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Power User Spotlight: Discipline is an Ongoing Challenge for Small Business Owners

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Power User Spotlight: Discipline is an Ongoing Challenge for Small Business Owners

By JimD
Published: December 9, 2010

Discipline
is based on developing good habits. Many small business owners struggle with
this and do not notice a lack of discipline until their business gets track.
José Rivera is the founder and president of his 8a certified company, Rivera,
Sierra, & Company. He provides consulting to governments, small businesses,
and non-profits.

Business.gov
interviewed José , also known as
riverasierra
in the Community, for some insight into owning and running a small business.

What
skills do small business owners need to have?

There are three areas that are important
for small business owners to have:

  • Marketing and
    the Ability to Get Clients/Work
  • Administration
  • Financing

All three are important and it is
extremely rare to find someone that is proficient in all three. That is why you
eventually hire people to help you. Along with these three areas, the time
allocation is equally important. When starting up, almost 75% of the time is
spent on marketing and bringing in new clients. This does not leave much time
for the other two. Administration usually gets the last 25%, leaving your
financing going unresolved. This is why many small business owners get into
trouble with not paying fees or missing returns.

You need to be disciplined enough to make
sure you force yourself to work on the other areas. It will make your business
more successful in the end. If you are disciplined at the start of your
business, you will establish habits that allow you to manage your business
better.

Has
being an 8a certified business helped you?

Being an 8a has been a godsend for me. If
you market your business correctly, you can practically grow overnight. Within
the first 3 months after getting my certification, I was awarded a $3 million
contract. Over the lifetime of the company, being an 8a has probably given me
$30 million in contracts that I can directly attribute to being an 8a.

To
learn more about 8a certification, check out
http://www.sba.gov/aboutsba/sbaprograms/8abd/index.html

Was
getting the 8a certification easy?

The 8a certification was fairly
straightforward and I did;t have any problems. However, the 8a certification
has created an entire industry of helping small business owners get their 8a
certification. My company does help with this as well. Certain areas can be
tricky, for example explaining how someone is economically disadvantaged.

It also takes a lot of
corporate discipline. Corporate
discipline includes things that as a small business owner, you should be doing
from the beginning, but people do-t. Having annual meetings, having meeting
minutes, having bylaws are all necessary for the running a concrete business.
When trying to get your 8a certification, you need to have these documents in
line.

What
advice do you have for someone starting a business?

Take 6 months and develop your
infrastructure. This includes the corporate discipline. Get in the habit of
tracking all your finances. Make sure you have bylaws established and you have
annual meetings and minutes. Once you have this infrastructure in place, all
these tasks become habit and that is what will help you.

This can be tough to know what to do, but
there are many resources out there. SBA.gov has great information and webinars for starting a business. The
webinars really give a new way to get information, since reading a document
will only get you so far and gets monotonous quickly. The Secretary of State
website for many states has information for business development specific to
their state. You can learn of tricks of the trade right on their website.

If you want to talk to a real person, the SCORE and SBDC offices are useful. SCORE has retired
business people that are there to help you. That can provide a great sounding
board for your ideas and will sometime offer their own. You do not have to be
8a or have any type of certification to talk with these people.

What
is the biggest challenge you faced in your experience as a small business
owner?

The most difficult challenge is new
business development. I feel that you should spend roughly 25% of your time
trying to get new business. This may seem tough, especially when you account
for the cost of spending that much time. For example, if you make $100,000 as
income, if you spend 25% of your time, it is costing the company $25,000. This
is the main reason why many small business owners tend to cut the new business
development short.

Bringing on new employees helped some
because I was able to get rid of some of my administrative tasks. This freed my
time of some, but as a principal of a consulting firm, my clients are counting
on me to be active on their work. 25% may seem like a lot time, but if you run
out of business, you will be stuck working 100% of your time on getting new
clients.

I suggest to all small business owners to
track their own hours. There are 2080 business hours in a year. Get in the
habit of tracking how much time you spend on given tasks and areas. After 6
months or a year, look at the breakdown. Are you spending enough time of new
business or too much time at administrative tasks? It can be very insightful
and help you get your business on track if you feel it is heading the wrong
direction.

Quick
Facts

Username: riverasierra

Date Registered: March 19, 2009

Total Messages Posted: 123

Total Kudos Received: 138

As
of 12/9/2010

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Articles

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About the Author:

Jim

Comments:

I feel like 25% of your time trying to find new business is a little bit on the low side. It should be your primary focus at first to get new customers and establish a base of loyal customers. That is the best way to grow your business and plan for the long-term in my opinion.
Everything is discipline. From that begins all, is my humble opinion, like it
A good knowledge And guidance to individuals who need to do business.: Power User Spotlight: Discipline is an Ongoing Challenge for Small Business Owners.
The most difficult challenge is new business development. th is is quite similar with my situation. the system in my business is not strong as the others so the products when reaching to custmers may be depend on other, the time and the expense is increased higher tha normal
Everything is discipline. From that begins all, is my humble opinion

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