Key Question: How do I handle all this paperwork?
The Online Workshop - Case Studies
1. Meet Steve Hoffman, founder Modern Postcard: Steve is in motion to achieve continuous improvement, the concept that has been institutionalized due to the success of W. Edwards Deming.
5. Meet Ken Duncan, The Duncan Gallery: Ken is one of the finest photographers in the world and he says, "Control your processes."
7. Meet Don McInnis, Record Technology: Don has a simple goal, "Be the best in the industry" and his company is.
A few key questions at Step 5
What have you recently learned about basic business practices? Do have monthly or quarterly financial statements yet? Do you track any key critical ratio?
2. Analyzing your Past:
What are you doing to improve your product / services? How do you use your month-end or quarterly closings? Have you attempted to do a business valuation? Do you have a statement in your business plan about sustainability? Have you begun working on an equity/liquidity model?
3. Being In the Moment:
Have a virtual office to operate from anywhere at anytime?
4. Directing Your Future:
How close are you to your quarterly / annual financial projections? Are you thinking of an exit strategy?
You are an official small business and no longer self-employed!
1. The Basics: Understanding Yourself.
You are now the boss. Get used to it. You can be a coach; you can be a team player; you can empower people. But ultimately, everybody knows that you started this business and you have been walking through the fires. You have earned a measure of self-respect and respect from others.
Savor the moment. OK?
Got it. Savored. Now, let's get to work. The goal is to grow the business toward sustainability so you might develop an exit strategy and liquidity model that empowers you to harvest your assets that necessarily get tied up in the business.
21st century Tools: Moving any business forward requires an intentional commitment to Continuous Improvement Cycles -- this is the byline of knowledge management.
Your unique knowledge is one of your most important assets and it needs to be aggregated, maintained, and made selectively accessible to your communities, then to your customers, and then to your potential customers.
Your web site is the infrastructure for it. Use tools to open it up so others can help you maintain and update it. You need to create a virtual office so there is no time that you cannot perform all the work you could do in your office from anywhere in the world with a telephone.
2. Build on the Past: Your Inner Community
The people who know your past can help you anticipate your future. Business valuation, sustainability, equity/liquidity models, and exit strategy should all be uppermost in your mind. Your past is one good indicator of your future.
Now your meetings with your local bankers, accountants, and lawyers take on a new demeanor. They are listening more carefully to you. Every encounter is important. Every discussion a potential key to unlock a new sale, a new insight for fine tuning your business, a contact for a key employee, a possible investor, and even an insight into your competition.
3. Focus Today - The present Moment: Structuring your time.
We've all heard that today is the first day of the rest of your life. It is not quite true. Time has many strange illusions. So in fact, you bring your past with you. The past defines who we are. So be humble. We all make mistakes. All of us have clay feet.
What can we constantly learn from our past? All the details are still right there. Go over the details one more time to see if there is something more to learn. Mistakes teach; successes reinforce; getting it right builds confidence.
Continuity of your communications. Consider creating a virtual office and be sure to use project management / performance management tools as well.
4. Projecting the future: The next full-time employee.
If you haven't already looked at it, you might enjoy studying the episode, The People Part of business. If you are a family business, there is something to learned within the study guides of all these businesses listed here. If you are thinking of franchising your business, study these episodes.