How do I acquire the skills I lack when it comes to running a business?
I have my own business, which I cherish and dream of succeeding at and growing. Yet I am not the most organized, efficient and disciplined person. I have trouble setting and adhering to set schedules. I have trouble keeping organized financial statements. I have trouble managing my time and money effectively. I enjoy working long hours, but I lose focus. Every day I have a different schedule and find myself working on different areas of the business. What books or classes can I take to learn to be more focused, organized and disciplined?
Wow! In just a few lines you have efficiently listed many pitfalls entrepreneurs face. The quickest way to take on your lack of focus is one that was first put forth by Ivey Lee to Andrew Carnegie: At the end of the day, take a pocket-size piece of paper and write down the three most important things you MUST do to move your business forward the next day and rank them in order of priority.
The next morning do the first thing first and do not do anything else, including e-mails, until that one is complete. Then do the next one and then the third. Repeat the process every evening and every day, and you'll be astonished at the results.
As for books to read: anything by Brian Tracy as he addresses all the concerns you mention in a clear and actionable way, or Julie Morgenstern or David Allen on organization.
Good luck--discipline does not come easily, but without it everything else is difficult.
Bonnie Price, founder of Silver Vixen Enterprises, is a lifelong entrepreneur. She owns SilverVixens, an online membership community to connect and inform Women of a Certain Age. She also writes the After 55 blog.