Small Business Basics
Solving Common Business Problems
(Date posted: April 7, 2009)
This page describes the use of business basics and other insights for solving common business problems. If left unsolved, these problems can gradually hinder your business operations. They can drain your cash and leave you so confused that you might be forced to close your business.
I have grouped these methods in the same five categories that I use for completing difficult tasks. The task in this case is building a successful business.
The following topics list problems or requirements. Then they show how to solve the problems or satisfy the requirements.
Here are the topics:
Knowing what to do
Overcoming any barriers to action
Taking decisive action
Correcting any problems
Reviewing the results
This page should also help you decide about starting your own business. However, that decision is entirely up to you.
Before using this information to start a business be sure to read the following notice: Disclaimer
This topic highlights some reasons why you may not know how to operate your business.
Moving too far outside your comfort zone
As a business developer, you may have to go outside your comfort zone in some circumstances. This is how you learn new information and develop new skills. The problem is going too far outside your comfort zone. Then you will start making too many mistakes and won’t be able to control the business.
You need to decide ahead of time what things to do yourself and what things to have done by other people. You also may have to decide what activities you should put off until you have greater capabilities or more cash. (This means you may have to start with a smaller business venture at first. However, starting with a simpler business is usually a good idea in any case.)
Not keeping your promises or other obligations
Sometimes you can get so engrossed in the day-to-day details of your business that you may forget some of your promises or other obligations. These include promises to customers, legal agreements, and government imposed rules and regulations.
One way to avoid this problem is to set up a journal of your promises and other obligations. As you make a promise or become obligated, you would make an entry in this journal. Then you could review this journal on a weekly or monthly basis during some of your quiet periods. This would remind you of those things you must honor.
Promising more than you can deliver
When you are starting or growing a business, you probably want as many customers as possible. You may be tempted to promise more than you can deliver in order to get new customers. This usually results in dissatisfied customers or customers who won’t pay their bill. In either case, this is bad for your business.
Therefore, you want to be aware of what you can or can’t do for customers. Then never promise more than you can deliver.
The best way to get new customers is by reviewing the market and developing the sales program needed to meet the needs and desires of those prospective customers.
You have a hard time making important decisions
Good decisions are crucial when starting and running a business. Here are some suggestions.
- Maybe you have an exaggerated fear of making a wrong decision. In this case, you could try the exercises in Chapter 9: Conquer Irrational Fear of my low-cost Magic Success Secrets ebook.
- Maybe you just don’t have a reliable procedure for making good decisions. In that case, you could study my methods in Chapter 5: Make Logical Decisions in my low-cost Magic Success Secrets ebook.
Letting the details obscure the big picture
Sometimes you can get so engrossed in the day-to-day details of your business that you might lose sight of the big picture.
You may need to set up measurable objectives for the business and verify that you meet these goals. Then you can monitor these objectives on whatever periodic basis is appropriate. Typical measurements might be daily cash flow, weekly new customers obtained, monthly sales growth, quarterly customer satisfaction, and yearly review of your business.
This topic highlights some methods to use in overcoming roadblocks to starting your own business.
You don’t have the time or energy to start your business
This is another common problem. However, like most problems, you can overcome it. Here are some possible solutions:
- Everyone has only 24 hours in each day. You can get more out of each hour by reading Chapter 16: Use Time Saving Tips in my low-cost Magic Success Secrets ebook.
- Sometimes you just feel too tired to do anything. The exercises in Chapter 8: Summon Bursts of Energy of my low-cost Magic Success Secrets ebook should help you get going on your current business project.
You can’t seem to get going on starting a business
Trying to start your first business can present you with many obstacles. Here are some possible solutions:
- Start with a simple business concept that suits your needs, capabilities, and a current demand in the marketplace. After the business becomes successful, you can expand it to reach your business goals.
- Maybe you just need a systematic business development process to guide you. If so, you can study the Small Business Startup section.
- Perhaps you need to increase your personal empowerment before trying to start a business. If so, you can study my low-cost Magic Success Secrets ebook.
You don't know what type of business to start
This is a common problem for people who lack business experience. Here are some possible solutions:
- Maybe you first need to see what activities bring you joy and fulfillment. You may want to review the insights in Chapter 3: Discover Your True Desires in my low-cost Magic Success Secrets ebook.
- Make sure that the goal of starting a business is worthwhile. You may want to review the insights in Chapter 4: Set Meaningful Goals in my low-cost Magic Success Secrets ebook.
Let's say you have started developing a small business. Then you get bogged down. You seem to lack the ambition needed get your business underway. So what is the problem? Let's find out.
Maybe you really don't want to start a business. Maybe you just want to have more money. Go to the Earn Extra Cash main page and see if some other ways to get money appeal to you.
If you still want a business, verify that your business concept suits your needs, capabilities, and a current demand in the marketplace. Review the pages under the Stage 1: Selecting a suitable business idea topic in another section.
If nothing has worked so far, maybe the following chapters in my low-cost Magic Success Secrets ebook can get you back into action:
Chapter 15: Apply Action Triggers
Chapter 16: Use Time Saving Tips
This topic highlights some methods that can help you avoid or solve problems you may encounter in starting and running your business.
Not solving problems as soon as they arise
People ignore problems for various reasons. Maybe they hope the problem will just go away. Maybe they don’t know how to handle the problem. But most problems don’t go away. They keep getting worse.
Usually the best time to solve a problem is when it first arises. The sooner you start to solve a problem the easier it will be. Also, you won’t have to worry about fixing all of the chaos that a recurring problem causes.
For more information, see Chapter 18 Resolve Any Problems in my low-cost ebook.
Repeating past mistakes
Most people are creatures of habit. Sometimes they fall into a habit of repeating past mistakes. This should be avoided at all costs.
The way to break an existing habit is to develop a new habit that replaces the old habit. You can set up a journal to record various mistakes that you keep repeating. Under each mistake write down how to avoid that problem in the future. Then start enforcing your new habits.
Selling to “difficult” customers
When you are starting or growing a business, you probably want as many customers as possible. However, there are certain kinds of customers that you may want to avoid. An example would be customers who are very difficult to satisfy. You may have to spend too much time and money to satisfy them. And you may never be able to satisfy them. In either case, this is bad for your business.
There are various ways to identify difficult customers when you meet them. One example is a husband and wife who constantly argue with each other in your presence. Another example is customers who either can’t decide on what they want or seem to be very fussy about details.
So when you encounter difficult customers you should be aware of the possible problems. You may even decide not to sell to them.
Your business continually loses money
If you can’t make a profit, it’s because your sales are too low or your costs and/or expenses are too high. Here are some possible solutions:
- If your sales are too low, you probably need to revise your product design, sales price, or sales program. Ask yourself, "Do I really have a quality product that likely customers want?" See if the following pages in another section can help you:
Refining the Product
Developing the Sales Program
- If your product costs, sales expenses, or operating expenses are too high, you probably need to lower some or all of these. Ask yourself, “What cost or expense can I do without?” You may want to study the Planning Costs and Expenses page in another section.
- If you can't solve this problem, you may have to cease business operations, either temporarily or permanently. This may hurt your pride but it’s better than to keep piling up losses.
You keep having mistakes and problems
Everyone has problems. Some people solve their problems while other people let their problems defeat them. Here are some possible ways to handle your problems:
- Learn from the mistakes and problems that you have encountered in the past. Study them to see where you went wrong. Then don’t make the same kinds of mistakes in the future.
- Don't blame circumstances or other people for your problems. Accept responsibility for your mistakes and problems, and then learn how to avoid or handle them. This will increase your capabilities and self-confidence. (You may want to ask a more experienced person for advice.)
This topic highlights some methods you can use to improve your profit from business operations.
Taking your venture’s profitability for granted
Sometimes business owners simply assume that their business will be profitable. Yet many new businesses fail because they aren’t profitable. Others don’t make enough money to justify the time and effort required to keep them running. The problem may be that the owners didn’t do the required research and planning before starting the business.
So how much research and planning is required for a particular business venture? Well, it depends on the circumstances. If it’s a low-cost, low-risk venture, then you may just start your business and make corrections as you go. However, usually it’s best to spend some time in research and planning. The more risky, complex, time-consuming, or expensive the venture, then the more research and planning is needed.
For more information on research, see the Reviewing the Market page in another section.
For more information on planning, see the Planning Costs and Expenses page in another section.
Taking your customers for granted
There are two ways to take customers for granted. One way is to assume that your product will “sell itself.” Another way is to expect your existing customers to keep buying from you.
Customers are the lifeblood of your business. You can’t take them for granted. They can change their buying habits if they aren’t completely satisfied, or if a competitor offers them a better deal. You must give customers a good reason to buy from you.
Before you start your business, you should learn how to make sales to new customers. If you rely on repeat sales to existing customers, you should develop a customer satisfaction program to keep them coming back.
For more information, see the Sales Methods page.
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