As far as I am concerned, one of the primary reasons the washout rate for small business owners is so high is because too many investors fail to place enough emphasis on getting the maximum return on every dollar and hour that they put into their small business. Instead, they seem to be more concerned about frivolous stuff like the color of their business cards. In any small business endeavor, a lack of focus, coupled with the inability to prioritize tasks, is a recipe for failure. So, too, is the type of complacency that breeds an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality, which usually results in a stagnant business that’s barely able to keep its head above water. That’s why to my way of thinking, the catch-phrase “easier, faster, and cheaper” should be the mantra of every real estate investor in America. I say this because I’ve learned the hard way that for me to consistently achieve the highest possible rate of return on the money and time that I invest in my business, I must continually analyze, refine, and tweak every aspect of my operation, to make it easier, faster, and cheaper to run. Nowadays, I think of my business as a high performance automobile engine, which must be finely turned and calibrated to run at its optimum speed and maximum efficiency. I can tell you from experience that in order to operate a small business at maximum efficiency and profitability, it takes:
1. Personal and financial discipline.
2. Organizational skills.
3. Management know-how.
4. Meticulous planning and attention to detail.
5. Prioritization of tasks according to their profit potential.
6. Maximum use of available technology.
7. Accurate record keeping.
8. Maximum use of all the tax benefits that are available to small business owners.
It Takes Discipline to Operate a Business at Maximum Efficiency and Profitability
It takes a combination of personal and financial discipline to operate a small business at maximum efficiency and profitability. First, you need to have the initiative and self-discipline that’s required to be successfully self-employed. You must work smart, so you don’t waste your valuable time doing grunt-type tasks that can be hired out. In other words, don’t spend your time cleaning up trash around your office when you should be out searching for customers. Second, you need to possess the financial discipline that’s necessary to operate your small business at maximum profitability. The only way that you’re ever going to be able to keep your spending under control is by:
1. Adopting a bottom-line mentality that’s totally focused on maximizing the profitability of your business.
2. Operating your business on a bare-bones budget by buying all equipment, supplies, and services at the lowest available prices in your area.
3. Keeping close track of operating expenses by carefully reviewing all invoices for errors, overcharges, and bogus charges.
Prioritize Tasks according to Their Profit Potential
The number one question that you must continually ask yourself when you’re working in your small business is: Is what I am doing right this minute the most profitable use of my time? A lot of people fail as small business owners simply because they’re never able to prioritize tasks according to their profit potential. They end up never making a profit because they couldn’t distinguish between what’s important and what’s trivial. As a general rule of thumb, I consider any business function that doesn’t contribute directly to my bottom line to be low priority and best left for after business hours. In other words, if the task at hand isn’t part of the process of completing a real estate transaction that will eventually end with me going to the bank; I put it off until later in the day.