Seven Ways to Ensure Your Business's Success
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We are told that the worst of the Great Recession is behind us, but what I’ve found is that while sales have gone up a little bit for some owners of small businesses, for many others, sales are still significantly lower than they were before the recession. There is no question that consumers’ shopping behaviors have evolved, despite the fact that some clients are shelling out slightly more money.
Because of the profound shifts that have taken place in the economy, conducting business will never be the same again.
Entrepreneurs, whether they are unemployed and starting their own business or seasoned veterans trying to get their mojo back, need to do things differently in order to stay in business. This is true whether the entrepreneur is starting their business because they are unemployed and starting their own business. Everyone must change, but small business owners must change the most.
It is encouraging that the fundamentals of running a business, such as tenacity, commitment, having a clear vision, and basic business skills, have remained largely unchanged.
But in a business world that is always changing, you need new plans that will work.
As a result of living through the economic downturn and the aftermath of it, I have had the extraordinary opportunity to develop and put these strategies into practice firsthand. In addition to having founded and been instrumental in the operation of more than fifty-seven of my own businesses, I have also served as a consultant for a diverse range of companies in a variety of industries. Being in the thick of the battle that is running a small business, I have a good understanding of what is currently successful and what is not.
If you want your company to be successful, you should adhere to these seven guidelines.
1. Have a written plan.
Without a strategy, it is nothing more than a dream. It does not have to be a book, but you do need a few pages that outline specific objectives, strategies, financing, a sales and marketing plan, and a determination of the amount of cash you require to get things done. Putting everything in writing is an important first step to take.
2. Don’t marry your plans.
When the shots start flying, even the best-laid plans sometimes have to be scrapped and replaced with something else. This is something that every great military general in history has understood. Make the necessary changes, face the challenges, and emerge victorious.
3. Don’t let your pride get in the way of listening to others.
Advisors are essential because you need people to bounce ideas off of, people to inspect what you’re doing, people to push you to greater accomplishments and hold you accountable for what you’re committing to do, and people to inspect what you’re doing. Always keep your word and fulfill your commitments, no matter how difficult or challenging they may be. This has nothing to do with you; rather, it pertains to the company. Avoid taking things personally and try to keep your emotions in check. Do not let your ego take control.
4. Keep track of everything, and manage by the numbers.
Create written systems for everything because you will benefit in the long run from having done so. You train your staff in this manner so that there is consistency throughout the organization. Acquire an intimate familiarity with your numbers, make it a point to check them on a daily basis, and make all of your choices based on what the numbers show you. The calculation of the cash flow on the basis of the pro forma is one of the most important calculations. Find out how much cash you will need to operate the business, and do not start doing business until you have the required amount of cash available to you.
5. Delegate to employees and avoid micromanaging them.
Managers are responsible for delegating tasks to their subordinates and then monitoring how well those tasks are being completed. Don’t let your need for control consume you. Keep the organization’s structure as flat as possible. If you delegate tasks in an effective way, you will receive results that are both more numerous and of a higher quality than you had anticipated. It is important to ensure that you have a formal training and orientation plan written down so that your employees are aware of what is expected of them. Utilize a rewards program that is founded on incentives, and maintain a “no problem” attitude regarding any issues that may come up.
6. Use the Internet.
It requires some time and effort in addition to some skill, but it is very cost effective and incredibly powerful. It is about establishing a community and developing a rapport with your target audience through the use of social media networking tools like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and blogging. Because of the fact that your competitors are already doing it, you have no choice but to jump on board and give it a try.
7. Reinvent your business.
You should focus more on the metric of net profit rather than gross revenue as it is the most important one for your business. Do not discount your goods or services if you want to set yourself apart from your competitors and establish a new competitive advantage, such as a highly specialized market niche or an exceptional level of service. This can be accomplished by not offering sales.
Above all, have fun. You have made the decision to be an entrepreneur; therefore, you are responsible for its success. It can be done. If you take the appropriate steps, you will be able to make it through the current economic climate unscathed and even emerge victorious.