Five Tips to achieve Business Success
We’re often asked about how a small business can turn itself into a business success. And, while there is no real ‘right or wrong’ in this situation, it’s always wise to follow some basic guidance:
1. Devise a Business Success Plan.
Every business, no matter how small or new, should have a business success plan. Without committing your ideas to paper – or at the very least a computer hard drive – your business is little more than a vague idea. Your plan should contain a timeline of what you hope to achieve and when, allied to a sales and marketing plan, a financial section, considering funds needed and cost associated with the business, as well as an operational section. This last part should include where and how the business will operate. Should it be run online, should it operate a Just-in-Time model or do you need warehousing or retail premises?
And remember, your business plan isn’t a document to write and then forget. It should be a living document, available and subject to regular revision and amendment, as business circumstances and market conditions change.
2. Don’t be an Island.
While it’s tempting to think that you’re the acknowledged expert in your business sector, and that no-one knows your business better than you do, it’s also very true to say that you can’t be any expert in every aspect of ‘running’ your business.
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Ask yourself these very basic questions: Are you an accountant? Are you a sales director? Or a logistics manager? Or maybe even a production director? Or perhaps an HR specialist?
The fact is, unless you can answer ‘yes’ to all these questions (which is very doubtful), then you need the input of third parties. People who can advise you and share their knowledge with you on a dispassionate basis – professionals who will guide your thinking, and potentially save you from embarrassing, costly and possibly even disastrous errors.
3. Keep the Score.
It’s a truism, but it’s always a sensible business success policy to devise systems and, once you have done, to stick with them. Call it process automation if you will, but having flow charts, plans and systems will help you out of many a tight spot, and could even help you make more money, by simplifying your bottom line.
Make sure you keep a firm eye on your operating costs, both fixed and variable. It’s all too easy to allow fixed costs to spiral, as your basic costs of running your business increase over time. Bottom lines such as rent, energy costs and staff need to be kept grounded. Equally, be mindful of how costs of production can increase, as output rises. You need to ensure that you negotiate what are commonly known as bulk discounts as you increase your capacity, so that your unit costs of manufacture fall.
A good grasp of these statistics will help you to retain a good handle on your cashflow which, as many experts will tell you, is one of the most common causes of business distress.
4. Don’t Divide Yourself in Two
It’s easy to say, but delegation is one of the keys to successful business operations. Many entrepreneurs have found themselves in trouble simply by being unable to ‘let go’ of an aspect of his or her business.
So, when it comes to bringing on new members of staff, make sure you choose and appoint them wisely, train them as necessary – not just for the job role in hand, but also in your preferred ways of working – and then trust them. By all means oversee what they do, and ‘manage’ them as appropriate. But, more than that, allow them the freedom and space actually to do the job that they have been appointed to do. In other words, avoid the temptation to micro-manage them.
5. Focus on Innovation
Try to identify what makes you and your business different to your competitors. And, once you’ve done that, celebrate and pursue that difference.
In today’s highly competitive and – thanks to the Internet – immediately accessible world, consumers need to be able to tell the difference between you and your competitors. So, do a ‘brand audit’, see why your customers come to you (hint – it’s unlikely purely to be price-based), and then use that as a marketing advantage.
If it’s dazzling customer service, make sure you keep them happy. Give them a reason to keep coming back to you. And don’t forget, it’s often the way in which you correct a mistake that will actually help to engender further brand loyalty.
Clearly this is not a definitive list but, more, a helpful starting point to think about strategically developing your business success. Be assured that this is easier with external expert help so reach out to growth experts who have first hand experience and knowledge to help your own ambitions.
Blunt thinking on business success strategies
Now you’ve read our article on business success – have you any more questions?
Here at Yorkshire Powerhouse, we’re happy to help as much as possible – is there anything else we can do to help you or do you have any further questions – please let us know:
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