So your business is open. You’ve managed to navigate through all the paperwork and legal requirements, and are now looking forward to generating profit, to have something to live on. But is that enough? Have you thought about where you want your business to be in a year’s time? Or considered how your business would cope if the worst was to happen? If not, read our 6 useful tips to help your business to keep moving forward.
1. Apps and the Net can be your BFFs!
It’s no longer good enough to just have physical, bricks and mortar, location. You now need to have an online presence. Having an app is also a game changer for many potential customers. This will obviously depend on the market your business is in, but as standard, a website with a blog and a presence in the same social media platforms that the bulk of your customers use is a must.
In turn, you may find that there are apps that are useful for the smooth running of your business. For instance, there are several reputable companies that have designed apps to manage customer payments, your payroll, accounts, invoices and filing paperwork, as mentioned by MyCorporation. Some of them offer trial periods, so you can, in effect, try before you buy. This way you get to find something that meets the demands of your business. If an app is going to make your business run smoothly and enable you to focus on other aspects of it, you’d be mad to not at least give them a chance.
2. Play the Number’s Game
Once you’ve opened up your business, it becomes a number’s game. The bottom line is, if your business doesn’t generate an income, its financial health will become critical. You should be able to account for every dime that enters and leaves your accounts. Additionally, your business plan should also include budgets for line items, like administrative costs and other overheads, such as utility bills, rent if you’re leasing your business premises, amongst other things.
If you find your business cash strapped, and it’s not down to income, do an inventory to see where money is being overspent. It’s always worth doing an audit to determine if your business is effectively spending money so that you can see how it’s being used and whether there are cost-effective options.
3. Have Contingency Plans
The recent pandemic cut the life of many established businesses, which just goes to show that the best laid out plans are open to failing because of unforeseen circumstances. When contingency planning, take into account where your business is located. For instance, is the area subject to floods? The type of planning involves more than natural disasters, including floods or earthquakes, but also fire, thefts or you becoming seriously ill.
Your employees need to know what to do to help keep your business, their livelihood, operating. There needs to be a plan in place that every member of staff knows about. Regular discussions about it and even fire drills or bomb alerts are worthwhile practicing with employees because everyone’s safety should be your primary concern. You should already have in place a staff hierarchy, with the person under you prepared to take control in the event you can’t, and possibly another person ready to take the reins in the unfortunate event neither of you are able to assume control.
You cannot do everything forever when it comes to running your business. Either you’ll burn out and/or the business will suffer. Play to your strengths and that of your staff. If you’ve hired certain people because of their ability to sell, then be prepared to let them take the front seat in that respect. This will free up your time to focus on the growth of your business. It also demonstrates that you trust your employees, which is a win-win for both you and them.
5. Hire the Right People
You need to hire people that you can trust to do what their position requires, without the need for micro-managing. Employees are integral to the success of your business and can help develop a positive company culture through their actions. There are many positive qualities that make the ideal employee, so it ultimately depends on what you’re looking for when it comes to hiring. So traits to look for would include dependability, trustworthiness, loyalty, social awareness, self-motivation and being a team player.
6. Customer Service is Key
Without customers, you won’t make money. It’s that simple. Regardless of how great your product or service is, if you’re treating customers badly, that’s all they’ll remember and talk about, both online and via word-of-mouth. Treat customers well, they’ll talk about you and more than likely recommend you. Go above and beyond, they may go one step further and leave a glowing review for others to see.
No small business wants to fail, but there’s an equal chance of this happening as there is of success. Therefore, you want to do everything you can to avoid prematurely closing. Being prepared and planning is one way to prevent this. So is being adaptable. You need to have a dynamic approach to how your business moves and grows because your market isn’t static and will change with trends making it imperative that you keep up with it.