Get an understanding of how the business works.
In fact, some of the best small businesses have evolved and succeeded by implementing some of these principles.
I will be using the restaurant industry as anecdotal examples throughout this article, but you will see that the principles below apply to any industry.
Watch them struggle for business, and ultimately close down as a result. Know-How is Not Enough. You also have to god business plan a tight ship financially, which requires the advice of tax and financial experts, and ultimately an experienced general manager at the helm.
Hire the Right People. If you are technically proficient in your field but lack marketing knowledge and expertise for example, then be prepared to hire the right people to fill in the blanks. This will start the trend of people beating a path to your door.
The next trick is to keep them coming back and referring their friends. Not only can it compromise and in some cases destroy a perfectly good friendship, but it can do the same to the business.
But hire with caution, and a heck of a lot of communication both in the friendship and business. Be prepared to wear different hats while at work and after work.
Planning Strategy is Everything. I have an acquaintance who recently stepped in as part-owner of a restaurant. The restaurant is well-situated and ultimately successful, but with a slow-down in businesses in the area, they have to work extra hard to keep enough customers walking through the door and keep them leaving happy.
After one particularly harrowing night when everybody in town decided it was the place to dine and not enough wait staff were scheduled, their patio was drowned out with rain, and one of their head chefs walked out, the owners made some snap decisions during the aftermath.
One of their decisions was to double the number of wait staff on shift all the time. The hourly wages paid out are increasing exponentially and unnecessarily.
The restaurant will likely lose their best servers because of this. Poorly trained or inexperienced servers can be the death of a perfectly good restaurant; retaining the good ones is crucial.
This was a snap decision may be a critically detrimental one. If a server has proven themselves with blood, sweat, and tears, they may be so lucky to be promoted to bartender.
Sadly though, servers and bartenders are not one and the same. The skills are not transferable, and not all servers understand the finer points of tending a busy bar.
Hence, their bartenders are more often than not under-skilled and unprepared for being in the trenches. They are losing business because they insist on promoting servers from within to become incompetent bartenders, instead of hiring proficient bartenders to begin with. Good Business is in Consistency.
This could be the very key itself to good business practice. If you do nothing else, be consistent. E-Myth is an excellent book by Michael Gerber centered around this crucial concept.
Consistency is what franchises are built around. A fledgling restaurant I worked for many years ago liked to think it was fancier than it was. The chef often played around with both presentation and ingredients for their standard entrees, thinking that he was adding variety and constantly improving upon the dish.
Unfortunately when I ordered the salmon I never knew how spicy it was going to be, what it came with, and even how it was prepared. With consistency, professionalism, proper planning of strategies, and alignments with the experts, you can run a top-notch successful business.
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