Over the years many ups and downs. stress, no money, no access to money, everything that could go wrong -did. I think I have seen, experienced, or heard it all.
But, alas, this is my 21st year in business (a lot of perseverance, bull headedness, and determination), my successes and failures have helped me develop systems that help business stay, develop, and grow their businesses. I have written 6 financial books here is my shameless plug: 16 major awards, “the sexy little book of finance III, it contains personal development, budget’s, investment, and retirement strategies, but also business strategies (2 books in one). My other book, Seminar marketing for sales professionals is still selling from 2003-why? With all the phishing, email blasts, mailers, nobody pays attention, my book is back to basics for marketing and one on one strategies.
Besides all the major headaches and regulations that affect us in business like 550 filings for 401K plans, ERISA, Section 125 plans, IRS tax filings, and on and on it goes.
Here are things YOU MUST DO:
Whether you are a startup or established
- Develop a budget, do it on an excel spreadsheet.
- Develop a detailed business plan and strategy, review your plan at least annually to see if you have met, failed, or exceeded your goals.
- Develop a marketing plan-how are you going to penetrate the market? Seminars, advertising, mailers, email lists, shows, cold calls, face to face door knocking? Check out your competition to see how they doing and what is effective.
How do you separate yourself from everyone else? SERVICE
Contact (using a CRM)
Extraordinary product selection
Services and products that fit your client’s needs (a niche market)
Go back to basics: I call it FABASS (my first job with 3M company taught this-what a novel idea)
Keep it simple
- Join as many organizations as possible, branding is huge (logo, name recognition, etc. Most are free like Manta, Yelp, WordPress, Listen, LinkedIn, Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter, Alignable, Hootsuite
- Website-must have along with SEO underwriting. Who cares if you have a web if they can’t find it. Reasonable SEO like YEXT and Jetpack, Yoast, Adcritter
- Use quicken or other software to pay and track bills and expenses
- List out your debt, liabilities, and assets in detail – P&L
- Develop a spread sheet of inventory or merchandise to track costs and profits
- Make sure if you offer a 401K plan you are in compliance-if you do not use a outside fiduciary (3(38) plan, then you must do the due diligence on fund selections, timeliness of payroll deposits within 7 days or as IRS riles as soon as feasible possible), conducting quarterly meetings, disclose fund costs and fees to employees. Your free 401K plan may come back and put you out business on an IRS, ERISA or DOL audit.
- 5500 filings for your healthcare plans, most do not do this, (ERISA)
- Record all credit cards, loans, inventory, cell phones, vehicles, insurance.
- IMPORTANT: Google changed the rules converting to Penguin, now they changed again-if you are HTTPS -ssl certificate Google may not scan you for tracking or block you. Your website will come up unsecure…
You will need all this (at a minimum) if you are applying for a bank loan, or any type of financing, and success. Lenders look at how well prepared, organized, marketing strategies, P&L etc. you are to help determine if they are going to lend you money.
I have changed my business model many, many times over the years, some through necessity, some through insights to new markets, the key a is never stop learning, and never think you are too successful to change or listen to new ideas.
Frank J. Eberhart, CEP® RFC® Author
Buy my book: Seminar Sales & marketing Techniques from my website