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5 business Dos and don’ts
Business success, while fairly simple to define, is notoriously difficult to achieve. A little over 50% of start-up companies fail within the first four years due to a range of reasons, from poor planning to cash flow issues. So how can success be achieved? What are the pitfalls that need to be avoided? Here, we offer some tips on how to survive the first few years and become one of the success stories.
DO measure your progress
Benchmarking is key if you’re to measure your success. The first step is to define what constitutes success – is it product sales? Increased turnover? Uptake of free trials? Once the metrics are confirmed, make a report of where your business is at now and compare the results on a monthly basis. This will also help you to spot trends over the course of a year and identify what is and isn’t working for you.
DO take a step back
Many small business owners can testify to the fact that a lot of time is spent on the day-to-day tasks. It can sometimes be difficult to find time to step back and review your activities, goals and overall strategy. But this is an essential part of remaining successful. Once a month or once a quarter, book in time to look at not only at your metrics but also at the state of the market and how you can improve your offering.
DON’T rest on your laurels
Markets are fickle, so keeping up with customers’ changing demands is critical for success. Resting on your laurels and providing the same product or service without improving it isn’t an option if you want to stay at the forefront of your sector. Conduct surveys of your customers at regular intervals to find out how their needs are developing or if your offering can be improved. If you’re concerned about response rates, you can incentivise the survey with a prize draw.
DON’T give new business preferential treatment
An easy trap to get caught in is to offer preferential treatment and priority to new business. That’s all very well, but your existing customers are paying for a service – and ultimately keeping your company afloat in the here and now. Sustainable growth often comes from a loyal base that believe in your brand. Reward customers for their loyalty and treat them as if they could move to a different supplier at any time – after all, they may do just that if you forget about them.
DO ensure good financial management
The last – and perhaps most important – of our tips is to ensure you stay on top of your financial management. Businesses often run into trouble because they don’t have the right tools and processes to ensure cash flow is managed properly. Investing in good accounting software and having a knowledgeable tax advisor on hand are key to bringing in invoices and making necessary payments on time.
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