Are You a Business Person Or a Person in Business?

As a marketing and advertising professional, I have asked this very question many times to customers that I consult with. “Are you in business or a business person?” It isn’t meant to be rude or cut a business owner down, but rather to help them think about how they are currently managing their business. Too many people enter the world of small business ownership blindly without really having a good plan and the means to execute that plan.

In order to know if you are a Business Person or just in business, we need to break down some very simple principals that apply to small business ownership so you can decide for yourself.

1. A Business Person has a plan. Someone in business just wings it.

This doesn’t mean you need a long drawn out business and marketing plan. If you are a new business person, you may not even have an idea how to start. Your plan doesn’t need to be elaborate or detailed at first. It should be detailed enough to describe your business and how you are going to run it for the first year. As you begin your new business venture, take the time to write down some ideas about your business. You can break down your business plan with a SWOT analysis, Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Your strengths are typically internal attributes. A weakness is any type of shortcomings your business might have. It is also considered an internal attribute. Opportunities are external forces that can affect the success of your business. Threats are external forces such as competitors or anomalies in the marketplace that could have an adverse affect on your business.

A simple business plan gives you some direction and guidance in starting your business. A business plan is a path that you can use to get off to a strong start and help you on your way to being a successful small business owner.

2. A Business Person has a plan to market their business; a person in business tries some ideas and hopes the customers will show.

Every business has to market itself in one way or another. Customers are an essential component of your businesses success. (Thanks Captain Obvious, right?) How do you get the customers to come to you? You have to market your business. There are a number of ways to market your business. So many in fact that the average small business owner doesn’t always know where to start. If marketing isn’t your specialty and your business requires a unique clientele it is always my recommendation to hire a professional to help market your business. A marketing professional can help you design a plan that will get your business off to a strong start and bring the customers to you.

If your business plan doesn’t include the initial funds to hire a marketing professional then at least have a plan. Look around, what are your competitors doing? Are they using yellow pages, billboards, TV, radio, personal sales or other out of the box marketing ideas. It is not always a given that your competitors are doing the right kind of marketing to attract customers. It could be they are lost in marketing as well.

Have a simple plan to market your business. Don’t overlook anything. Write down your ideas, analyze your competitors, and act on your plan. You will learn as you go what works and what doesn’t. Act on the ideas that work, refine and tweak them, then put them out there again. A simple marketing plan truly makes you a Business Person.

3. A Business Person works smarter, not harder. A person in business works hard, but doesn’t always succeed.

Working smarter could be as simple as analyzing the most tedious parts of your business to find a better way to complete them or outsource them to save you time. If you are drowning in paperwork, hire a part time bookkeeper. If you don’t have time to answer every call, hire an answering service. There are probably countless ways to work smarter and not harder in your industry. You need should carefully analyze your business to find those activities to tighten up and make your business run smoother.

If we sum up the few principals that we just learned, we can state that Business People operate businesses with a plan of action. A Business Person looks beyond today and sees their business for what it could be. A Business Person analyzes their competitors and business environment continually to capitalize on opportunities and avoid pitfalls.