Starting up a new business can be an exhausting and time-consuming process, but it is always worth it when you can finally sit back and say “I have succeeded”. That moment when you realise that all the hard graft you put in has finally paid off and you can take a short respite before continuing forward to chase further growth. You may be wanting to get to that point with your business but are unsure how to manage it. Well, below are the five traits your business needs in order for you to stand atop the mountain of success and proclaim that you have finally made it to the summit.
Direction and purpose
Very few people have ever achieved anything by accident. Success is earned, not given, so you must be willing to work hard to earn it. Many companies have their Mission Statement written out for all to see. This not only allows you to have a clearer understanding of your goals but also lets your customers and staff know where the company is heading too. It doesn’t have to be complex, in fact, some of the best Mission Statements are very short. The mattress manufacturer Casper has a Mission Statement which is simply “Great sleep, made simple.” Your Mission Statement should perfectly encapsulate what your company is and will always be about. If you lose sight of what you are trying to accomplish during the struggles, look to your Mission Statement to provide the boost that you and your team need to remember why you started in the first place. Have clear goals set out for the financial year and make sure you have a way of tracking the progress you make through each quarter.
The foundation of any good business is the people that work there. As said previously, your Mission Statement can help to provide a common purpose for everyone to strive towards, but your team needs to be working together to achieve its goals. The route to an effective and well-organised team starts at the top. Bad management can rob a company of its potential, so it’s best to take some time to analyse your management style and consider if it is optimal. If management is new to you, it may be worth getting some training or a qualification to help better inform your process. You can even study for an mba management online, allowing you to keep your business running as you hone your skills. It is important to try and cultivate a harmonious and supportive atmosphere within your company. If there is in-fighting and back-stabbing you will not have a team, but a business full of people trying to go their own way. If a heavy object had to be moved from its current location, and everyone was pushing it in different directions, it wouldn’t go anywhere. If you told everyone that he object had to be moved to a specific location, everyone would be pushing in the same direction, and so more progress would be made. Taking your staff to a team-building workshop could prove incredibly beneficial to drive home the importance of co-operation and leadership.
Everybody knows someone that can walk into a room and have everyone’s eyes on them. No grand entrance, no clearing of the throat, nothing. But everyone in that room instantly knows that they have arrived. They may not even know them, but the sense of importance and power radiates from them. That is called having presence, and it’s what your business needs. Presence comes from confidence, presentation, and composure. Some businesses manage to strike just the right tone with their website and marketing materials. Not too boastful, but not understated either. They have confidence that their customers will come to them, so they do not need to chase them with marketing spiels and desperate pleas to buy their products. Set the right tone for your website, make sure you are suitably high in the search rankings, and make it easy for your customers to know who you are and what you do. Do not bombard them with reels of information or flashy graphics, simply state the facts that are important to inform their decision, then let them decide.
No successful company is the same now as when it was first created, so you shouldn’t expect yours to be in any different. The market is constantly evolving and changing, and it is important for small businesses to keep up with the flow of the stream. A successful business is one that never takes things for granted and is constantly striving for more. Ensure that your business is never complacent. Constantly evaluate if you are meeting your customers’ needs in the best possible way, and if there is room for improvement; make it. Ask for feedback from your current clients. What are their needs? What could make your service better? What do they find frustrating about your current process? Do not dismiss negative feedback, but instead use it as a platform to build a better, stronger business. Work hard to identify gaps in the market before anyone else does, offer your clients similar products and services before they even realise they needed them. Once upon a time, the idea of carrying a phone with you was an alien concept, now it is the bedrock for the foundation of our lives. Use your ingenuity to meet the market needs in your sector.
The sole purpose of your business is to make money. Simple. Yes, you offer a service or a product and have your new Mission Statement, but all of that is secondary to making a profit. That is not to say that nothing else matters except profit, you should still keep your integrity and ethics firmly grounded. But a business not making profit is a business that will shortly disappear, and then nobody can benefit from your game-changing products and services. Obviously, increased sales will mean increased profit, but that’s only half the equation. A successful company does not spend more than it needs to. Every cost should be weighed up against the benefits that it brings. You may have decided to pay to advertise your business on TV, but if the advert is airing at 3 am, you are unlikely to have a big enough increase in sales to offset the cost of filming, editing, and airing the advert. The same can be said of every expense. Utility bills and materials are a necessity, but could you get a lower price elsewhere? Or could you negotiate a lower price with your current supplier? A successful business will know the value of trimming costs by small amounts here and there because small savings can add up to big changes. Let’s say your product costs you $5 in materials, another $3 in manufacturing and packaging costs, and you retail it for $15. That’s $7 profit to your business per unit. If you can negotiate a lower price on your materials by buying in larger amounts, or switching to a cheaper supplier, you could cut your material costs by $0.25. That may not sound like much, but it means that each unit now gives you an extra $0.25 pure profit per sale. This means that over the course of the year your profit will grow by a considerable amount. And all from spending a few hours researching cheaper alternatives.
As said previously, success is earned not given. If you make sure that your business has these five traits, works hard, and is efficient, there will be no limit to the progress your company can make through the years.
Open Business Council offers resources, Trade Finance, business advice, SME Finance and a forum and directory for businesses! Improve your business and use the best digital, financial and funding tools to grow ROI – return on investment and ROA – return on attention!