A Road Map for Success
For a brand new business owner, there’s no greater thrill than opening day. Your name is on the door, your shelves are fully stocked, sales are ringing up and the future couldn’t look brighter. So maybe this whole “own-your-own-business thing” isn’t quite as hard as you were led to believe.
Make cash flow your No. 1 priority.
If you want to succeed in business, you must pay attention to cash flow. A positive cash flow is a sign that your liquid assets — cash or other assets that are readily convertible to cash — are increasing and your business is growing. A negative cash flow is the sure sign your business is in decline.
If you do not have enough cash in your checking account to pay monthly bills, take these actions now:
- Establish a line of credit with your bank to help cope with seasonal ups and downs and the occasional crisis. No interest charges accrue until you draw on it.
- Age your accounts receivable, grouping them as current, 30-60 days and over 60 days. Don’t let unpaid accounts linger. Contact every customer over 30 days; consider a collection agency for those beyond 60.
- Negotiate longer payment terms with suppliers. This can come in handy when you have to replace ruined stock unexpectedly.
- Keep track of when expenses are due — monthly, quarterly, annually. Create a payment schedule and stick to it so you won’t be caught short-funded.
Hire good people.
Many small businesses open as single-person operations — the owner does everything. Works for a while, but as your business grows, you may need extra hands.
Develop a written job description outlining the key responsibilities of the position. You’ll be better prepared to screen and interview applicants and, later on, evaluate their job performance. When you’re ready to seriously begin looking for job candidates, keep these tips in mind:
- Ask friends, relatives and business associates for suggestions.
- Search online using reputable job placement tools such as CareerSource Florida’s Employ Marketplace, and Indeed.
- Tap into industry association websites.
- Monitor specialty job boards.
- Hire a staffing agency.
Make a list of the stand-out applicants and use phone interviews for initial screenings. Identify strengths and weaknesses; probe for specific job qualities you want, such as leadership skills and work style. Then narrow your choices and invite the candidates who performed best for a face-to-face interview. Hire the one with the skill set you desire and whose temperament best fits your company.