Being an entrepreneur requires you to fill many different roles, and make dozens of critical decisions. With proper planning, you can overcome many of the challenges faced by entrepreneurs. Consider each of these important areas of your business, and how you can plan your business operations.
Accounting and finance
Every business owner must pay close attention to accounting and financial data so that they can make informed decisions and protect company assets from theft. Typically, your first hire to handle these tasks is a part-time bookkeeper.
Technology has made it much easier to find and hire qualified people, particularly part-time or freelance workers. Freelancer websites, such as UpWork, allow you to search for candidates based on a job description and city. You might, for example, perform a search using “bookkeeping St. Louis” to find a candidate in that area. Swap out St. Louis with Cleveland, Chicago or any other city for results in those markets.
A bookkeeper is responsible for posting accounting transactions, including purchases, sales activity, and payroll processing. This job requires a trustworthy person who is responsive and pays close attention to detail. As your firm grows, you may hire a controller, who manages the bookkeeper and uses the accounting information to create your financial statements.
It’s important to invest the necessary funds to fill these positions so that the accounting work doesn’t fall behind. If you do fall behind, you may pay vendors late, run short on available cash, or price your product incorrectly. Accurate accounting records are critically important.
A procedures manual
Another challenge for entrepreneurs is operating efficiently on a day-to-day basis, and a written procedures manual can help you meet this challenge. Every business has procedures or routine tasks that are required to deliver a product or service. A procedures manual allows you to standardize the way you do business, which increases productivity.
Assume, for example, that you own a landscaping company, and that you generate customer invoices using accounting software. When workers finish at a client, there must be a method in place to ensure both you and the client know when and how you are to get paid.
To operate efficiently, you need to document exactly how you produce and send invoices. That documentation should explain how the accounting software is used, and who can authorize each invoice. By writing a formal procedure, you avoid any confusion about the process, and you can use the written procedures to train new employees.
Maintain and update a written procedures manual, so your business can operate productively.
Your primary goal as an entrepreneur is to create a product or service that solves a problem for your customer, and your competition may be intense. To overcome this challenge, you need to separate your product from competitors in the marketplace.
Consider the landscaping company example. You can differentiate your landscaping service by offering related products and services, which allow the customer to solve more problems using a single vendor. If your firm provides landscaping, tree- and lawn mowing- services, prospects may decide to do business with you, rather than with a competitor.
Your approach simplifies the process for the client, and you can communicate that message on your website, in advertising, and using email campaigns. Successful businesses focus on product differentiation.
Perhaps the biggest issue for an entrepreneur is finding people who believe in the business idea and are willing to invest. If you address the challenges listed above, you’ll be able to show a potential investor that you have a plan for accounting, business operations, and marketing. If you provide details about your business plan, their confidence level will increase, and you’re more likely to raise funds for your company.
Managing a business requires an entrepreneur to overcome a variety of roadblocks. Use these tips to address the challenges in your business and create a plan to succeed.