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Smith: A few thoughts on business

POSTED: January 13, 2008 5:04 a.m.

There are no guarantees that a business will always be successful.

A business may do well for a number of years. All the correct decisions can be made and then, with little or no warning, a business can collapse. Will anyone feel sorry and anguish for the business?

Over the years I have had an opportunity to watch various types of businesses grow and prosper here in North Georgia. Unfortunately, I have also seen enterprises close the doors never to reopen again.

How a business is managed can vary just like the colors of a chameleon. When facing difficulties, the person overseeing and operating a business has two choices: Either ask for assistance or battle a problem by themselves.

In the space allowed to me each week, I try to provide solutions that will be helpful today or in the future. And using good common sense is the basis to all my suggestions.

With that said, I will offer a few thoughts about starting or operating a business.

Keep an eye on business finances. Financial management is the major reason why most businesses succeed or fail.

Beware of empty strip centers or storefronts. A business needs customer traffic, so locate near other businesses that attract consumers.

If possible, don’t borrow money or go into business with friends and/or relatives if you want to keep them as friends and relatives.

Cash in the hand is better than two accounts receivable on the ledger for 90 days. Be careful about extending credit.

Listen and learn from everyone, but follow your business instincts. Remember what got the business where it is today.

Never repeat a mistake.

Never fear failure. Failure is fatal when a person does not get up and try again.

Think from the customer’s perspective. Give customers the product or service they want.

Customers are giving a business an opportunity to be great each time they come through the door. The business is not doing them a favor by being open. How many times will a customer return to shop after the first visit?

A shoebox is for collecting baseball cards, not for bookkeeping and record keeping.

If the business hires employees, train them, keep training them and allow them to do the job.

Owning and operating a business is akin to raising children. Like children, a business will demand all of your time, money, energy and patience.



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