This report outlines 7 areas in which you can ensure you’re on the right track in the development of your business. You will also find suggestions for strengthening your business foundation. After reading this article you’ll either feel confident about the direction you’re heading, or you’ll know the areas in which you need to grow.
- You Started Your Business for the Right Reasons.
If the only reason you started your business was to make a lot of money; or you thought all you had to do was put up your “sign” and customers would magically show up; or you thought business ownership meant you wouldn’t have to answer to anyone else; it’s likely you encountered this endeavor with great disappointment. On the other hand…
- If you started your business because you have a passion and love for what you do, and based on educated research, your product or service fills a valid need, you’re heading in the right direction for success. Passion is needed to get you through the tough spots.
- If you have the mental stamina and good health to withstand potential challenges, you can put another checkmark on your ‘success indicator’ checklist.
- If you possess drive, determination, patience, and a positive attitude, not just when things are going well, but during the challenges, you’re made of the right stuff for business success.
- If you don’t waste time blaming others but instead evaluate processes to find the real origin of mistakes, and use these findings to improve your skill set, or that of others, your head and heart’s in the right place for business success.
- If you are skilled at taking charge when a timely solution is needed, and you thrive on knowing, “the buck stops with you,” especially when under pressure, you understand what the “own” in “ownership” is all about.
- If you have a genuine care for all types of people, and show this with honesty and integrity in your human interactions, personally and professionally, you have the connect-ability and authenticity it takes to build the strong, loyal relationships necessary for business success.
- Good Business Management
New business owners understand the importance of business management in areas such as:
- managing finances (accounts receivable/payable, expenses)
- purchasing of products and services within a budget
- selling and/or promotion
- producing goods and/or services
- hiring and managing a team
- the right-use vs over-use of technology
- modern marketing practices
Plus, the savvy business manager doesn’t set the unreasonable expectation to “know it all.” He/she is good at knowing what he/she doesn’t do well, and seeks help from qualified professionals in areas of less knowledge. You know when and what to delegate and you let go and trust your team without micro-managing.
With careful attention to study, organizational planning, and the proper assessment of operations, including the continuing study of market research and customer data, you are building business success. You know this is an area that will continue to need re-evaluation as your business grows.
A successful business manager is a LEADER who creates a work culture conducive to productivity. He or she hires competent people, and properly trains them. Small business owners or entrepreneurs may not possess this skill. They should seek help from a trustworthy professional to serve in this area. Otherwise, vast amounts of time and money is wasted on the wrong people. A good leader is also skilled at strategic thinking, able to break down the steps of his/her vision, and isn’t afraid to change, make transitions, or re-envision new possibilities for the future.
- Adequate Cash Flow
If you took the time to plan your business to ensure adequate operating funds, you’re building a strong foundation. If you didn’t, make this a top priority today. Forward-thinking business owners estimate how much money is needed at various stages of growth. They also have a realistic expectation of incoming revenue.
You know the costs of starting your business and the costs of staying in business. You successfully estimate how much money is needed to launch your business, and how much it takes to keep it functioning at optimal capacity.
- Location, Location, Location
You know how location impacts your business. You know a good business location can enable a struggling business to ultimately survive and thrive. Some factors to consider:
- Where will you find your customers
- The traffic, accessibility, parking and lighting needs of your business
- The location of your competitors
- The condition and safety of building such that customers will feel safe
- You know if the area in which you live has a local incentive program in specific targeted areas
- The community is receptive to your business at a prospective site
If your business is Internet-based, you know your business name, domain name, and your SEO (search engine optimization) marketing efforts are the equivalent of location, location, location.
- Planning, Planning, Planning
A serious business owner has a realistic business plan based on accurate, current information, and educated projections for the future.
Components may include:
- Description of the business, vision, goals, and keys to success
- The need for and/or size of a team
- Potential problems and solutions
- Capital equipment and supply list, P & L, income statement and cash flow analysis, sales and expense forecast and tracking
- Competitive research
- Marketing, advertising, and promotional activities with defined timelines
- Budgeting and managing company growth
- If requiring startup capital, a business plan is a must for your investors
- Growth Matters
To ensure continued success a forward-thinking business owner understands growth must be planned and controlled. Business expansion is part of the business plan and is re-evaluated each year with a focus on slow and steady growth. An astute business owner knows growing too fast can lead to business sabotage.
Equally important to the successful business owner is not prohibiting growth. By establishing a solid customer base and good cash flow, you maintain growth at a manageable pace. A prudent business owner watches for signs indicating expansion is needed. For example, the inability to fill customer needs in a timely basis, or having difficulty keeping up with demands.
After careful review, research, and analysis, you identify what is needed for business growth. A skilled business manager will put in place the right systems and people, so he/she can focus on the growth of business, rather than trying to do it all alone.
- Your Business Has a Professional Website.
In today’s technological world, a smart business owner knows this is not optional. You don’t make excuses. You know with the advent of content management tools; programming skills are no longer needed making a website affordable and easy for everyone.
The US Government census of 2013 demonstrates the undeniable growth and reality that the Internet is here to stay – a smart business owner knows this without a doubt.
At the very least, a business should have a professional looking and well-designed website describing your business and your products and services. As the business grows, additional features and functionality can be added.
A practical business owner knows if they don’t have one, they are likely losing business to their competitors. A pragmatic business owner knows not just any website will do. He/she ensures the website makes his/her business look good. Excellence is always the goal.
When it comes to the success of any new business, you — the business owner – are ultimately the “secret” to your success. I remember when I started my first business, my motto was – and still is – failure is not an option.
Armed with drive, perseverance, and a positive mindset, you know any setback is an opportunity to learn and grow. Most self-made millionaires possess average intelligence, and some have little to no formal education. What sets successful business owners apart is their openness and willingness to learn whatever it takes to succeed. Stay open to learning and growth and success will follow.
Get up and do a happy dance if you score high on these indicators. You’re on the road to a successful business.
If you find yourself falling short in any of these areas, do not waste precious time and energy beating yourself up. Few get in business with all of the skills or knowledge needed. Most learn by trial and error and they develop a team to help in areas outside their expertise.
Please make it a priority to seek professional guidance in the weak area of your business. Most businesses can be turned around, IF you strengthen the weak places early on.
Do not hesitate to contact me should you desire business support in any of these areas, or if you have any questions.
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