In the first part of this series of articles, on managing your online business at home, I wrote about the many management responsibilities and functions you have rolled into one if you have your own sole proprietor business, with no staff. Your management task is perhaps the most difficult of all. You have to manage yourself, in all those different areas of your business such as finance, marketing, purchasing and computing. If the marketing director in you is too cavalier, and unrealistic about sales prospects, you may ruin your business in one or two rash decisions. If the finance director in you is too risk averse, you may stifle the growth of your business.
I believe that if you think of your new home business as having different areas of management for you to concentrate on, you are more likely to succeed long term. If you can adopt some of the techniques of good management, you will end up with a more sound business that will stand the test of time. You will be a better decision maker, and it is decisions that dictate the progress or downfall of any business. Decision making needs to be unemotional and as scientific as possible, but as much as anything needs to be based on common sense. Good management is often a matter of common sense, and that is why I believe you, whatever your background, can run a successful business limited only by your ambitions.
The other virtue you will need in abundance is patience, and this an area where you definitely need to manage yourself. Impatience brings emotion into your decision making. It also brings self criticism, or criticism of others, when none is either deserved or necessary. Patience, realism and common sense combined will contribute greatly to making you a good business manager. With those three attributes, you will be well placed to learn the skills of management in the context of your own small business. You will be able to learn how the different functions of a business relate to each other and interact. You, of course, have no need to study or be an expert in all of those things. But it does help to at least be aware that some of them are, in their own way, critical to your success.
Whatever your business, this is a very critical function for you to understand and manage, so when it comes to learning all you can, financial management is a priority. Much of this is again common sense, and realism, and there are many tools around to help you keep good financial records. But as I mentioned before, it is decisions that dictate the progress or downfall of any business. All decisions you make will have a financial impact on your business. However, good financial records alone will not bring the reward of better decision making. If you want to maximize the profits of your home business, you may find it helps to have other, non-financial records to aid your decisions. I will discuss this more in part 3 of this series of articles.
Marketing is what I love most about business, and it is equally important to finance in all free enterprises. With an online business, the marketing side is an ever moving area of expertise. Offline, marketing has long since stabilised. Online, it has not stabilised at all; it is still developing and evolving. You need to be aware of what’s happening in the world of internet marketing, what has happened, and what is likely to happen. Always remember, though, there will always be a financial impact of your marketing decisions. You are obviously prepared to take risks, as you have started or are starting an online business at home. As the manager of your business you will need to balance the financial and marketing conflicts as they arise. You have to strike the right balance.