Sunday, November 23, 2003

Doing the chores leads to success

Fundamentals star

By Rhonda Abrams
Gannett News Service

Do you have a great idea for a new business that you're sure will make a fortune? Have you invented a really innovative product or thought up a cool new service? Well, I've got some good news and some bad news.

The good news is that it's great to be able to come up with new ideas. Having a solid business concept that fills a hole in the market - provides a needed product or service - is a good beginning for a business.

But now for the bad news: No matter how good your business idea, how innovative your concept, your ultimate success depends on how well you take care of all the mundane, day-to-day stuff. Remember, one of Rhonda's Rules is that 80 percent of success comes from executing fundamentals well.

What do I mean by fundamentals? It's all that stuff in your business life that you'd rather not have to deal with: the administrative details, the order processing, the bookkeeping, the sales calls.

No magic formula

Novice entrepreneurs imagine there's some magic formula to make the nitty-gritty details go away. What they'd like is someone who'd run our business, take care of all the day-to-day tasks so we could just do the creative, exciting things.

Unfortunately, there's no such magic formula. If you own a business, you can't lose sight of the fundamentals. Even if you have a partner or great employees, you have to take care of some of these basic business components yourself or at least make sure they're being taken care of and taken care of right.

Follow checklist

There's just no getting around it: Some stuff in business isn't fun. But it's necessary all the same. Here's your "business fundamentals" checklist:

• Go out there and make sales. I'm always surprised by the number of businesspeople who will do just about everything except make a sales call.

• Do the job and do it right. At the end of the day, you have to deliver what your customer bought.

• Process the paperwork. Do you send out your invoices promptly? You can't get paid if you don't send the client a bill.

• Pay your bills on time. Whether applying for loans or establishing credit with vendors, your need a good credit rating.

• Staying in touch with customers and employees is a key part of your job as the company's leader.

• Deal with the red tape. But you jeopardize your business by neglecting to deal with aggravating, but necessary, red tape.

• Hire well. The success of your business depends on the quality of your employees. Don't rush when filling openings.

• Go to work, day in and day out. There's no getting around it - the work won't get done unless someone does it. You've got to show up to succeed. That's the most basic fundamental of all.

Rhonda Abrams is the president of The Planning Shop and author of "The Successful Business Plan: Secrets & Strategies." She is a popular speaker and seminar leader. Register for Rhonda's free business planning newsletter at

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