Success in business can be down to luck or, more usually, good planning. Getting your small business more effective can make all the difference between being a good local provider and having a business gateway with global potential. Already think that is too big a goal? Then probably you should make do with a lifestyle business because there are just too many competitors out there looking for your customers to allow you to be complacent.
Simple tools can make a business better.
Make the most of your workforce.
They know your company, products, customers and competitors as well as anyone so getting them engaged in developing ideas for future success could be the best thing you ever do. However, getting ideas for future success is only the start and you have to have a process in place for assessing and evaluating ideas and ensuring staff are engaged in the process. Develop a staff ideas scheme with rewards and proper reviews and you may be surprised what new markets, products or services your team can come up with.
You must have a Business Plan.
Not for the paperwork involved but for the results that planning for future success can have in overcoming obstacles and identifying critical business processes or challenges. It can also be a great communication tool too to help staff see what business you are in and where you are going. That way, they can make better informed decisions aimed at achieving your stated goals.
Got a good product or idea?
Then make sure that you have protected your future through patents or intellectual property rights. Getting your business ideas protected from use by others could be the salvation of your business. Do not give your competitors a head start by taking your ideas and developing them without your involvement. Whilst this may only apply to new technology or manufacturing businesses, even creative companies such as marketing agencies may develop new techniques that can be copied.
Attend too many meetings?
Get a good telephone or video conferencing facility. Not only will conference calls save you travel and accommodation time and costs, but they will also help increase the effectiveness of managers and others. With broadband available in most places nowadays there is no argument for not making the most of telephone and video technology to optimise staff and customer or supplier time and costs.
Get financially aware.
The recent recession and banking crisis has really demonstrated the need to have a good working knowledge of the sources of financing available and to have your business funded for the medium term. Cash is king so making sure you always have a positive cash flow or secured and available funding lines to get you through any crisis is becoming a minimum business expectation. This should be a key business tool linked into your business planning cycle that gets regular review and senior manager attention. Finance is the lifeblood of the business. Make sure you have someone in the business with their finger permanently on the pulse and with access to additional resources no matter what the situation.
Matt Smith – Freelance business, conference calling and technology blogger.
- Business Plan Outline (imbrandon.com)
- 3 Free Tools to Plan and Visualise Your Start-Up Business (makeuseof.com)
- Examining Online Business Ideas ()
- The Basics to Starting a Business (brighthub.com)
- Want to survive? Then its time for an annual Small Business plan (usatoday.com)