It is one thing to be IN business and another to DO business. It is sometimes considered glamorous to be in business. It makes us feel important and independent, but business is more than that. To be able to say, “I’m in business for myself” or “I have my own business,” is a real accomplishment for some. However, that accomplishment is short-lived at best if there is no foundation for it to stand upon.
Most people go into business for one of a few reasons: you got fired; you feel you can do it better or you want more control over your destiny. With the economy and employment rate in the condition it is in, it is no surprise there has been an influx of new small business owners and increase in professionals moonlighting as part-time business owners.
Purse strings are in knots and business cards are being exchanged at record speed. It is certainly survival of the fittest. So, how fit is your business? Are you IN business or are you DOING business. There is a real difference. If you are IN business, you:
- Have no plan of action or direction in achieving your goals
- Market your products and services to the everyone and anybody
- Are always in “autopilot” or spend your days “putting out fires”
- Have no idea who your real competition is
- Don’t have a way or system to measure your marketing efforts
- Constantly focused on generating new clients
- Have no established or functional system in which you conduct your business; therefore, waste valuable time being unorganized
If you are DOING business, you:
- Have a clear set of goals and objectives. You have taken the time to chart your course in a written plan of action.
- Have a consistent marketing message that includes responding to a real need. You have determined your target market and know your client profile.
- Focus your time and resources on the marketing efforts and venues that produce results and put you in direct contact with potential clients
- Collaborate with complimentary businesses to increase your value to your clients
- Provide an exceptional client experience to generate referrals without having to ask
- Have a solid infrastructure and functional way of operating their business
- Continue to educate yourself on market and industry changes, how to improve products and processes, enhance client service and develop your professional skills.
Having your own business means more than ordering a box of business cards and sticking the “open” sign in the window. There is an opportunity for real personal and financial freedom; an opportunity that you do not want to miss or not be prepared for. Whether you were laid-off, fired or simply have always wanted to go it on your own, how you conduct your business will determine your survival and longevity. Actively participate in the planning, development and growth of your business. The reality is that there is work to be done. The glamour of owning your own business will wear thin and wear off quick when you are ill prepared. You will be stuck with a box of business cards, unnecessary bills and labeled “fly by night.” Take your business seriously and let it reflect in your efforts. You are not IN business. You DO business.
Submitted by A.Michelle Blakeley
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