Ssshhhh we have some small business secrets to share. Okay, they aren’t actually secrets, they are more like best practices that entrepreneurs should consider when they’re either in the start-up phase or in the growth phase.
It may seem as though there is a “secret society” into which all successful business owners belong and you’re on the outside looking in. It’s not true, but here are some ways in which you can achieve higher business success.
Small Business Secrets
Keep current customers. It is so much more cost effective to keep a current customer than it is to find and nurture a new one. Don’t spend so much time seeking out new customers and new opportunities that you neglect your current clients. Stay in touch with them. Email or call them regularly just to check in. Ask what you can do to help them.
Find an accountability partner or a coach. Running a business can sometimes be a lonely task. It’s easier when you have someone you can bounce ideas off of or who can hold you accountable to business growth items you’ve said you want to pursue. It may be easier to find an accountability partner than it is to share your business frustrations with a spouse or significant other.
Surround yourself with winners. When you hire employees or bring in an outside contractor or freelancer to work with you, make sure you surround yourself with the best. Sure, you will get that occasional “lemon” that you thought was going to be great. Give yourself grace and move on when this happens. Just make sure you “hire slowly, fire quickly.” Don’t keep a bad employee on staff or your business can quickly suffer.
See. These weren’t secrets, but were instead, good business practices that you should consider for your own business. If you’ve decided to become your own boss, take it slow, write a business plan and surround yourself with great people!
Are you starting a business? Have you been running a business but have been “winging it” because you’ve never taken the time to write a business plan? If you’re running a business without a business plan you’re not alone. How to write a business plan is something we work with our clients to make happen.
When you have a business plan — and it doesn’t need to be a 100 page document — you have a roadmap toward future success and growth.
How To Write A Business Plan
Don’t be afraid of a business plan — even if you’ve never written one. We’ve put together a few simple steps that can get you on your way toward writing a business plan.
- Perform research. In order to write your business plan you need to understand your business and the industry in which you’re operating in and out. Understand your industry and every aspect of your business so intimately that you can answer an investor’s question with no hesitation.
- Know what you don’t want to do as much as what you want to do. Know your limitations and the limitations of the goods and services you will provide. Don’t think you can be everything to everyone. Choose a niche and laser focus on that. What have you seen others do that you have said, “I will NEVER do that!” or what have you seen that you think, “I definitely want to do that, but differently.”
- You can use business plan software or simply pull up a Word or Google doc or a piece of paper and a pen. The software you use doesn’t matter as much as getting the plan down on “paper.”
- Don’t forget the visuals. If you have visuals you can share in your business plan to share the information you’re putting into it — do so. Visuals are more intriguing to a reader than is a “wall of words.” What relevant images can you find to add into your business plan?
- Make your business plan adaptable for the audience with whom you will be sharing it. Think of your business plan as your resume or elevator speech. Pick and choose relevant items and share that with the audience you’re in front of. Not all audiences want to hear your entire business plan.
Start a business right — with a busines plan. If you don’t know where to begin, reach out to us, we can help.
If you’re an entrepreneur operating in a vacuum, chances are you’re feeling stagnant. No one, especially an entrepreneur, should work alone. Entrepreneurs need someone to bounce ideas off of. They need to have someone to whom to be accountable. Should you have a business partner? Maybe you don’t need a partner, but you may want an accountability partner or referral partners.
You probably started your business because of a particular area of expertise and have and a niche at which you’re extremely skilled. Do you know how to do everything required to run a successful business? If you don’t or if you’re not sure, you may need to find a referral partner or an accountability partner.
What do you do with the tasks at which you’re not skilled, like marketing, design or bookkeeping, for example? If you try to do it all, without relying on the strength of trusted partners, you will spread yourself too thin. Look at those items that are not within your core competency that are taking you away from your business and find a way to outsource or partner with someone who can help you with what you aren’t great at and who would benefit from your expertise.
Should You Have A Business Partner?
- What do you need in a business partnership? What skills do you want your business partner to bring to the table? What do you have to offer in return?
- Spend time getting to know your potential business partner. Don’t just jump into a relationship simply because you feel the need to find someone, anyone. A business partnership requires mutual trust.
- Virtual or face-fo-face partnership? With today’s technology you can certainly find a business partner who doesn’t live in your city or state. You do need to have expectations for communication — how often, for how long and an agenda to make the calls mutually beneficial and useful.
Do you need a business partner? What are the pros and cons to you and for your potential business partner? Determine that and move forward.
Many entrepreneurs look at the day after Labor Day as the “second New Year.” When the kids go back to school and you’re staring down the barrel of the last quarter, it’s time to re-evaluate your goals and take steps to make sure you meet your 2018 goals. End the year strong and profitable.
Goal setting isn’t just a January 1 option. Goal setting is something entrepreneurs need to do regularly. Your goals are a living, breathing entity that need nurturing and regular check-ins to assure you are on track for meeting them.
How close are you to ending the year strong? How close are you to achieving what you’d set out to do on January 1?
Meet Your 2018 Goals
How can re-invigorate the goals you’d set in January? Don’t tell yourself, “I only have three months until the end of the year, I can’t make it happen.” Instead, tell yourself, “I have three months until the end of the year and I CAN make it happen.” Attitude is everything.
Let’s revisit your goals
- Were your goals concrete? If you look at them now, were they vague or did they give you a clear cut path toward completion? Don’t set goals that set you up for failure.
- Were the goals written down? If you’ve just been “telling” yourself, I need to finish XYZ, but not writing down XYZ, chances are it won’t get done. A goal that is not written down is just talk and other items will step into your life and take precedence.
- To whom are you accountable? Announce your goal to others. Find an accountability partner to whom you can connect and discuss your progress. Be accountable to someone other than yourself if that’s what you need ot help you achieve your goals.
Work it. If you’re writing down goals and looking at them regularly but not making any progress toward complete, what are you waiting for? Get to work now! End the year strong so you can face 2019 feeling like you’ve scaled that once seeming insurmountable mountain.
What goals should you focus on to end the year strong? If you’re not sure what to prioritize or how to prioritize, reach out and I can walk you through the goal-setting process.