Dennis Zink, Chair of the Manasota Chapter of SCORE, put together some tips on how to run a successful business. While there is no magic formula, I’d like to share some of those tips, and my comments, with you.

Cash is king; thou shall not run out of cash. Cash is the lifeblood of every business. Cash flow is a key financial report to watch. Projecting cash flow into the future will help alert you to potential bottlenecks in meeting payment obligations, and whether changes in your collection strategy or operating budget are warranted.

Prioritize tasks by doing first things first, and second things never. Always prioritize by how these tasks affect the businesses revenue. The key is to consider how many steps each task separates you from revenue.  One step is providing the service or making the products. Two steps is doing a proposal or developing a product that may lead to new business. Three steps is going to a conference to develop a skill set, which can be used to develop and sell a new service.

Management expert Peter Drucker writes “leadership is doing the right things, management is doing things right”. Do the right things rather than do things right. Be effective first, efficient second and solve the right problems.

Create SMART Goals. They must be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and with dates for completion. These goals must be written. Keep on top of current and emerging trends, and evaluate them in the context of your business goals. This allows you to anticipate and respond to shifts in the business landscape.

Learn constantly. Albert Einstein once said that, “Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.” That’s a principle that all small business owners should take to heart. In our area there are a number of educational programs for the business owners.

The North Port Small Business Lunch and Learn begins March 8th from 11:30 AM until 1:00 PM in North Port. This year’s program begins with a workshop on Using Email Marketing to Boost Sales. Future workshops include topics like business financials, the new tax law, creative advertising, making good decisions, Facebook and your online reputation. The program, including lunch is at no cost thanks to our sponsors.

The Busey Bank Lunch and Learn program began on January 9th and continues on March 6th talking about Basic Financial Statements. The workshops are held at the Busey Bank in Port Charlotte from 11:30 AM until 1:00 PM. Topics for future workshops include marketing plans, credit, access to capital, business accounting, advertising, salesmanship and more. The program is at no charge thanks to our sponsor Busey Bank.

SCORE also presents the Harbor Advisors Growing Your Business workshops in Punta Gorda. These workshops are held in the evening from 6:00 PM until 8:00 PM. The next workshop in this series is March 21st, talking about Marketing via Twitter. Future topics include websites, financial statements, lean business planning, accounting, promoting your business, communications and more. This program also is made available at no charge thanks to our sponsors.

Learn more about these programs and other small business tips on our website, Portcharlotte.score.org.

Let me know your thoughts at eddavis@scorevolunteer.org.

Port Charlotte SCORE is a Chapter of The SCORE Association, dedicated to the formation, growth and success of small businesses by educating and mentoring entrepreneurs. Volunteers provide confidential business advice to meet the needs of both start-up and existing entrepreneurs at no cost. Request a mentor at www.portcharlotte.score.org. To learn how you can become a mentor call Don Benjamin at 941-249-4440. Follow us on Twitter; @charlottecscore

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