Some Suggestions on Business Basics 

One of the big issues people face when starting or running a business is lack of knowledge about business basics. Most businesses fail in the first five years and a major reason this is so is the founder’s lack of knowledge.

You can have all the motivation, passion,  skills, and intelligence you want, yet still flounder and fail if you don’t know how business operates, how to plan and execute your plan, how to adapt to change and track your results, and how to deal with legal responsibilities, among other matters.

Those who have looked at records on this have generally found that 4 out of every 5 new businesses fail during those first few years. That’s 80% (which makes this one example of the 80-20 rule in business).

If you want to be part of the surviving 20% and to thrive and prosper and grow, the best place to start is to learn business basics.

You don’t have to go to college and get a business degree to learn business basics. Here are some free-to-use places where you can find education and help.

The Small Business Administration has excellent resources at

SCORE has good information, including online and in-person mentors, at

Your local public library likely has an entire department dedicated to business, and, if so, there will be books, videos, lists of websites, free access to databases for market research and other purposes.

There are Small Business Development Centers in most parts of the country that offer free classes and many of the other items mentioned above as possibly  available from your local library. Find the Small Business Development Center closest to you on

Google has a site with information and apps for small businesses here

YouTube has many videos on business basics topics and Google and other search engines can lead you to many pages full of information on these subjects such as:

  • starting and running a business,
  • freelance business,
  • small business,
  • marketing,
  • collections,
  • contracts,
  • bookkeeping,
  • prospecting for and qualifying leads,
  • Customer Relationship Management or CRM,
  • ethics,
  • state and federal laws and rules,
  • best practices for your chosen type of business, and
  • how to do research to find answers to any question you may have about your market area or competitors or anything else.

There’s always Amazon if you want to pump up your personal library of books or ebooks, as well as for printed books and many other sites for ebooks.

I will have a bibliography of useful books in my own books when they are published, if such a list interests you — and your local librarian can help you compile your own list in the meantime.

As far as doing your bookkeeping,  I currently recommend either Quicken For Home and Business (which works like a check register on the home side and like a business register on the business side) OR QuickBooks. Both of those let you set up invoices, then you can track so much of what your business is doing with all the reports you can generate. There are YouTube videos on how to use QuickBooks.

Others have recommended similar programs or the apps Notary Assist or Notary Gadget, but I haven’t used either of them, so I don’t have any personal experience to offer on those. If that changes, I will report on it here.

When it comes to online resources, not everything is free AND ready to use. Most things take work to make them useful for a specific person or business or situation.

If it’s ready to use as is, you should expect to pay for it, either directly or as part of a membership or other package.

If it’s free, you should expect to spend time adapting it to your use.

This applies to lists  (you have to vet each firm yourself), forms, samples, documents, suggestions, tips, etc.

Everything you do in your business is a matter of taking what’s freely or cheaply available and adapting, processing, and applying it to your specific business — at least until you get successful enough to buy something customized already or big enough that off-the-shelf makes sense for your company.

I hope this will help you get a start on learning the basics of business.

Whatever you do, get some training or educate yourself on business basics before you quit your job and dive into being a freelance notary public. Even if you simply offer some general notary services on the side of whatever else you’re doing, knowing business basics will give you a huge advantage in your career.

About Tim Gatewood

60+, male, widowed/single. Writer with a day job. Notary Public. #catdaddy Science fiction and fantasy fan, avid reader, Founder of the Darrell Awards. Author of _Getting Started As A Notary Signing Agent_ (available from Please be kind to one another.
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3 Responses to Some Suggestions on Business Basics 

  1. Pingback: On Working the Lists  | Notary Memphis

  2. Pingback: Education for NSAs | Notary Memphis

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