay their bills on time and early for a discount
  • Contracts were binding and trust was sacred

In these tumultuous times, as these “best practices” become shams, what should we believe in? Somehow we have to find faith in the new “basics” that won’t change. Here are some new ideas for small business owners to believe in:

  1. If your firm’s excellent service and products help your customers grow their profits you must raise your prices.

  2. When you find a banker more interested in your business’ success than impressing her credit committee to keep her job, show them your real “books” or hire her as your CFO.

  3. Don’t support a trade association who protects or enables inept competitors instead of creating stronger companies like yours.

  4. Prove to your employees that building profitable customers will protect them more than well-meaning legislation.

  5. Seek out and follow the advice of counselors who help you create short term results and long term wealth.

  6. Business owners who focus on profitable revenue growth can not only pay their taxes but will be more successful than those wasting time complaining about paying taxes on sales they have yet to make.

  7. Encourage employees who worry more about protecting their jobs than doing the right thing to look for a better job.

  8. Owners with enough confidence to invest in long term R&D, gross margin improvement and creating profitable customers will do better than those seeking financial short cuts, real estate plays and tax plays.

  9. Charge large companies that don’t pay you in thirty days more to make them profitable for you.

  10. A healthy economy however repaired will help your business thrive.

  11. Owners who recognize when their passion for their business is declining will best succeed by selling, delegating or planning to close their businesses.

  12. A more competitive economy means you will find more opportunities to make money.

Regardless of the tumult, the blame game and the pain we are enduring, making your business better is the ultimate rule to live by.

Are you a business owner needing help with these rules? Contact Andy Birol using the form below.

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