Starting and Managing a Small Business

Starting and Managing a Small Business

Start your business in a growth industry.

In 1975, I had become familiar with an MLM company that promotes a wide range of herbal remedies. It suggested to me that I entered a growth industry. I was right. If the MLM companies did, why not a lot of retailers and me. So, instead of going on the MLM route, I decided to sell to existing health food stores.

Get advice from experts.

When I opened a bank account, I did not know what my next step would be. I happened to mention one of my neighbors that I wanted to start a healthcare company. He suggested that I go to a health food store, get several newspapers, look at the ads and then contact the companies Im interested in. So that was exactly what I did. My wife and I scanned the newspapers and found only one product that we thought we could sell. We contacted the supplier and established a process through which we could sell the product. It is important to remember that people like to share their specialist knowledge. If it had not been for my neighbor, Id probably never started looking at magazines. Much of what made the business successful was that I just asked the right questions. Looking back, I wish I would have asked more questions. One of my biggest problems with running the business was accounting. I would probably have fewer issues in the area if I had asked my accountants for advice. They would probably have been able to recommend some excellent bookkeepers who could do it part-time.

Never go behind your accounting.

You can save a lot of time and much headache if your bookkeeping is updated at the end of each month. Make sure your bookkeeper is authorized. If you now know for sure, take your books to your accountant and get an opinion. It will be money well spent.

Reinvest your result.

When we sold any of our first products, we would reinvest some of the money in the business. We asked a lot of questions and eventually got a second and a third product. We used our revenue to buy more stock. We reinvested a lot of our profits and bought even more inventory.

Develop a reputation of excellence.

When we went to sell our product we were friendly, kind, thoughtful and always tried to provide excellent service. Because we were so small we could often provide better service than the larger companies. This excellence paid in a very unexpected manner. A small herbal company that would become one of the major herbal companies in the United States was looking for a wholesaler in my territory. They had found someone but he could not do the job eventually.

Choose the right marketing.

I walked around to the different health food stores and found two who were willing to buy the capped herbs from me. Thats how I put an order and sold the product to the two stores. I arranged for the herbalist to attend a few radio shows and I arranged for him to speak at a special lecture hall. Interest was so big that my sales doubled overnight.

Provide great service

From the beginning I have regularly delivered the product to my customers. Eventually, we started a shipping route and delivered to most of my customers every other week. We would simply call them and ask what we should deliver in two or three days. If a campaign would come up, we would tell the customers about it so that they hopefully have enough product available. They knew that my campaigns would normally lead to an increase in sales and they would be prepared.

Have employee performance goals written down.

As I said, after the prayer for my health, my IQ rose. It was high enough that my wife no longer considered brain damage. She could enjoy my business as much as she did before stroke. But my business world left a lot to be desired. One of the major problems was that I could no longer motivate employees who did not work with their potential. If I had developed a good system before my stroke it could have been avoided.

Has an exit plan.

In all likelihood, you will not want to own your business until the day you die. I did not leave my business as I thought I should. But I left in a way that was very economically rewarding. I contacted some wholesalers in the industry and let them know that my business was for sale. One of them contacted my main supplier. Two of my main contractors flew in to visit me one day. They were worried that the new company might want to buy me to get my customers. They were worried that the new buyers might stop phasing out their product.

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