Following are some typical tasks that will have to be performed during this step.
NOTE: If you are starting a low-cost, low-risk type of business, review the Bootstrap Methods page in another section for ways to save on cash.
Start making sales and delivering products
Use the advertising ideas you previously developed to solicit customers. Refer to the Developing the Sales Program step if needed.
Start producing the product (goods, services, or information) to be sold to customers. Refer to the Being Able to Produce the Product step if needed.
Spend advertising money in chunks. Check out results before continuing with the same advertising method. Try different methods if your current advertising doesn't seem to be working. Focus on those advertising methods that produce the best returns.
Provide the agreed upon services to customers. Don’t make promises to customers that you can’t keep. (Also, it usually is wise to avoid customers that “just can’t be satisfied.”)
Take care of customer complaints promptly, honestly, and with courtesy. You need to keep your customers satisfied. Word of mouth from a satisfied customer is the best advertisement you could ever hope to get.
Use your accounting system
Use your computerized or hand-written accounting system to record transactions, and produce financial statements and other reports. Refer to the Setting up an Accounting System step if needed.
Review the accounting reports for failure to meet goals. Take any corrective actions needed. Be especially watchful of your cash flow and cash position. Do whatever it takes to maintain an adequate cash position.
Minimize costs and expenses
Be careful to keep costs and expenses under control. Refer to the Planning Costs and Expenses step if needed.
When you are first starting out in business, you must be frugal. The rule is start small, become profitable, and then expand your business. After you have a thriving business is the time to think about having a fancy office and paying yourself a good salary, not before.
Perform routine business operations
Use the designated people to perform routine business operations. Refer to the Designing Business Operations step if needed.
Operate the business from your home office. That's why you set it up. Make any changes needed to operate your business effectively.
Pay your production costs, sales expenses, and operating expenses.
Collect the sales price and any sales taxes that apply.
File all required governmental reports and pay any fees or taxes due.
This example was to be based on the activities expected for my own business operations, the sale of one or more e-books.
(Note: In the meantime, business conditions have nosedived worldwide. Thus I have decided not to hold back my best ideas for to use in the for-sale e-books. Instead this free website will get everything I have. However, at a later time I may be able to sell advertising blurbs of others.)
I haven't started business operations yet. Therefore, this example is just supposition on my part.
Making sales and delivering products
After I have written my first e-book on ways to have more money, I will convert it into a PDF document. Then I will use the facilities of my web hosting company, Site Build It!, to set up a sales page on my website. After customers make a purchase, they can download copies of the PDF document to their own computer.
This free website will be the main source of advertising for my e-book. This website establishes my expertise in this area.
Using my accounting system
I plan to purchase the QuickBooks Pro accounting program. I am used to learning how to operate new computer programs. So I should become proficient in this program in a week or so. Then I will be able to use it in my e-book business.
I will use a daily cash report and a monthly financial statement to monitor and control business operations.
Minimizing costs and expenses
My costs and expenses for this e-book business will be minimal. The main expense will be a monthly fee for the web hosting service. I might decide to spend money for an advertising campaign. But this is still up in the air. Right now, I am more concerned about providing information than getting rich.
In any event, I will only need a few sales each month to cover all my business expenses.
Performing routine business operations
After I have created the e-book and set up the sales page, the sales operation itself will be automated. Of course, I will have to file various reports to the Department of Revenue and Internal Revenue Service. After having prepared hundreds of these kinds of reports during my public accounting career, this will be a snap.
I won't have any employees, so there'll be no payroll tax reports to worry about.
This decision concerns the small business you started in this step.
Once you have started a business, you normally want to spend time, effort, and some money in making it a success.
After you are making sales and feel comfortable in running your business, you may be ready for making improvements.
On the other hand, if you have operated your business for several months and aren't showing a suitable profit, you also may be ready for making improvements.
However, if you aren't happy with running a business, you may want to shut it down. (This especially applies if you are losing money and aren't willing to make any improvements.)
These are your choices:
For a while, you might want to consider this decision at the end of every month. You would keep considering the decision until you have either gone on to the next step or shut the business down.
Go on to the Improving Customer Satisfaction step in your small business operation if you can answer "yes" to the following questions:
If you have answered "no" to any of the above questions, you should either continue with existing business operations, or shut the business down.