And Another Thing...

20 February 2004

Since this day is about unsolicited advice, here are a few more points I’d suggest that you small business owners add to your charm school management curriculum:

  • Be on time for meetings with employees and suppliers.
  • All consultants are not evil or ignorant. Just because they don’t sell you a product, it doesn’t mean they offer no value to you.
  • Don’t think that just because you are the third generation to own or run the family business that you are somehow smarter than everyone you talk to. You’re not!
  • Get over your frustration with I.T. spending. I.T. is an important asset just like delivery vehicles, machine tools or inventory. Just because you didn’t have the foresight to start budgeting and tracking your various expenditures, it doesn’t mean they are all annoyances like unstopping the toilets! Start today and add these four accounts to your bookkeeping system:
    • I.T. capital costs
    • Software capital costs
    • Software updates and maintenance costs
    • I.T. operating expenses
  • Think in terms of both capital costs being turned or depreciated on no more than a 36 to 48 month basis. Think of operating expenses for I.T. in the range of 1% to 2% of sales. That’s right; get over it!
  • Then, begin thinking about every I.T. investment you make using these bullets as reminders of where the costs come from:
    • Hardware
    • Software
    • Training
    • Support
    • Maintenance
  • Don’t strut around your business talking about what a crazy day it is. You built the business. Why is it crazy?

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