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Running Your Business

It takes passion and perseverance to run a successful business. You have to invest time and money. You have to think about 1,001 things. And you have to be prepared to move quickly to adjust your business strategy when the world changes around you. 
 

No question about it. Entrepreneurship is a major challenge. But it’s also incredibly exciting to see your big idea flourish, expand your workforce, and make an important contribution to the local economy. That’s why we prepared this brief guide to running a business. We hope it will help you think about some of the key issues involved. So you can reach your potential. And achieve your goals.

Learn more about how to develop a marketing plan.

1. ​Keep your overhead as low as possible. 
The number one reason why most businesses fail? They run out of money. That’s why it’s so important to carefully monitor your overhead and question every major expense. 

Do you really need all the space you have? Could you operate effectively in a smaller building or a cheaper location? Are there other costs you can eliminate or reduce? Successful business owners are always looking for ways to reduce their overhead and increase their profitability. It’s all part of Business Management 101.
2. ​Carefully manage your cash flow. 
In the challenging world of business, it’s always important to make sure that your incoming revenue covers your expenses and that you can pay your bills on time. So outline payment terms to your customers that will help you keep a positive cash flow and maintain a great reputation with your creditors. It will definitely improve your chances for business success.
3. ​Develop a sound marketing plan. 
Effective marketing requires a smart, strategic plan based on your revenue goals, your competitive advantages, a clear understanding of your best prospects, and a sensible budget. It should also include a detailed description of the specific communication channels and tactics you will use to achieve your goals and build your business. 

So take the time to develop a detailed plan that will guide your marketing decisions and investments and help differentiate your products or services in the marketplace. And don’t forget to explore the potential for using the Internet, social media and other forms of cost-effective technology to get the word out about your business.
4. ​Review and revise your business plan on a regular basis. 

Your business plan is one of the most important documents you will ever create for your business. After all, it tells the story of your business. It proves that you have a carefully thought out plan for success. And it can definitely help you win support from lenders, investors and key vendors.

But remember: The moment your plan falls out of date, it loses its value. So set aside time to review your plan two or three times a year. And make sure you revise it to account for any changes in your business, your competitive environment, or the economy.

In other words, think of it as a ‘living’ document that will keep pace with all of the important changes in your business and guide your decisions. That’s the only way to turn your plan into a powerful, strategic tool for progress.

Learn more about the great local organizations that can help you start networking. Find sample business plans at sba.gov.

5. ​Work with a financial professional to keep your financial statements up to date. 
It’s always important to know the financial status of your business. So keep a Certified Public Accountant or another professional on your team to help you keep track of your finances. 

With professional help on your side, you’ll be able to produce accurate, up-to-date balance sheets, income statements and other financial information at any time.
6. Build a successful team

You’ve hired the right team for the job.  Now make sure you have the right communications, policies, and compliance and regulation practices in place to protect and support them.  The Small Business Administration website has lots of information that will help you help your team to deliver the best.

7. ​Keep track of changing tax regulations and all of your tax obligations.

You don’t want to get behind on sales tax or any other tax, because then you may be subject to penalties that will hurt the bottom line. 

So keep a careful record of due dates. And watch for changes in federal, state and local taxes that could affect your business. Of course, a good CPA or tax pro will help you keep up to speed on all of these tax issues, too.

8. ​Monitor all of the laws and regulations that affect your business. 

Business laws and regulations are always changing. And penalties for failure to comply can hurt your bottom line and your business reputation.

So make sure you have a qualified legal professional on your team who can help you keep track of the latest laws and regulations and maintain compliance. And don’t forget: You can also count on these legal professionals to help you with everything from patents and copyrights to permits.

9. ​Take advantage of the power of networking. 

Connections. Contacts. Personal referrals. Favorable word-of-mouth advertising. There are many valuable business benefits that can come from a disciplined approach to networking. 

So join business organizations and trade groups. Become a member of the local Chamber of Commerce. Get involved with charitable organizations. And make sure you use economical, Internet-based social networking tools like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. 

Sooner or later, you’ll find that your personal and social networking efforts will pay valuable dividends for your business.

10. ​Consult with a tax professional about the management of your personal and business accounts. 

For many small business owners, personal and business accounts are closely related. So you’ll want to manage these accounts strategically. 

That’s another reason to have experienced professionals on your team with expertise in accounting and taxation. They can help you find ways to minimize your taxes and maximize your profitability. 

11. ​Give your business banking partners regular reports on the status of your business. 

Maybe there are major changes in your business structure, the competitive environment or the economy. Or maybe you’re revising your business strategy to make a major push for growth. 

Whenever there’s a new development that affects the operation of your business, take the time to update your lenders and business banking partners. After all, they may be able to offer suggestions or solutions that will help you achieve your new goals. And keep moving your business forward.

A final word. 

We hope these time-tested tips will help you run your business effectively and avoid potential problems. 

Of course, you can also find a wealth of information and advice at sba.gov and from other business organizations in the area.  Explore the  wealth of valuable, business-building resources available right here in Greater Rochester.

But don’t forget. Our experienced Branch Managers and Business Relationship Managers are always ready to help you find essential information, connect with valuable, business-building resources, and explore a wide range of borrowing and money management solutions.

It’s all part of our effort to answer to you.

Perseverance - The Key for Entrepreneurs

“I'm convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.”

Steve Jobs, cofounder of Apple

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