Women In Business

Starting a business step 7: final words of wisdom

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Following on from our overview of how to turn your hobby into a business, let’s look in more depth at the seventh step:Final words of wisdom.

This just contains some final points to think about and remember. In no order of importance!

  • Add a personal touch where possible. Gorgeous wrapping, a note addressed to the recipient, or simply a label that says “Thank you for your support” with your logo;
  • Be consistent with customer service. Provide the SAME level of service to all customers no matter their spend or perceived social standing;
  • Open a bank account for the business and keep things separate from your personal finances.
    • If the business needs a loan – do a transfer from your personal account into the business bank account – and record it as a loan in the accounts of the business.
    • All expenses are then paid from the business bank account.
    • This also holds the business accountable, and allows you to track how much you are making and spending.
    • This also makes it much easier at tax time when all the business expenses are in one place and you can also re-pay the loan tax free (as you would have funded it with after tax money initially).
  • Don’t forget to “cover your ass” – Get insurance! You need to speak to a reputable broker in the industry you trade in and get sufficient cover for public and product liability, and don’t forget about things like worker’s compensation if you will be employing staff.
  • Maximise your available time
    • Depending on the business – have a meeting free day
    • Switch off e mails and your mobile etc and focus on getting things on your to do list done
    • Try not to switch between tasks. You lose up to 40% productivity by doing this, because every time you switch you need to re-set your thought process. So,focus on one thing at a time. Tick it off and move on. If the task is too big to complete in one day – break it down into sizeable chunks, finish that chunk & move on. Next day – tackle the next chunk.
    • End a meeting with who does what and by when. Both parties have a clear idea of the way forward
    • Set up a word document that you can use as a basis for standard replies to customer queries. Even better, an automated e mail responder with a FAQ’s may suffice for 95% of the incoming queries. Include a “click here” if you have a query we have not yet addressed
  • Don’t burn out – this is very easy for a small business owner who tries to do everything and may often even be working part time or full time and starting a business on the side;
    • Sleep!
    • Make sure you eat and drink. Have healthy snacks on hand and always have water accessible.
    • Exercise – even if this means going for a walk whilst you listen to a podcast or webinar. Kill two birds with one stone.
  • Reflect – spend time week reflecting on your business: what is better about your business this week then it was last week, and what could you have done differently. Anything that can be improved?
  • Make certain critical processes habits – only takes a few days or repeating an action or a task to become a habit, and soon you won’t even need to think about it.
  • Every set back provides learning for future success. Success
  • Do what you do best and outsource the rest – you need to understand every facet of the business, but you don’t have time to do it all. Focus your time and efforts on the business and not IN the business.
  • Get a coach – the hardest thing about being on your own is having no one to bounce ideas off (and who is going to play devil’s advocate with you)
  • Don’t stop learning – Accept that learning more equals earning more, BUT never re-invent the wheel. Don’t waste your time trying to set up systems when you can simply purchase and install one, saving precious time and spending little money.
  • Become trusted and credible in your industry. Provide valuable industry information that is relevant in regular blogs and newsletters and you will become the go-to resource. Write a book, and hand that out as your business card.

And lastly …

Risk everything, every day. Trust your gut and never listen to your friends.

About Gillian Nathan

Gillian Nathan is a qualified chartered accountant, with articled experience at a Big 4 firm. She is a Registered Tax Agent and an Associate Member of the Tax Institute. She has completed her Masters in Taxation and International Taxation. Gillian has both public sector and private sector experience, prior to starting and running her own successful tax practice. Gillian has sat on a board of directors at listed clients and been a member of the Junior Executive Board at the South African Revenue Services. In addition, Gillian has completed her Postgraduate Certificate in Education, and is a qualified secondary school teacher in Accounting and Economics. She has also lectured postgraduate courses and facilitated training and presented at in house training courses for employees of large listed clients. Gillian has combined her passion for education, taxation and accounting and started Simple Solutions Accounting Services. In this business, Gillian uses her passion for small business, educating and empowering business owners to implement affordable, time efficient and effective accounting solutions that provide the tools to allow business owners to focus on operating their business, yet having the ability to make real-time financial decisions.

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