What do I Need to Know When Running a Business?


I am currently working at a company in a technical cum slightly managerial position and strongly thinking about starting a technology based company (this can happen in the next one or two years to come). What I am interested in is a product based business model.

I am in a confused state of mind as to what I should really know to maintain a good business. I am thinking (if everything goes well) of improving the business well and probably making it an international level venture. To do this, what do you thing I should be conversant with? Through my undergraduate level studies and through CIMA (partly), I know and confident knowing more about: economics, business law and accounting (and similar areas). Do you think working at an internationally acclaimed company would be good? ( as currently, the company that I am working for is not very rich with the standards they maintain). Also I would most appreciate if you could let me know the community relationships that can become handy in this process.

Finance Business Plan International

asked May 11 '11 at 15:38
Pathum Mudannayake
178 points
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4 Answers


When I speak with people that are interested in starting a new business, I always ask them the following questions:

  1. Where is your first sale/client going to come from?
  2. Where are your next 25 sales/clients going to come from?
  3. Can you replicate question number 2?

In my experience business is really only two things (especially in small business)

  1. Getting customers (marketing, sales, referral cultivation)
  2. Keeping customers (customer service, smooth operations, product/service improvements, etc.)

Ask youself - what will you do to GET customers. If you get customers, what will you do to KEEP customers.

answered May 11 '11 at 16:26
Rain Maker
81 points
  • Though running a successful business is a combination of many factors, at its most basic level RainMaker is spot on. This is the best way to grow your business. – Sam 13 years ago


Where the money is. Who is going to pay you, how much, why, and how are you going to find them?

You should also be able to keep control of your cash. I assume you know double entry book-keeping. Learn how to live on ramen. If you're in a relationship or have kids, persuade the family to move somewhere really cheap, and to enjoy vegetables and ramen. I am only partly joking.

answered May 13 '11 at 01:29
526 points
  • thanks. I will show this to my wife too (no kids). – Pathum Mudannayake 13 years ago


I agree with RainMakers answer, though I believe it is a bit shallow to purely focus on getting sales. Instead I would say that you should have a deep understanding of the value your product creates for the customers. This deep understanding of the value includes to be able to quantify it in terms of savings, additional income for the customers, or other types of value like your product having strategical importance to your customers. Admittedly, the last type of value I mentioned can hardly be quantified.

Focusing on the value you create for your customers means that you focus more on the long-term viability of your business. You could in principle sell your customers a nice-looking piece of software, which does not create additional value to your customers, but getting referrals and good references would then be hard.

answered May 11 '11 at 18:20
1,567 points
  • You don't give customers much credit. They know when you're providing value or they don't continue to buy your products. – Jeff O 13 years ago
  • @Jeff, I think David was saying that IF you sell your customers something that doesn't provide value, it will be evident in referrals. Meaning that customers do in fact recognize when they are getting value. – Sam 13 years ago
  • @Sam D - agree, but I think RainMaker was saying the same thing. – Jeff O 13 years ago


...what I should really know to maintain a good business

At a high level these are the top three things I would look for in a startup founder
  • Passion and energy
  • Walk-thru-walls attitude
  • A decent-margin product with market demand

I wouldn't worry about trying to get theoretical business training - you'll learn more in the first month of a startup than in three years of a university degree.

If you are planning on doing this a couple of years from now you should start networking now to form relationships with people that will be able to help you in your venture. They might be people that have good domain knowledge, they might complement your skills in some way, they might be able to offer seed funding.

Certainly getting experience working in similar businesses would be a plus, but you've got to be careful not to miss the boat. Try to form a plan now of how you are going to launch this business - otherwise it will be far too easy for the idea to drift indefinately.

answered May 11 '11 at 18:50
2,333 points
  • thanks. What I have seen in and around me is, people start good companies, but the company values and the ethics are very low, though they make profits the business overall is stuck in growth simply because of they lack standards. That's why I was more concerned on the correct knowledge and experience, to do what I do correctly and well. – Pathum Mudannayake 13 years ago

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