Dear Ney Ney,

Once you decide on a business idea and get it started, what do you do next? Well what you do is run, or operate, your business.

Operating a business means to do the daily tasks necessary to find customers, provide them with your product or service to them, and improve your product or service.

Finding customers. 

Finding customers is a very important step. Without customers, you can’t make any money. There are three parts of finding customers: marketing, advertising, and sales. For most small businesses there is almost no distinction between marketing and advertising. 

In general, marketing refers to all of the things that you might do to let people know about your business. A website for your business is considered big marketing. Many people send emails to people who might be possible customers. This is Sometimes people in an industry meet at a conference and all talk about their products or services. This is called a trade show, and participating in trade shows is also a form of marketing.

Advertising is specific messages to groups of people you might think are possible customers. These groups are called audiences. Audiences can be divided into groups based on factors such as age, their job, and where they live. These help determine where you might put advertisements for them to see and what you might say or show in the advertisements to get their attention.

Advertisements can be written, videos, images, or recordings. The can be see in magazines or on on television, social media, or YouTube. You might also hear advertisements on the radio or in a podcast.

Not every type of marketing or advertising works food every business. A great book on the topic is 

Sales is the process of explaining to a potential customer, or prospect, how and why your product or service is the best way for the prospect to solve their problem. The best way to sell your product is to determine what the person needs and why they need it, then describe how your product can help. When you sell your product or service be clear about what it can and cannot do, otherwise your customer will make a purchase you will both regret. The customer will be unhappy, you might receive a bad review, and the time you spent helping a customer that doesn’t need your help could have been spent on a different person who benefits more from your work.

Serving your customers.

This is the part of a business that most people think about when they think about starting a business. This is the part where you provide your good or service to your customers. Providing a good product or service is an important part of having a successful business. Even if your product or service isn’t perfect, treating your customers well will lead to positive results.

You can broadly group your customers into new customers and existing, or returning, customers. New customers are great, but it usually takes money for advertising to get new new customers. If you can instead get your old customers to come back to buy something time sms time again, that is a recipe for success.

Taking good care of new customers means different things depending on your type of business. For example, if you are selling T-shirts online it might mean mailing them quickly and including a handwritten thank you note. If you are walking dogs it might mean to show up on time every time. If you are building a website it might mean get the project done sooner than you thought it would be completed.

Taking care of existing customers might mean sending out a replacement product if the product arrived damage or was the wrong size. It might be making a change to a webpage or re-editing a photograph you took. Often prior customers come back for more help. They might need you to create a new graphic design or bake for a new party.  mean creating a new graphic 

Working on your business

Creating and improving your product or service

Beyond talking to and helping your customers, there are plenty of other tasks to do. Of course, what those tasks are also depends on your company. If you built  an iPhone app it means working on new features and fixing any bugs. If you have a t-shirt company it means creating new designs and ordering inventory and shipping materials. If you have a baking company it might means coming up with new recipes and ordering supplies. These jobs can be called operations, product design, or engineering.

Other tasks

There are two more types of tasks, human resources and finance. Human resources is the term for how recruit, hire, train, compensate or pay, and fire employees. Finance focuses on raising money from investors for your business, managing the money that your business has, and reporting about the finances of your business to you and your investors.

When growing and large businesses these are very important topics. However when you are just starting a business, especially a small one, you probably won’t have any employees and your profit and loss will be very easy to determine.

Running a business is easily a full time job, but it can still be done part time. Get something started and focus on the tasks mentioned here as best as you can in the time that you have to work on your business. Just keep at it.

I love you,