Home – New Forums Other discussions what is the best way to learn business-building skills?

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  • #990594
    tony1000
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    Hi. I am hoping to get some guidance please. I have been in business for several years (I have a micro audio visual business) but I feel I won’t get any better unless I learn real business building skills. Basically, I make a living, paying my taxes and other bills but basically am not really getting anywhere. It’s like a job. Over the past year I’ve had introductory meetings with a couple business coaches (Action International and the Fortune Institute) but I don’t have the budget for their services (they charge a few thousand dollars a month, minimum 12 months). They both said that they teach you how to treat a business as a business or as an investment and that once you learn the skills they teach you can apply those skills to any business. I guess I am wondering 1) if this is true – are there business-building principles to learn that can make a massive difference and 2) what is a cost-effective way to learn these skills.

    I am not looking at leaning how to running a huge company, but hopefully learn how to do things properly with building and operating and maybe in the future selling a successfully small business (with maybe only a few empioyees).

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Thank you.

    Tony

    #1177764
    ThexArm
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    It’s my personal opinion that since you have been running a business for several years and making some kind of a profit tells me that you do know the basics of business building.

    It can become daunting to run a business all by one person. As a result business owners get a tunnel vision and keep doing same things, like the things that are working.

    In order to grow a business you need to have a business plan and plan of action to execute it. For example if you are doing 100k profit this year and wanting to do 200k next year then you need a plan. It just can’t happen automatically. You will need to devout considerable amount of time and resources.

    If the owner is already busy working in the business doing 50 to 70 hours a week it’s pretty hard to put anytime for planning and building the business. Also, these things look more conceptual than actionable items. That is why there are business consultants or coaches who can work with the owners to build the business.

    If you feel their fees are too much then you somehow need to employ people to do more mundane and repetitive tasks and start focussing on business development. One way to do that is to write operating procedures for each of the business processes you have. This is little bit time consuming but worth it. Once you have the procedures than your employees can follow those and not take up your time. That gives you time to build your business.

    #1177765
    Burgo
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    What great advice.
    Planning is the key and in your planning you may have to change from time to time so it has to be flexible. You also have to be prepared to think outside the square and be prepared to try something new. Business growth may be from another product or service complimenting what you already have.
    Talk things through with your partner or trusted friend, I always talked to my accountant, they love playing Devils advocate, and are there to help you develop your business.
    We as soloist often fall into the Blinker trap, only looking at what is in front and not looking at side opportunities.
    So on this Australia Day let you mind wander and over the BarB haveachat with your best mate, you will never never know if you dont give it a go.

    #1177766
    tony1000
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    Thanks ThexArm and Patrick for your replies.

    Both provided sound advice but I do think however that I would greatly benefit from some external help – beit a business coach, training program, etc..

    Although i’m ok at basic marketing, sales etc… i feel there’s more to it; I met with an electrician friend some time ago and whilst we were catching up over coffee
    he rattled off some numbers about how his business was going. The numbers were very good but what impressed me was that he mentioned a few things like ‘i’m now drawing x amount per year as wages and the business is producing a return of y amount after taxes’. It seemed like he was really treating his business as a separate investment/entity.

    That conversation and a few subsequent things I’ve noticed has made me think that maybe I am proficient at what I do (doing the actual work and being able to achieve a certain level of sales) but am completely oblivious to the real skills needed to operate a business properly.

    I’ve read loads of books on business but the ones I’ve read concentrate on things like marketing, sales, compliance, websites etc… – they don’t mention how to treat a small business as an investment and measure things accordingly.

    I’m willing to put in the time, commitment and money to learn such skills but don’t know where to go.

    I guess the main options are a business coach or some kind of course. Does anyone have something like this they can recommend please?

    #1177767
    KidsActivitiesDelivered
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    Some old school advice – go to the library.

    I have sitting on my table 20+ books (all published 2012 onwards) dealing with online marketing which is what I need to learn more about. All free, all available when I have time to use them.

    I’ve been studying and testing uni student style and I am already seeing results.

    Libraries can get books from other libraries, I’m in a small town and my library got me books from the big smoke ;)

    Start there, then hire someone to fill in the rest of the gaps.

    Just wanted to add that when searching be really specific – ‘small business growth’, ‘expanding your business’. I was amazed at some of the topics people have books about :)

    #1177768
    ThexArm
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    Get your P&L statement and Balance Sheet from your bookkeeper and ask him/her to explain few key financial ratios in your business. Start from there and type key financial ratios in Google you may get some good articles on the subject. I think you are being able to talk about your business metrics is different from growing your business.

    http://toolkit.smallbiz.nsw.gov.au/part/6/30/143

    http://toolkit.smallbiz.nsw.gov.au/part/23/37/552

    Certificate IV in business management may also be an option if you want to go that way.

    #1177769
    MissSassy
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    Hi Tony

    There are SO MANY WAYS to improve your knowledge in your small business without spending massive amounts of money.

    You can access online education, read forums and informations hubs like this one or find yourself a business coach or business adviser with the knowledge you are looking for but that will not send you broke in the process.

    Perhaps you need to see an adviser for a few sessions here and there as you can or as your feel you need so expertise to add. Business building as you have described takes strategic planning and this is where you need to begin.

    There is never a one size fits all approach and unfortunately this is what a lot of these expensive franchise coaches offer. Having said that there is a place for them and some people do very well with that type of approach.

    If you are looking getting a business adviser to help you then I suggest you look for ones that offer an initial session for no cost and one that has an ongoing cost you can afford. There are HEAPS to choose from and chances are you will find one with industry specific knowledge that will help to take your business to the next level.

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