Some entrepreneurial skills can only be acquired from experience - no amount of education, advice and suggestion will help you acquire what is called business acumen. It only comes from doing business, making mistakes, learning new ways of doing things, dealing with people and market situations.
However, there are methods virtually anybody can use to improve the functioning of their business on the spot. They don't require a lot of time, money or connections - they are simply to be done.
1. Look for the Best Practices
Perhaps you have a genius idea that will revolutionize the industry you are working in. However, it is much more likely - especially if it is the first time you try your hand at running a business - that you are trying to reinvent the wheel. Each industry already has established best practices, and you shouldn't be ashamed of copying the solutions that have proven themselves to work well. There will be time to experiment in future, but right now you simply have to establish a system that would work.
2. Install a POS System That Suits Your Business
You may not realize it, but a properly chosen POS (Point of Sale) system can do much more than just make processing transactions a little bit quicker and sleeker. They can save you thousands of dollars every month, decrease the time necessary to introduce new employees into the workings of your business, analyze what sells best and needs to be restocked more often. For example, mobile POS systems for iPad or iPhone may boost your sales because they support multiple payment processors making it incredibly flexible, greatly decreasing the time necessary to process every particular order.
3. Change One Thing at a Time
If you feel that something needs to be changed about how you run your business, don't go all out and change everything at once or introduce a dozen new practices in a single day. Firstly, such drastic changes will overwhelm and disorient both you and your staff, and instead of better and more enlightened ways of running your business you will create chaos and confusion. Secondly, if your changes lead to any considerable results, either positive or negative, you won't be able to understand what exactly caused them. You won't know on which areas you should concentrate next time. So, if you change or introduce something, do it one thing at a time and keep your eye on the results.
4. Service over Everything
Customer satisfaction is your absolute priority. Do your best to provide the service your client wants. Listen to what he has to say. Try to solve his problems. Even if he is clearly in the wrong, it is up to you to fix things and arrange everything to everyone's satisfaction. A pleased customer will come back to you and bring other people along - in other words, it pays to keep your annoyance under control and be pleasant with even the most exasperating specimens.
5. Motivate Your Staff
Motivated employees may turn out to be all the difference between success and failure. Employees that are interested in the prosperity of your business will go out of their way to help clients, produce better impression and in general will do better work. There are different ways to keep your staff motivated, so choose whatever you feel is going to work best for you. You don't even have to greatly increase your spending to do this - contrary to popular belief, the majority of people is just as easily motivated by non-material things such as praise and recognition as by money.
Some things about running a business will come to you naturally and gradually as you become better accustomed to it. But these tips can help you on any stage - so don't hesitate to implement them.