In this article business, people from many diverse businesses share their survival tips for Business Owners. Please share this article with friends and colleagues so everyone can benefit.
Protect Your Business Assets
As we know current times are tough for many industries. Businesses both young and mature need to ensure their cash flow and assets are well protected from clients business failures and slow payment of your receivables. Ensure that you have strong credit management practices in place supported by effective, enforceable Terms of Trade. Contact The Cash Flow Company Today.
Tony Yarrall – The Cash Flow Company
Organise Your Business Information
Design and develop good systems and processes. It takes time and patience to create and nurture a business to long term success. Organising your business information into practical systems and processes from the start will reduce the time wasted looking for information you need to manage and grow your business.
Judy Owen – Terrace Consulting Ltd
Get The Foundations Right
Make sure you’ve got strong foundations in place for your business. Most importantly, your legal and financial structures need to be custom fit to your particular circumstances. Don’t fall into the trap of treating these in isolation – you must look at your whole picture and ensure the structures you have in place for your business mesh with your personal affairs. Get this right, and you’ll reap the rewards of a business structure that fits with your personal affairs, will stand the test of time and safeguard your assets into the future
Kathy Martin – Full Focus Limited
Many small business owners are overwhelmed trying to do everything themselves. Delegating can not only take the workload off your hands, but it will also allow you to focus on tasks that will help you grow your business.
Nica Mandigma – The Virtual Assistant
Make your business plan work for you
Business plans aren’t meant to be static. They are mostly a long-term strategic tool, but to be effective you need to look at them regularly and update your strategies. How often should you do this? I would suggest quarterly. Look at which of your strategies are working and which are not. Do more of what is working and less of what isn’t but learn lessons from both. The whole idea is to use the business plan to make your business.
Lorna Barrow – Impact Training & Development Services
Implement a Communications Strategy
The first priority is to understand your business and your requirements. Work with someone like us will then develop creative strategies and deliver action plans to get you where you want to go. Believe in measuring results enabling you to monitor the return on your investment. One thing is for sure – Don’t believe in hype, making you pay through the nose or selling you something you don’t need.
Do believe in working alongside you, helping you identify and achieve your objectives through effective Public Relations solutions that deliver results. Our strategically planned public relations services will boost your profile, effectively communicate key messages and enhance your reputation amongst customers and key stakeholders. Our aim is to work with you to develop and implement a communications strategy that is perfectly aligned with your overall business objectives both online and off-line.
Eddie McGuinness – EMcG Public Relations
Clearly Define Your Products or Services
It is vital to know how to very clearly explain your products or services, and their benefits, to people who’ve never heard of you before. Also, be aware that although enthusiasm – or even passion – for your work is essential, it doesn’t necessarily make you any different to your competitors.
James Bull – James Bull Consulting
Work with your customers. Keep the communication going; when times get tough we tend to retreat to our caves (no customers there). Every customer counts and we need to get out there, connected and understand how we may best serve their needs in a different market place. Work to ensure your customers are happy and want to do business with you!
Richard O’Brien – Business for Sale NZ (nzbizbuysell)
Register your Domain Name
My survival tip for small business owners is to register your domain name. Even if you are not ready to launch a website, you should purchase the domain and park it until you are ready to build your website. This will make it easier for you to acquire a suitable domain name. It will also help you Google rankings because the age of your domain is one of the factors Google uses to determine your ranking.
Larry James – Durham Web Designer
Set your Goals
Have a plan but be willing to adjust as necessary. Set reasonable goals for yourself and your business. Revisit these goals frequently to see if they still fit into your overall plan. As you start to complete them, cross them off the list and add a new goal. Goals and plans help you to see the progression of your business.
Jackie Pillai – Pillai Consulting
My tip is to “Stay Focused” throughout 5 years it is difficult for entrepreneurs and business owners to stay the course, but those who are able to consistently work hard and stay focused on the core of the business are those that have the most success. It is okay to test different products and services and continue to innovate, but sometimes continuing to “chop at the tree” separates those that succeed from those that fail.
Gresham Harkless – CEO Blog Nation
Package your Services
If you are selling services, you might find them easier to sell if you package them up as products. For example, instead of selling writing services for a set fee per hour or per page, you could market a product which includes copy for a brochure, a media release and a web page and call it a “Startup Kit”, aimed at new businesses. Add an annual “Refresh” option to secure repeat business, and you’re really pumping! (If you want to receive a weekly tip as well as info, resources and tools in your mailbox every week, sign up for our Beestings newsletter here: http://www.bizbuzz.co.nz/page/subscribe-our-newsletters).
Heather Douglas – Home Business New Zealand Ltd
Learn to Read Financial Reports
Rarely do business owners begin their own businesses because they enjoy number-crunching. Expressions like “financial analysis”; “break-even” & “accounting” send many of them to sleep or dive for the nearest cover! But to survive the cruel world of business, most business owners must learn to have at least a basic understanding of their finances and learn to read basic financial reports.
Mark Gwilliam – Business Advisory Accounting & Tax Services Limited
Take time to Work on your Business
Plan and commit to a “Working on My Business” block of time each week. That block of time would include tasks such as social media, marketing, admin, bookkeeping and most importantly followup! This sounds like a large percentage of your week but it is absolutely necessary if you are going to grow a successful business! If you cannot do it all yourself hire out. Sometimes it makes sense to delegate some tasks to an assistant or VA.
Sherry Simoes – Sherry Lynn Simoes
You get what you ask for. Approach any situation, however challenging, with a positive mindset. You will be surprised how unexpected solutions will arise.
Kirsten Thomforde – Medical Staffing International
Claim your Facebook Business Page
Have you “claimed” your Facebook business page? Maybe not. Here’s how to check: Go to your business page and click on “edit.” If you see “Claim This Page” as an option, your page is not officially yours! Make sure you have your business address linked to your Facebook page, then select “Claim This Page” and follow the simple steps. This will not allow anyone else to take over your page, as well as allow you to merge other fan pages into one official Facebook page.
Vicky Dobbin – Dobbin Media
“How did you hear about us?”
Be sure to ask all your customers how they heard about your business, and log it so you can analyse it later. That way you’ll quickly figure out which marketing channels are working for you – and which aren’t. This can save even small business hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars a year.
Cornelia Luethi – The Leaky Bathtub
Understand how People Use your Websites
Commit to understanding what users do on your website and mobile channel and why they do it so you can increase sales and user satisfaction. With conversion rates running under 1% and your competitors often only one click away from its crucial that you ensure visitors & users stay and have a great user experience. Its also never been a better time to get that insight into your business with online services such as www.whatusersdo.com – giving you user insight in hours for minimal ££’s
Nick Imrie – WhatUsersDo
Taking a break is vital to staying productive and creative
As business owners, we tend to do it all, all of the time. Even if it is one day a week take the time to disconnect from your business and enjoy a little personal me time. It could be reading that one book that has been sitting on your table or going to that quaint little town that you pass by all the time. Just remember no one ever said, “Boy I really wish I would have worked harder.”
Lee Drozak – My Office Assistant
Keep your Focus on your Business
It’s imperative that business owners keep to what they are strongest at and don’t get distracted onto other, perhaps, interesting things that take their fancy. Clients can spot such butterfly owners but this isn’t to say that changes never happen. Keep an eye open for opportunities to diversify into but stay true to your strengths.
Paul Slater – Mushcado
Cut start-up costs by using cloud-based IT services
There’s no need to spend a lot of money upfront purchasing a server and software to manage your email and documents. Use a service like Office 365 from Microsoft for email, document management and collaboration. Pay only for what you use and scale up or down based on your need. If you’re not an IT company don’t spend your time and money worrying about IT when there are great services out there that do it for you.
Andrew Sims – Oxwich Consulting
Can you really afford to ignore Social Media if you are to survive?
Your online presence is important but what should you do. The question is…Where are the majority of people spending their time online? Doesn’t it make sense to go on a “website” where the majority of New Zealand Internet users have an account? A place where you can build a relationship with these users? We understand that the success of any business is built on the relationship with their customer. With social media accounts, you can engage with this current and potential customer base online and build a solid relationship. Social media certainly does not reduce nor negate the need for a business website but consider how a social media site can potentially direct customers “warm” clients to your existing online presence or website.
Cathy Mellett – Net Branding Ltd
You DON’T have to spend money to make money
I wish someone had told me when I started out just how little expense is actually necessary. My later projects have significantly reduced overheads when compared to the early ones. I now know where I can save and exactly what is worth spending on for my business model. If you’re a sole entrepreneur with a micro-enterprise, the answer is: do everything yourself that you humanly can. Don’t hire out tasks you are capable of learning. Don’t buy advertising – word of mouth is so much more powerful, and you get that from good results, no more, no less. You get the idea!
Grace Bridges – Splashdown Books
Decide on the one thing that you do best – Better than anyone else
The thing that people rave about, the thing that they can’t get anywhere else and the thing that will generate the most revenue for your business. When developing your early online marketing efforts such as a website, focus on this. Don’t dilute your efforts and waste limited marketing resources on trying to appeal to a large range of people with different needs hoping that you’ll get more interest for things you ‘can’ do. If your online marketing is laser-focused, it will be much more effective and it can cost you less than an all-singing, all-dancing bit of awesomeness. You’ll have time to use social media and other tools and techniques because you’re time will also be much more focused. And don’t believe in silver bullets.
Sandra Newton – Essentee Web Design and Management
Tomorrow is another day!
Being a business owner can suck sometimes. The stress of being all things to all people, wanting everything to be perfect and feeling like you are the only one who can fix it all… this will make you feel like throwing it all in sometimes. There have been times in my business career when I have been envious of the check out girl at the supermarket because at the end of her shift she gets to go home and forget it all. As business owners, we bring our business worries everywhere with us. But here’s the tip of the year… it always works out in the end. I learned this the hard way after nearly driving myself into a nervous breakdown with one of my businesses. Whatever happens, you do survive it and in most cases, the worst-case scenario never happens. Take a deep breath, let it go and if you are feeling real, really stressed about something… don’t do anything until the next day. Tomorrow always shows the brighter side of things.
Laura Humphreys – Liber8me
Learn from our mistakes
If there is one thing we all have in common, its that somewhere sometime it all went wrong! Now pat yourself on the back because we all have common ground. So whether studying our own mistakes or others, they shape our future. So always look back at our mistakes with that knowing grin that it’s those moments that have helped to get us where we are today!
Kevin Medri – NetRight
Commitment to persevere
Survival in business for more than five years requires three things – the commitment to persevere and change when needed, the ability to plan against a strategy and measure and tweak the results regularly and finally the ability to afford to keep making mistakes. When you can no longer afford to make a mistake then get out.
Roberta Budvietas – Budvietas.com Ltd