This week on The Urban Business Roundtable, I talk about how the difference between success and failure is not just financing the business (although access to capital is important), but planning and preparation. With that in mind, I point out some key mistakes you really need to avoid as you pursue success for your business venture:
Trying to do it all yourself. In the beginning, being everything from CEO to chief bottle washer may be unavoidable, but you must begin to delegate some business functions to others as soon as you can. As the owner, you need to keep an eye on everything, but focus on what you do best and delegate the rest.
Hiring friends and family. The people you know best are often a source of loyal employees who want to see you succeed. But approach such hires with care: Can your older brother handle having you being in charge of him? Could you fire your mother when the business grows to the point when you need a real CPA to do the books? If you are not sure that they (or you) can handle such tough choices, don’t hire friends or family. Focus first and foremost on experience, attitude and qualifications when hiring.
Fudging the financials. Most small businesses don’t collapse; they die a slow death, with the owners not realizing they have been leaking money until it’s too late. Understand exactly, to the penny, how your business makes (or loses) money each day; track every single expense.
Failing to get expert help. Too many entrepreneurs put off getting legal or financial help, thinking they can’t afford to. Actually, you can’t afford not to. Specifically, you should have a CPA/accountant to help you track the financials and a small business attorney to advise you legal on issues. Also, don’t be too proud to seek the advice of other, more experienced entrepreneurs both inside and outside your industry. A great resource for this is SCORE (formerly the Service Corps. of Retired Executives) at www.score.org.
Also on this week’s show, UBR Contributor Angelique Westerfield interviews legendary ad industry executive Al Anderson, founder and chairman of Anderson Communications of Atlanta, and a pioneering innovator of marketing to black consumers. Click here to visit the web site of Anderson Communications.
Alfred Edmond Jr. is the editor-in-chief of BlackEnterprise.com and the host of the Urban Business Roundtable, a weekly radio show, sponsored by Ariel Investments, airing CST Wednesdays at 8:30 a.m., Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 9:30 a.m. on WVON-AM 1690, the Talk of Chicago. You can also listen live online at WVON.com. Check back each Wednesday for The UBR Morning Post, which features additional resources, advice and information from and about the topics, entrepreneurs and experts featured on the show.