Business owners who have “grown into” their business may overlook some important steps over time, and by doing so, a successful business can fail.
If you’re busy building and working in your business, you need to work on it to meet the fundamental business requirements.
Perhaps your business has evolved almost by accident. When you started out, it was just you – self-employed for the first time. Before you knew it, other family members or friends worked alongside you, employees, subcontractors, etc. If your business has developed like this, you risk not having everything in place that makes for a real business.
This by no means belittles where you’ve got to so far. Many businesses fail within the first 3 years, so if you’ve been in business longer than that – you’ve done an excellent job. All your hard work and sweat have paid off. If this sounds like you, perhaps it’s time to take stock and go back to the fundamentals of running a real business which include:
- Business Plan
- Operational procedures and systems
- Customer service
- Marketing and sales strategy
- Mentors and advisors
- Professional and personal development
Not all aspects of a successful business are detailed in this business blog post, as we have many articles that cover each topic which you can find by using our Search feature and scrolling down past this article.
1. Have a Strategic Business Plan
A solid foundation for your business will include a business vision and a strategic business plan. This will provide everything you need to follow a business strategy that works for you. Plus, use your business plan as a guide that needs revising as your business navigates its challenges. Customer sentiment and economic outlook need careful analysis and a plan to keep the company relevant and successful.
2. Establish clear goals & get team buy-in
You’ll also want your business to have specific goals and objectives. You’ll need to ensure you get buy-in from your team if your business is to be truly successful. So make sure your whole team knows about them and can align with them.
3. Make sure leadership is present
Every business needs a leader who takes “ownership” of the company. A leader will “walk the talk”, recognise the tremendous effort and create a “team” out of a bunch of employees (which in turn will generate the buy-in we just talked about.)
4. Establish systems & procedures
Develop plans and methods for every task and requirement, from your marketing strategy to customer service. Use cloud-based SaaS apps and platforms so everyone in the business has what they need. Every process must be documented so it can be reviewed and improved.
5. Get your cashflow sorted
Ensure you have a cash flow system that forecasts weeks in advance (ideally around 7 weeks in advance). This way, you can see any bumps in the road before you reach them, and you’ll be able to address them in advance. This will go a long way to creating “cash flow certainty” and eliminating nasty surprises.
6. Customers paying on time
Get strict about your customers paying on time. It can be easy to let emotions come into play when someone gives you their sad story. You must have a clear policy or procedure to follow. Being a business owner sometimes means making hard decisions. Get your customers paying on time – every time, and clean up any long-standing debts.
7. Pay your bills
It’s also hard to get tough with your debtors if you’re slack in this department. Make sure you pay your own bills on time. If you know you’ll be late paying an invoice – let them know in advance and make sure you agree on a date by which you will pay them.
8. Hire advisors that enhance your business
Your professional advisors should add to what your business is up to, not confuse and detract. Until you find advisors that fit with your business, understand you and your business and can communicate in a language you know.
9. Seek to be at the top of your game
Always look for the edge and new ways to improve what your business does. Act with the utmost concentration, on purpose and not by happenstance.
If you can master, or at least be a student, of these 9 things, you’ll be well on the way to having a business that will not only provide you with the lifestyle needs you want, it will also create an asset for the future so that you can reap the ultimate rewards of all your hard work.