Try not to become a man of success but rather to become a man of value. Albert Einstein
The majority of small businesses operate at 60% of their potential I once heard. While unable to obtain the source it seemed accurate or maybe even high. *The Small Business Association reports that two-thirds of new employer establishments survive two years, and 44% survive at least four years. Read on for 10 tips to help you develop and grow a strong, solid business foundation.
1- Solid Plan with a Clear Simple Vision- Think of the impact you would like your business to have in the world. Think big! You may never reach your ideal vision, but the vision itself is so grand that your team can get excited about it and it sets you up to be unlimited. Then back up. Look at what needs to happen to get there. Create a solid plan with realistic short and long term goals that are achievable.
2- Focus on Profitability vs. Revenue- While revenue is important, high revenue does not add value if your expenses are just as high. What can you do to create more profit? Begin developing various streams of income. What expenses can be reduced or eliminated? How can you operate more efficiently? Think profit.
3- Work in and on your business- We get so caught up in daily tasks in our business we forget to step back to take a wider view from the outside. See it through the customers eyes. Look at how it fits into the community. Prepare the future of the company. On the other hand, we can get so comfortable working on our business from a planning or management stand point that we forget to step in to talk with customers, handle details, and experience what the employees face daily.
4- Automate and Create Systems- What do you need to automate? What system can you put in place that would free up your time or make you more money? What tasks need to be eliminated, systematized, or delegated. What system would help your employees be more effective and provide the best service? Is there a system that needs to be upgraded? Automation and systems help your business be consistent and efficient.
5- Consistent Marketing Plan- Marketing expert Jay Conrad Levinson of Guerilla Marketing has said that I hate to admit this, but mediocre marketing with commitment works better than brilliant marketing without commitment. It is important to have a marketing plan in place that is consistently and persistently being carried out on a daily basis….not just when you need more customers.
6- Increase Value to Your Customers- Give more than customers ask for and more than they expect. There are 3 convenience stores by my neighborhood. The first one built I visited regularly and was satisfied. The second I visited a few times and had to wait every time to get checked out so havent returned. Every time I got gas at the third store I was greeted over the intercom with a friendly Hi, how are you today?”. Inside they were friendly and provided kids with a free lollipop. They even added a Post Office. Who do you think got my business on a regular basis with just a little extra effort? The one that gives more than expected. What value can you provide that will increase your Wow factor?
7- Innovate- React to the customers needs before they know they need it. Sell what the customer wants, then give them what they need. How do you know what they need? Take time to talk to them. At a minimum talk to your best customers and learn from each one youve lost. Find out what they would like and what their challenges are. Stay current on market trends in your industry.
8- Leadership vs. Management- Empower your staff to manage themselves. Do you really want to spend your time problem solving? Train them well. Make sure they know the vision of the company and they are on board because there is a personal win in place for them. The personal win gives the employee motivation to cooperate as part of the team.
9- Well Oiled Machine vs. Chaos- Is each section of your business operating efficiently while working together towards a common goal? Or is your team expending time and energy putting out daily fires. What shift would move your business out of crisis/ problem-solving to operating with ease?
10- Develop YOU! – Take one minute to hold your breathe. As you are holding think about what you really want. See what happens. You may have had trouble thinking about what you want because your needs were not being met. When you take care of yourself and feel strong, healthy, happy, and have time and space in your life, then you can focus on what you want and attract more to your business.
Take one step at a time to build a strong, solid business. Along the way build lots of reserves…time, money, space, revenue sources, future products, etc. and begin filling the gap to your potential.
Todays Dare to Take Action Challenge:
Focus on one tip above for one week. What changes can you make? Take action, build momentum, and move on to the next as you develop a strong foundation to grow on Starting Now!
* Source- <---****HYPERLINK****--->“http://www.sba.gov/advo/stats/sbfaq.pdf”> Small Business Association Office of Advocacy – Frequently Asked Questions, updated 6/06
Copyright 2006- 2nd Revision © Beth A. Tabak, All rights reserved.