Friday, November 14, 2008

Nicole's Commentary 14 November 2008

With the new year looming, now is the time to plan for the next 3-5 years of growth. While we were discussing the foundation with a fellow business owner, she said "The last few years I have been working as an employee. My business has not been set up right so I have a lot of fear. Even though I can't afford you, I can't afford to not have you if I want to grow my business". She has been in business over 15 years, but she did not incorporate the business, there is no an accounting system, and she did not track her customers. One method to get over the fear of success is to lay a solid foundation.

Even though, the newsletter is distributed to 1200 business owners, only 240 (20%) choose to open and read the newsletter. For those owners who want to save both time and money, here are a few ways to lay a solid foundation for success!

1) Build your network and garner quality recommendations (see marketing tips above). Business relationships, on average, take 18-24 months. Join us at the Greater Philadelphia Chamber to associate with like minded businesses who understand that we have to grow together. This is where the relationships are built to do business at the next level. The Greater Philadelphia Chamber and The Enterprise Center exposed my business to the President of an 18 year old, large minority owned firm with over 500 employees. Now that is a person I want to associate with.
2) Set up your DUNS number to enter the database. This is the database that corporations and the federal, local, state government use to find qualified vendors for procurement opportunities. As I learned at the Supplier Diversity Network, there are 1.43 million companies registered with Dun and Bradstreet but only 471,000 are in CCR. That means my business eliminated a million competitors by just registering!
3) Build your business credit. My first company loan will be a small one just so we can establish a credit history and show that Newman Networks has the accounting systems in place to handle expected capacity. Michael Bing from The Enterprise Capital Corporation, (another relationship that started a few years ago) my application is on it's way!
4) Become minority and/or women owned certified with the City of Philadelphia. This is a free service and the newly created Office of Economic Opportunity has made the application process much easier. I personally use this as a credible guide to show my business is incorporated, licensed properly, has a business bank account and has the business mindset to get the job done.

For me, the best way to get over my apprehensions is to go out and just do it!

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