A quarter century of consulting experience with small business has taught me that most entrepreneurs are very good at their specialty but their experience running a business varies greatly. Most entrepreneurs think nothing of investing time and money attending industry trade shows to learn about the latest equipment and techniques but fewer have read the latest business book or completed a new business course at a local university.
You are both: A concrete repair specialist AND as importantly, a business person!
As your business grows you may find that continuous education in business operations and system development could provide you a better return on investment then the latest piece of equipment offered.
WHAT DO I NEED TO LEARN
3 areas to explore:
- Financial Statements – Your financial reports are a coded picture of your business which can tell you how to make more money. HINT – if you are not running ratios every quarter and year end to see where you are improving a little refresher training and education here may help you.
- Marketing – If you went to school to study marketing 5 years ago your knowledge base in antiquated and you are already a dinosaur. HINT – Web marketing has changed the world, and is changing by the month!
- Productivity, Process & Quality – As your business grows and you continually change processes to adapt to scale without a complete reengineering you introduce potential productivity loss and risk of quality deficiency. To scale the implications, many quality consultants suggest a business may have as much as a 25% cost of quality. That is, they could be wasting 25% of their operating cost or experiencing a like percentage of lost revenue/margin.
I am by no means suggesting applying for an MBA over the coming year. However below is a short reading list which might not be a bad place to start on your free time or on audio when driving to the next job.
“Small Business Accounting Simplified” – Dan Sitarz
“Keeping the Books : Basic Recordkeeping and Accounting for the Successful Small Business” – Linda Pinson (An Oldie but essential for the shelf.)
“Content Inc. : How Entrepreneurs Use Content to Build Massive Audiences and Radically Successful Businesses” Joe Pulizzi.
“The Referral Engine : Teaching Your Business to Market Itself” – John Jantsch
Quality & Process
“Smarter, Faster, Better” – Charles Duhigg
“Traction” – Gino Wickman
AND IF YOU JUST WANT A GREAT BOOK TO LISTEN TO WHILE DRIVING……..
“The Hard Thing About Hard Things” – Ben Horowitz
Paul DelFino is a principal of the consulting firm Opportunity Inc. For over two decades he has assisted entrepreneurs in growing their businesses, responding to economic downturns and merger and acquisition activity. He has consulted with HMI and RaiseRite for over 17 years. His publications include “Avoiding Skewed Entrepreneurial Strategies” available from all on line booksellers.