SMALL BUSINESS HELP from the SMALL BUSINESS HELPER
Just getting started here... lots more to come. If you don't find what you're looking for here , visit the forums and let us know about it. Free help is available there as well. Just post a question or a comment. Help us to give you the type of information you want and need.
A caveat... free advice is usually worth just about what you pay for it. Keep this in mind as you read on. However, IMHO (in my humble opinion), the exception to this old saying is being able to rely upon the resources and facilities available on the Internet to get useful information that will help you which is perhaps most valuable aspect of this new "electronic information age" we have entered. That's what we are all about. However, in searching the Internet for information you need to use your own judgement. If something doesn't sound quite right to you, it probably isn't. Hopefully what you find here will make sense. Most of the first few concepts mentioned here below are not new, but they are worth looking at again.
THE CUSTOMER IS KING
The single most important aspect of a small business is the customer. Without them, there is no business. The only way a business can successfully grow is to get more customers. Sales is the first and most important aspect that must be dealt with. The easiest way to fail is to lose your customer base. There are many other ways to fail in small business but if you have lots of customers you have a much better chance to succeed in spite of other problem areas your business might have.
REPEAT SALES VERSUS ONE TIME SALES
This is just like the old story of the tortoise and the hare. Generating repetitive revenue from your customers (repeat sales or service) has always been a steadier and surer way of building a business. Those who are in business for large, one time sale opportunities (the quick buck) often find there are long dry spells between these large sales. This makes them much more likely to go under. Repetitive sales or service provide a much more stable base of income for the long run.
Being able to accurately track the financial performance of your business on a timely basis is an essential requirement for small businesses. Knowing how much you owe, how much you are owed, how much you have in the bank, how much it's costing you to do business, and most important, what the bottom line is... forget about actually being successful... this is essential to just being able to survive. Perhaps the largest cause for the failure of a small business is inadequate accounting and financial controls. If it costs more to sell and service something than you are making on it, and you don't know it, well... selling more is just going to put you further in the hole.
Paying your quarterly estimates is a good idea. Not paying them is a very bad idea. If you can't pay them, you should be getting out of business. If you don't follow this rule (and it is a rule) more than just your business will fail. Even if you think you can make it up the next quarter, the reality is that if you didn't operate your business profitably enough to have the funds available to pay the government in the first place, you should never have even got started.
These are just a few of the topics which are dealt with here. You are invited to come inside and look around to see if we have any information you might find helpful. If you have a problem or a question which is not dealt with here and need a helpful, straightforward answer for it... the forum is where you need to go. Just go back up to the right-hand side of the top of this page and click on Forums.