• Tackle problems head-on. If your business is losing money, don’t just keep pumping in outside money. You need to take a step back and deal with the problem by figuring out what’s causing the problem and then take the right measures to put your business back on track. For example, when it comes to employees, you need to know when to fire bad workers. Keeping these employees just means more work for everyone else, increased liability because they could make serious mistakes, and an unfair environment for other employees who have to cover for them.
• Plan. Many middle-market business owners mistakenly assume that business plans with budgets are for bigger businesses, and they are too “small” to need business plans, succession plans, etc. They say they’re too busy with day-to-day work and don’t have time to stop and think ahead. By taking a reactionary approach and not planning for the future, they reduce the likelihood of getting what they want from their businesses. Do not be like Congress, which keeps dealing with matters piecemeal rather than adapting a budget.
• Get help. Thankfully, there is no shortage of places where you can get help. In addition to contacting colleagues, consultants and advisors, you can get personal coaches or peer advising from companies like Vistage. Just because you’ve successfully owned a business and have done things a certain way for 20 years doesn’t mean you should keep doing things the same way today.
There’s no question that running a business is not easy. Indeed, it can feel like running a country. By taking the right steps and getting good advice along the way, business owners can minimize the challenges and increase their chance for success.
James Cassel is co-founder and chairman of Cassel Salpeter & Co., LLC, an investment-banking firm with headquarters in Miami that works with middle-market companies. www.casselsalpeter.com