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Want to know a dirty little secret?  Most small business owners have absolutely no knowledge of or training on business fundamentals.  Concepts such as ROI, budgeting, sales, legal issues, KPIs, opportunity costs, financeaccounting, marketinghuman resources, and leadership are foreign.  They run their business blind, thinking that as long as they are an expert in the work their business performs, there isn’t any reason why they can’t be successful.  Problem is, running a business has nothing to do with the products and services a business offers and everything to do with these business fundamentals.    

And we wonder why so many businesses fail.

That shouldn’t stop you from going for it!  But if you want to dramatically improve your odds of success, it’s time to get smarter.  

  1. Take a training class, or two or three –  As an owner, you just can’t know too much about how business works!  One area that is absolutely critical is the financial health of your business. Even if you have someone who does your books and taxes (and you absolutely should), you need to be intimately involved in the financial review to protect yourself.  More importantly, there is power in the numbers as long as you know what they mean and how to analyze them to make decisions that will lead your company to and through growth. Time to sharpen that saw.
  2. Educate your team – According to the American Society of Training and Development, larger American businesses spend more than $125 billion on employee learning and development.  If you want to compete, you need to be training your team, too.  Even better –  get a two-for-one. Employees place a high value on access to continuing education; a benefit to them that leads to better performance outcomes for you.  Yes, some employees will take that education somewhere else, but what’s the alternative? A bunch of mediocre employees who have to be constantly coddled or who don’t know what they are doing? 
  3. Hire people who already know this stuff – Recognizing where your company has weaknesses allows you to bring people into the fold with the best experience and knowledge to help fill those voids.  The smaller you are and the less cash you have available, the more strategic you will need to be.  Start by outsourcing where you can see the greatest value.  Never skimp on a great lawyer, bookkeeper, accountant and business coach. We Spark Growth offers a variety of services including bookkeeping, marketing, and more. Learn more here.
  4. Plan and measure outcomes – Education for you and your employees or hiring experts should always provide you with a return on your investment.  Returns will show up as more profits on your bottom line, by providing you with more time to work on your business or by keeping you out of financial and regulatory trouble.