Running a business can be immensely satisfying but also hugely challenging. Business owners face a multitude of demands on their time, balancing the need to prioritise and deal with a range of urgent tasks while also finding time to look at the bigger picture. As an entrepreneur you may well be driven by the passion for what you offer, focused on what customers want and also how you can gain an edge over your competitors. You will also recognise how important it is to be able to raise the financing needed. In fact financial management can contribute much more to achieving your business goals.
Entrepreneurs whether they’re an unemployed person striking out on their own or a seasoned veteran trying to get the mojo back again must possess some tools in order to survive. These are the business fundamentals, those management traits that almost all successful entrepreneurs possess: teamwork, great leadership skills, tenacity, commitment and vision, and basic business skills.
New strategies are required, however these strategies are designed to work in a changing business climate.
Leadership Tips In Managing A Business
Leadership is almost 100% about managing people. Having great ideas and a strategic vision won’t get you far if your employees aren’t willing to follow you. Too many entrepreneurs take leadership skills for granted. Effective leadership does not necessarily require great technical or intellectual capacity. These attributes might help but they are not pivotal. Good leadership in the modern age more importantly requires attitudes and behaviours which characterise and relate to humanity.
The concept of serving is fundamental to the leadership role. Good leadership involves serving the organization or group and the people within it. Leadership in managing a successful business must possess the following.
Passion and a great business idea aren’t enough to succeed in business. You need a strategy for your business. Plan where you want your business to be in five years and how you are going to get it there.
Share successes and failures with your people. Information clearly transmitted gives them context and a sense of belonging to the business. On the other hand if the business is facing problems your employees will be a valuable source of ideas on how to improve things.
Leading by Example:
Be honest and ethical in everything you do. Have strong values. Live what you are preaching.
Asking for Advice:
No matter how well you know your industry change is reshaping business so fast that entrepreneurs develop blind spots or become uncertain about how to proceed.
To achieve a successful business a financial road map is necessary. An important attribute is the creation of a financial road map and budget along with the discipline to follow them through. A financial plan reminds owners where and how to spend money and it provides ways to measure progress or shortfalls. A sound financial plan is the cornerstone of a great business plan.
Skilled financial management is critical for putting your plan into practice. Effective administration, compliance and cash flow management are just the starting points. Financial skills let you track and measure performances, identify problem areas and new opportunities and also minimise risks. The right financial capabilities remain vital throughout the life of your business, whether you are just starting out, have an established business or planning to make a final exit from the business. Your financial management needs will continually evolve as the business grows and circumstances change. Successful growing businesses take a proactive approach to financial management and to making sure that they have the right capabilities. Financial management plays a continuous role in both day-to-day management of the business and the broader strategic planning.
Accurate and up-to-date information puts you in a position to make intelligent and informed decisions for building your future success. Identifying a small number of key performance indicators that have a major impact on your business helps you to focus on the issues that really matter.
Well Computed Business Processes
Another frequently credited attribute of success is the streamlining of business processes. We call this “creating predictability/planning. Business processes are how things are done within a business. Every business has some processes; some are clearly defined while others are implicit. The intention here is to increase productivity and reduce costs while generating the same (or better) outcomes. Successful businesses understand the need to continuously improve their business processes to become more efficient and productive and to respond to market changes faster while providing better service to customers.
Business planning is not just an exercise that you have to go through to raise financing for your business. Business planning has a critical role to play at every stage in the life of your business. For a busy entrepreneur it can be difficult to find the time for planning. Working on a business plan rarely seems as urgent as the immediate tasks that presents themselves. Yet whether you are starting a new venture, looking at new opportunities for an existing business or updating your strategy planning is essential.
Determination As A Tool
More than anything else entrepreneurship is a game of attrition. It’s about having the determination, the discipline and the cash to see it through. It’s about not giving up and being the last man or woman standing when everyone else has fallen by the wayside.
Don’t get me wrong, having the vision to see what others don’t, the passion to motivate yourself and others, the savvy to build and grow a business and the guts to make good decisions are all part of the mix. But what binds those ingredients together is the tenacity to stick with it day in and day out, year after year.
Make no mistake, successful companies have no endpoint. That’s right, they don’t. The goal is to keep overcoming obstacles, growing sales and making money, ad infinitum. If reading that sends a cold chill down your spine, you’re not alone. The prospect of having to keep all those balls up in the air and grow a business indefinitely is daunting to most. Perseverance distinguishes successful entrepreneurs.
The location of a person’s business is one of the most important variables in determining potential success. Businesses need to establish locations that generate the most customer traffic. The impact of a business location can usually be determined immediately. A business that is located in a desirable area will benefit from the exposure and foot traffic of other neighboring businesses. Moreover the right setting for a corporation’s headquarters can project a positive image that is more inviting for potential customers.
If you’re looking to attract a fantastic and high quality workforce, think about the location and its surrounding areas. Having the right location can sway prospective employees one way or another. Be sure to check for public transport routes for those who will be coming via bus or train. For those who will be driving make sure there’s adequate parking, preferably within close proximity to their place of work.
Also be reminded that simply defined customer service means taking care of your customers. Many companies integrate customer service into their business culture through training and the design (and frequent redesign) of relevant business processes. In most cases the business plan dictates how they will provide quality customer service.
Depending on your business suppliers could influence your location. It’s important to know where your suppliers are located and their accessibility. Obviously price and quality are pre-requisites in choosing a supplier but what about the speed of delivery? The ideal location can make this more practical.
A business’s location can affect the competition it faces from businesses that sell similar products and services.
Good Customer Service Promotes A Successful Business
Providing good customer service to all of your customers is key to building your business. Customers who receive excellent service will improve the bottom line of your business by returning with repeat business. Four out of five people are more likely to work with a business after receiving good service.
If you run a business customer service should be one of your main priorities. Without customers no business would exist. Keeping them happy is the key to running a successful and profitable business.
Good customer service departments understand the relationship between the way they greet, treat and handle customers and the bottom line. Efficient customer service departments seek to solve problems as they occur and if possible prevent them in the first place.
Treating customers with respect, greeting them with enthusiasm and going above and beyond to resolve any problems and issues can keep customers coming back. When companies seek to resolve problems and issues in a quick, pleasant and efficient manner, customers remain confident in the business and continue the business relationship.
Effective marketing efforts perform different functions around unique selling environments. For example, business-to-consumer enterprises have completely different marketing needs than business-to-business companies. Having a good understanding of the pains your clients are experiencing and how your product and services stop that pain can help you understand just how to market to your customers and that’s critical to business success.
Marketing is more than advertising and selling your products. Marketing addresses all aspects of growing your customer base and the more you know the more successful your marketing and your business will be.
Highly effective marketing is a make-or-break necessity for most small businesses. It’s really impossible for you to be successful without good marketing and sales techniques; that’s what brings the dollars in the door. Marketing is more than simply letting people know about your products or services. First,you need to know who your customers are. You need to get so close to them that you can anticipate their needs and desires. You need to be able to communicate to them exactly why they need what your business can provide. And then you have to reach them with that message.
Without exception, every successful business owner I’ve worked with has talked about how having trusted advisers is necessary for success. They know they don’t know everything and they’ve searched for advisers they could trust. They usually preferred to pay for this advice because they were looking for someone who would challenge them, hold them accountable, ask them important questions and introduce them to others who could help them when necessary.
A Business With Good Copywriting
Copywriting is one of those disciplines that vexes small business owners. On the one hand they know they have a need for strong copywriting because it attracts and persuades prospects to become customers and existing customers to become repeat customers. When this works it’s brilliant.
If you ask a small business owner to give a presentation in public you can see beads of perspiration forming almost immediately if your attention isn’t already drawn to their knees knocking or their legs imitating a piston right where they sit. While public speaking is a known and easy-to-admit fear of many writing is a more subtle fear. Accepting the task is easy but when it comes to stringing words together many business owners are like a deer in headlights. Just as the best speakers value speech writers and professional athletes have coaches, business owners need copywriters and copy editors.