"I just know I don't know anything"

It is common for many Uruguayan entrepreneurs to have an export wish list. It is logical. When you think of the market in our country, you know that the possibilities are at least limited. However, many times companies do not finish doing their homework well in order to get out. It is common to see how steps are skipped running after this objective.

For small businessmen the road becomes uphill. They are alone, with a lot of tasks. Especially at the beginning, when they do not yet have structure and everything falls on them. The most common question we hear is "what do I do first?", considering that they have little capital and little help. How do you not neglect the most important things in your business without being consumed by the urgencies of everyday life?

Well, in order to be able to answer these questions, it is necessary that they know and understand their companies and the market where they interact. Establishing the priorities of pending issues should be defined, to a large extent, according to the impact that its results (good or bad) can generate.

In order to know the company, one must have updated information and understand what it implies to manage it. To be ordered when establishing which are the necessary tasks, which procedures require and which are the mechanisms for their control. Once this is done, the indicators needed to have a clear understanding of the business performance must be established.

Many companies have systems that can provide information. It is therefore a question of investigating what reporting possibilities the systems used have and establishing a periodic rhythm to look at them.

Many companies still do not have billing systems, so they must establish how to carry their numbers, in order to easily get the information they are looking for. At this stage, Excel can be an ideal ally.

Many tasks are unforeseen and sporadic, but others are routine and recurrent. You must be resourceful in detecting them and achieving clear procedures and pre-established dates for performing them. If you can find ways to order and simplify these tasks, you can have up-to-date information to support decision making. The information will be available to everyone (and it will not be long before it is incorporated into the life of the company) which will save time and money.

Those who are at the head of companies make several decisions every day, their job is to make decisions. Is it serious to err? Many times not so much, if you are fast enough to take a turn and change course if necessary. The more agile the management of the business, the more you can try different directions and anticipate failure by taking corrective actions, before they generate great negative impact.

Finally, it is key to know yourself and not be a know-it-all. The path of the entrepreneur presents great personal challenges. The more predisposition there is to review behaviors and (bad) habits, learn and change, the more each one will be able to adapt to new realities, achieve better results and become more effective with life itself.

Gabriela Durlacher & Alejandro Laborde

Founding members of BMLatam

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