If you’re considering running your own business, there will be plenty of industry-specific information and skills that you will need to gather. But there’s one set of technical skills that all industries have in common: Business Administration and Accounting.
Of course, you will need experience in the industry you are moving into. It is more than likely this experience that encouraged you to take on business ownership in the first place. But expertise in one area isn’t enough to build a successful business. It will be your business acumen, and a lot of luck, that proves the difference between failure and fortune.
After working in hospitality during my teens, I completed a short course and internship in Administration. If you ask my family, this was a deviation from my career path, the one job that didn’t contribute to where I am now: running my own business as a writer.
But they’re wrong. In fact, it’s my experience in running an office, the administration and organization skills I learned, the business concepts I now understand: there’s no way I could run my own business without them.
1. Your Accounts
The financial systems of a business are complex, and it takes skill to ensure bills and staff are paid on time and government regulations are complied with and, at the same time, also ensure that there is still a profit at the end of the week for you to live on.
The highest priority in your business knowledge should be an understanding of your finances You need to know what it takes to run a profitable business and how to implement effective procedures. You will need to have an understanding of the relevant governmental and industry regulations, taxation and ethics, as well as bookkeeping, cash flow, lines of credit, financial reporting and payroll.
Developing an understanding of the mechanics of financial management will enable you to control your economic position and keep an eye on what is going wrong, and right. If you are ready to go out on your own or want to earn some additional cash in a ‘side gig,’ then an understanding of your financial responsibilities, and knowing how to meet them, will prove invaluable.
2. Your Legal Requirements
To start your own business or take on a franchise you need to know exactly what government rules and regulations are applicable. These can change from city to city and from state to state, so always ensure you are looking at the right information for your situation. If you are selling goods online to other states or countries, there may be other jurisdictions that your work comes under too.
In Texas, a good place to start to gather information is the Secretary of State’s list of Guides and Resources for Small Businesses. The Small Business Association’s page on Texas business licenses and regulations also provides a useful list of resources.
3. Your Strategic Plan
If you want to run a successful business, you need to know your definition of success. Planning for the future will clarify the steps you have to take and the goals you need to kick to take your business where you want it to go. A strategic business plan not only gives you a framework for the future, implementing the plan will also provide you with vital project management skills you can then apply to your clients.
Your strategic plan is how you turn your dreams into a reality, an action plan that provides the bigger picture. This plan can also help you avoid getting bogged down in the minor details of your business. Set aside specific times to work on both your administration tasks and strategic planning, so that each aspect of your business gets the attention it deserves.
4. Your Product
Some people are born for sales. My uncle is one of these people. There is one piece of sales advice that he gave me that I’ll never forget: Never assume no. If someone says “I can’t afford that”, they are not actually saying no. Until you get an “I’m not interested” treat every objection as a potential sales opportunity.
Even if you aren’t going to sell directly (although every investor, every partnership is a sale), you still need to have an understanding of how the sales process works in your business. From pricing structure to relationships building, not only do you need to know how to sell your product but you also need to know how to market your business, so people are aware of and want to use it.
5. How to Delegate
When you have multiple responsibilities you need to be able to manage your time and your tasks to ensure you get everything done. You will have lots of people demanding your time and attention, and you’ll need to be able made on-the-spot decisions as to who and what is most important.
As the boss, you will need to develop a way to figure out what is worth spending your time on and what isn’t. Just like a successful Office Manager, you need to be able to delegate effectively to make the best use of your time and your staff. While you will probably spend a lot of time doing absolutely everything during the start-up phase of your business, the ability to offload tasks onto staff or contractors will help you focus on reaching the next level.
For information on how CCI Training’s business and accounting program can give you the skills you need to launch your own business, fill out the contact form or download our e-book here.