It’s tough at the best of times to build a successful business.  The challenge has become even more difficult for many small businesses in recent times.  It’s easy to slip into old, safe habits and forget the basics you need to grow a healthy, viable, sustainable business.  To be truly effective as a small business owner, it could be time to start working more on your business than in your business.

Here are some habits worth creating that will help you manage your business more efficiently and keep both your customers and team members happy.

Habit #1- Plan Ahead

Easier said than done, you say!  That’s certainly true if you’re spending most of your waking hours working in your business.  It’s essential to prioritise time to take a step back and do some planning. Even if it’s an hour a week to start with – it can make a big difference down the track.

If you feel out of your depth when it comes to creating strategies or short and long-term goals for your business, consider employing the services of an expert in this field.  A good business consultant has the experience to understand your business needs and formulate an achievable plan to align your thinking, systems, and processes to deliver significant measurable results.

Habit #2 – Set Boundaries

When times are tough, or you’re starting in business, it may be tempting to take on any and all clients offering services outside your range of expertise just to pay the bills.  The problem with this approach is it can lead to confusion about exactly what your product is and create long term damage to your brand.

Another boundary to be clear on from the start is around ‘mates’ rates.’ Make sure you set boundaries so your friends and family know exactly what to expect.  It could save some embarrassing conversations along the way.

Once you’re clear on the boundaries you need to have in place in your business, ensure you communicate these clearly to your staff and externally to the market.

Habit #3 – Be Open to Change

We’re in the information age.  There is so much online information to help you create and build a great business.  A quick Google search will reveal pages of information on any subject around business development.  You can subscribe to channels that provide the information you’re seeking or join networks that support businesses.

It’s important to stay fresh, keep being curious, and learn from those who have already created success in their business and life.

Habit #4 – Embrace Technology

If your business is like most, then many of your clients will be spending a great deal of time online – searching for products and services.  You need to have a solid online presence to attract them.  An excellent digital experience for customers is expected today.  If you don’t have a website that is mobile friendly with a shop, an online sales funnel and strong social media, you may struggle to keep up with your competition.

Cloud storage of valuable information is also essential, as are suitable bookkeeping systems to help things run smoothly in the back end.

If you’re unsure about what you need, engage the services of a consultant who will get you set up and help your business run more efficiently and effectively.

Habit #5 – Monitor Cashflow and Spending

Simple payment methods are an essential tool for doing business today.  Online payments are a great option and much easier to track.  The more flexibility you have for accepting payments, the easier it will be for customers to do business with you.

Focus on cash flow.  Offering a periodic payment plan can make income more predictable.  Establishing clear payment terms from the outset is crucial.  If neither you nor your customers know when a payment is due (or overdue), managing your cash flow will be difficult.

Maintain clear lines of communication with your debtors to ensure a steady flow of cash into your business.  Keep a handle on every financial aspect of your business; pricing, sales, forecast and spending. Avoid paying cash and look for savings wherever possible.

Habit #6 – Retain Good Staff

It’s critical for the success of your business to employ, develop and retain your skilled, trusted employees.  A good team worth keeping is productive, understands your business vision, works together, and shows initiative.

Make sure each team member understands what success means for them.  Work with your team to set out the role, responsibilities and KPIs. Ask for feedback – how can the team/business do better – reward excellent behaviour and share and celebrate goals and wins together.

Provide the opportunity for both personal and professional growth within the business.  Build a culture where every team member is respected, and their development, creativity and courage are supported and acknowledged.

Habit #7 – Always be Marketing your Business

Many businesses focus purely on sales – getting customers to buy what they have to sell.  Your marketing shouldn’t stop there.  Ideally, you want customers who become advocates, and endorsers, telling their friends, family, and social media network how great your product or service is.

Call on a marketing professional to build a sales funnel for your business – to move customers from mild curiosity to becoming your best PR agents – with many sales and referrals along the way.  The investment will be well worth it.

Bartercard can help build your business

Bartercard is the world’s largest cashless business networking platform designed to expand your business and profits.  As a member, you have access to an online marketplace where you can sell your products and services to tens of thousands of members both locally and globally and access experts to help you grow your business.

Get in touch today and find out how Bartercard can help you create a successful business.

Anna

Author Anna

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