University of Houston-Victoria

Small Business Development Center

Staff Business Tips

Each SBDC Advisor has their own forté, experiences and special interests. On a monthly basis, an Advisor is a guest columnist for the Business Tip section of the Victoria Advocate. Since each Advisor has a diverse background and client portfolio, the contributing Advisor may reflect on a specific business topic, experience, situation, thought or consideration. Check out the Advisor's past published articles and be sure to look for them in the future!

UHV SBDC Business Tips

Be prepared to put in time. Nobody will treat your business as well as you would. Be ready to put in long hours to ensure your business is run to your satisfaction and don’t expect anyone else o do it for you.

Be socially responsible. Invest in your community by sponsoring an event or being active on boards.

Customer service is essential. All employees should be trained on proper customer service protocol. Managers and owners need training as well and it should be updated frequently.

Don’t assume you need a storefront right away. Many businesses are online-only now. While a brick and mortar store may be in your future, it’s ok not to have a physical location at first.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There’s always someone who has been in the same situation as you are. Don’t wait until it’s too late to address issues.

Don’t compare yourself with other businesses. Every company has different circumstances, products, vendors and situations. Don’t compare prices, success, or any other metric to someone else.

Don’t confuse activity with profitability. Just because you’re busy doesn’t mean you’re making money. Be sure you keep up with how much you make each day.

Don’t confuse your hobby with your job. Many business owners go in wanting to own a bar because they like to drink. However, many don’t realize the other responsibilities that come with starting a business.

Don’t forget to pay your taxes. All it takes is one mistake and you can be watched by the comptroller and the IRS for the life of your business.

Don’t rush. Make sure you wait to open until you’re ready. Issues or tasks that need attention before you open will only get worse if you continue on without doing them.

Have an elevator speech. Be able to have a concise, quick explanation of what your business does and why it’s valuable to society. Be able to sell your business.

Have an exit strategy. A part of your business plan should include how you plan to leave the company. Whether it’s handing the business off to a relative, selling it to an outside party or closing it down, know how you want to leave when the time comes.

Invest in your employees. When employees feel a sense of ownership in a business, they are more invested in the company and their work. There are some low-cost or no-cost ways to make your employees happier and more involved.

Know your numbers. If you know how much profit your making, how many people walk through the door or how many sales are being closed you’re better equipped to make choices on products and purchases.

Make sure issues customers have are addressed. A timely response to a customer service issue is crucial in how your business is viewed.

Make sure your name is relevant. Customers need to know what service you are providing by seeing or hearing your name. Also make sure any signage with your company name on it can be see and is legible.

Stay consistent. Branding, customer service and other factors of your business need to be consistent for each customer. When five people walk in, you don’t want them to each have very different experiences and perceptions.

Think about the accessibility of your products online. This isn’t your grandmother’s business anymore. Customers can look at the products you provide in your store before ever even getting in their car and can compare to other vendors.

You need a plan. You don’t have to have a formal business plan. It doesn’t have to be in 12-point font in Times New Roman but you should know how you want your business to develop and grow over time.