We often dream about what ifs and for some of us those dreams are about opening our own businesses and becoming entrepreneurs. However, there is a difference between owning a business and running a successful business. Going off the back of my years of experience, here are my 14 top tips on how to run a successful business.
Business Plan Ahead
Tip 1: Set out a Business Model with a Business Plan and cash flow forecast at the outset and review and amend it each year. Keep it short - a business plan should be short and concise. You want it to be read and no-one is going to read a 50+ page business plan from cover to cover. You should also consider your audience. Write your plan using language that your audience will understand e.g. if your company is developing a complex scientific process, but your prospective investors aren’t scientists (and don’t understand all the detailed scientific terminology you want to use), you need to adapt.
Tip 2: Plan for working capital – we all need to cover our own expenses. There are four main components of working capital which are; Cash Management, Receivables Management, Inventory Management and Accounts payable management. Ensure you calculate your working capital correctly.
Tip 3: From the business plan and the forecast work out targets for activity (Monthly/Weekly/Daily). If you achieve the activity, results should follow but they are much easier to see when tracked and can often provide a great boost to morale.
Tip 4: Set out and work to a marketing plan with a budget. It is very easy to get carried away when it comes to marketing and overspending so create a budget plan for it and stick to it. Don't forget to use social media - creating social media channels and content for your business will only cost you time initially and that can be well within budget. Or hire a social media manager to free-up your time and hand over the reins but make sure it's within your plan.
Tip 5: Set out and work to a sales plan and procedure. A sales plan is a document used to establish objectives and to develop the strategies that will be used to achieve them. This document establishes a path for revenue growth and other measurements for success. Sales plans consist of sections outlining goals, identifying key customer attributes, and listing strategies, tools, metrics, and estimated expenses.
Tip 6: Set out a procedure and system for the follow through which makes the business run efficiently. Procedures and policies can be a real pain in the proverbial. Sometimes, they're too tight and restrictive, and at other times, they're vague and lacking in detail. But, if your employee calls in sick or something happens to you, it's good to have a well-written, detailed procedure to help guide you through.
Tip 7 : Put processes in place; For every part of the business create a procedure, even if there is only one of you, the more duplicable the activity the better organised the business and the more efficiently the business will run. Creating a basic flowchart for processes and procedures will help you stay on top of things and make it much easier to handover tasks, if and when you take on new staff members as they'll simply be able to follow the chart and do things the way you have.
Tip 8: Take care of yourself first – Especially if you are a sole trader, but also if you employ staff – the company needs you to maintain and grow the business. Consider key worker insurance and don't forget that everyone needs a little break, even those trying to build an empire. Take care of yourself so you can take care of the business.
Tip 9: Don’t run before you can walk but do Get Started ie If you aren’t in the race, you can’t win the race. Pace yourself, build a momentum and get yourself out there but don't announce your arrival until you are sure you are ready.
Tip 10: Remember the client is King. Treat the client with respect .Listen to what they have to say. Ask for their business. Remember them and what your service/product means to them.
Tip 11: When the business is running, set aside regular times to evaluate the business and check if the activity and sales are in line with the business plan – If not, where is the fault? Make the relevant changes to the activity to ensure that the fault is fixed. After the crucial early stages, you should regularly review your progress, identify how you can make the most of the market position you've established and decide where to take your business next. Decide which ways you are going to measure business success, then track and evaluate.
Tip 12: Cash flow is possibly the most crucial piece of the business jigsaw and without income the business may well fail. Are the sales where they need to be? Is the product or service delivering in a timely fashion and giving value to the client. Are the Invoices being paid when they should be and if not is there a process in place to recover the debt quickly? If at any point you are unsure of how to do something, there is always the option of taking training courses or of course, hiring a business consultant.
Tip 13: Testimonials and recommendations are the very best form of marketing. Speak to clients throughout the process, ask them if they are happy with the product or service and when the sale is complete ask them for a testimonial in order that you can show other potential clients how happy your client base is with your product/service. Ask clients who have been particularly pleased with the service/product to review online through the various channels ie google
Tip 14: Finally, and possibly most important of all... Enjoy the business – I am passionate about business – It’s what makes me tick, it drives me to go further, it sets me on fire! Without passion there is no heart, and everything needs some sort of heart to thrive!
I’m Selina Johnson, the freedom fixer.
I help successful but overwhelmed coaches, speakers, consultants and entrepreneurs trade burnout for balance, by taking away the jobs you shouldn’t be working on, so you can focus on only the highest value tasks and priorities in your business.
I use my 15 years experience to help your business scale in a healthy and sustainable way with the systems, processes and automation you need.
As the solid foundation of your business, we manage the day-to-day operations, banish the overwhelm and help you find real clarity.