Everyone wants to know the secret to great business success, in any industry. Setting up a business is one thing, creating a successful business is something else.
Follow our simple, proven tips to creating your very own business success story.
1 – Involve yourself with the right people
For any small business looking to grow, it is important to involve yourself with the right people who will help you move in the right direction. This can be anyone from a supportive spouse or family member, to a friend or colleague who ‘has your back’. Support is everything when you go it alone in business. When it comes to hiring your staff too, make sure you hire the right people. Get people who aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves and get stuff done. The words, ‘that’s not my job’ should not be in their vocabulary. There is no I in team after all.
2 – Please your customers
This may sound obvious, but 30% of business start ups fail to please their customers, and in turn end up failing in business. Customers perceptions are the key to making or breaking your business. Deliver quality, good service and great products and they will sing your praises. Mess up and they will tell the world even faster. The key is to listen to your customers and get a feel for what they are looking for and what they need. Time, service, support, quality and feeling understood are what your customers are looking for. Compared to the big boys, smaller companies are perfectly placed to respond quickly to customers needs and bring new products and services to the market faster.
3 – Build your networks
A recent study showed that over 80% of potential new customers checked out a business online before making contact. Spend valuable time ensuring that your online profile makes a good first impression. Word of mouth and referrals can create huge business success. Keep in contact with your customers and potential new ones so that they feel connected to your key products and services in a way that makes them want to share your business ethos with everyone else. Remember the old saying – ‘Treat others the way you would like to be treated.’
4 – Manage your Cash Flow
Managing a smooth supply of funds is vital for any business success. If you can’t pay your bills, your suppliers or your staff, how long do you think you will stay in business? Not long. Work out a weekly, or monthly cash flow forecast, but keep it simple. If you can receive money up front for products and services, then this is the best way to maintain your cash flowing. There is nothing worse than getting to the end of the month and realising that you have so much money owed to you from customers that you can’t afford to pay your way. Don’t take on too much in the beginning. Do you really need that flash looking office? Can you work from home? Who would know if you chose to keep your costs down? Do you need so many staff in the beginning? Anything that will help keep your costs down, especially in the first 12 months will help.
5 – Be tough
In these days of economic change, you can’t afford to be soft when in business. DO credit check your new customers and where possible take money up front for products and services offered. This STOPS all cash flow problems, as mentioned in point 4. By doing this you no longer need to factor in time to chase customers for late payments, whilst at the same time trying to keep your suppliers wolves from the door. Be careful who, if anyone, you do offer credit to. Make sure it is only your best customers who get the extra benefits of 30 day invoices, but don’t assume that just because a customer has always paid on time, that they won’t run into financial trouble later on and see you as an easy target to not pay what’s owed.
6 – Know your products inside out
Whatever you sell, whoever you sell to, as a business owner its your job to KNOW your products 100% inside out. When a potential new customer calls to ask questions, if you don’t understand your own products and services, how will you expect your customers to buy into your business? Invest in yourself, and in your team, so that they know exactly how to look after existing and new customers 100% of the time. This makes your business look smarter, healthier and new customers are more likely happy to buy from you. Remember, customers will buy from who they trust. Don’t make the mistake of telling your customers that you will get someone to call them back to discuss their questions. You will have already lost that customer.
Top business success advise
Do something you are passionate about and you WILL succeed. Mary Barra, CEO, General Motors.
Never stop learning. The strongest leaders are those who are lifelong students. Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo chairman.
If you don’t believe in your ideas and plans, why would anyone else? Richard Branson, Virgin Group