The Nuts & Bolts of business. For those of you who may not be wired to pay attention to cash flow, or marketing calendars, or sales conversations, saying you have to pay attention to your business’ bottom line is like telling you you have to start liking cod liver oil. It just ain’t gunna happen. Or is it?
What does it mean to pay attention to your business’ nuts-and-bolts-bottom-line reality? There’s a long list of things you might consider paying attention to; at its most basic level, though, it means a few things:
- You need to know who your customers are. The people you *really* want to work with, not just anyone who passes by.
- It makes sense to know how to talk to your customers so they’ll want to work with you. This is called a sales conversation (breathe!).
- In order to survive as a for-profit business, you need to make money. This means charging market rate for your work. If you’re ready for an advanced maneuver, you can look at the distinction between money in the door vs. profit.
If you’re just starting out, or if you feel like a klutz when it comes to “being in business” beyond simply practicing your craft, it’s easier than you might imagine to learn these things. That’s good news, right? (more breathing!)
There are experts you can hire , books you can read, classes you can attend, mentors you can learn from.
Here’s the secret: if you aren’t paying attention to your business’ nuts and bolts, it’s possible you won’t be in business very long, and that would be sad. One of my coaches early on said this to me (paraphrasing):
If you run your business well, you’re rewarded with practicing your craft.
This implies you’re a business owner first and a practitioner second. Being a practitioner is great, and it doesn’t necessarily translate into running a business – an important distinction.
Take the time to learn a bit about the basics of running a business. Be careful not to freak yourself out and feel you have to learn everything about small business codes, tax exemptions, federal regulation blah blah blah (remember all those people and resources you can call upon!). Just keep breathing, figure out which bits you actually need to know to get by, and get busy practicing your craft. Your business will thank you. You’ve got this.