Money Sense: Entrepreneurs, Don't Wreck Yourselves -- Beware of These Self-Inflicted Mistakes
|By Alfred Edmond, Black Enterprise Editor-in-Chief|
Starting a business will have enough external turmoil, so do all you can to minimize the drama you will bring to your own table. Here are a few rules you should obide by to ensure your business is off to a healthy start.
Don't try 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.
Don't hire 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 in charge of him? Could you fire your mother when the business grows to the point that 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.
Don't fudge 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.
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 on legal 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 the Service Corps. of Retired Executives at www.score.org.
You can find more excellent no-cost or low-cost resources to help you get off on the right foot as a new entrepreneur by clicking the small business link at blackenterprise.com.
Alfred Edmond, Jr.'s column on Money Sense appears weekly at blackenterprise.com as well as on the Doug Banks Morning Show every Wednesday.