While it’s not impossible to succeed in business, it’s usually far from a walk in the park; and this means when you’ve been able to pay yourself a wage alongside everyone else, it’s time to start thinking about the future. It may only have been a few months since your accountant stopped worrying about whether you’ll be able to pay them let alone anyone else, but you shouldn’t get complacent! Often it’s a lack of activity will allow your competitors an opportunity to try and get ahead.
Push The Envelope
It’s brilliant that you’ve been able to stay in the black but as we’ve said the business world is harsh and you can be sure there will be someone younger, smarter and bolder waiting to step into your shoes should you make a mistake. Now’s the time to consider your goals for the next five years, where do you see the business going? Have you implemented a clear strategy? Are you able to inspire your team to work harder, longer and stronger? All these questions need to be answered as well as understanding when to take a risk and when to put the brakes on a little. A team goal-setting session should help get you out of your comfort zone, link up your thoughts and let you hear ideas from everyone while getting feedback on changes you might be thinking of making.
Big businesses are more successful when all employees are excited about the products, or services that they’re trying to sell. For instance, cosmetic corporations like L’oreal and Benefit often employ those who are almost too enthusiastic about makeup. Why? Well, if you’ve got strong passion running right through the board, down into head office and then onto the sales floor everyone’s singing from the same hymn sheet and shares the same values. You also need to make sure that you challenge yourself every day, customers don’t automatically show interest, it may take a long time to build up a solid client base but that shouldn’t stop you from trying. Task-related targets also show your team, however small they may be, exactly what you expect from them.
The Customer Is Always Right
It may be a slightly twee expression, but happy people sell, and a good customer experience can either make or break a business, especially start-ups who’re still somewhat unknown. Make sure that you put customer service right at the top of the agenda, as in the beginning; you’ll need every positive review you can get to generate money! However, once you’re established, it’s also important not to let standards drop because clients will notice and negative feedback massively affects sales figures. Keep your business customer orientated, be friendly but not overly pushy, answer questions politely, return emails and phone calls promptly and address complaints in a professional manner.
Don’t forget to keep the lines of communication open and, unlike at home, you may need to have multiple phone lines installed. We’re not saying that you should be available to take calls at midnight, though! It’s perfectly acceptable to operate during regular business hours, but try to deal with queries promptly because there’s nothing that annoys people more than being kept on hold. We’re aware that it’s not always possible to speak to everyone during busy periods but try to set aside half an hour each day to prioritize correspondence.
Don’t Be Afraid To Delegate
It doesn’t matter how many, or few people you have working for you, at some point you’ll need to delegate some of the workload to avoid collapsing at your desk! Try to avoid taking on too much yourself, it’s fine to be involved, but it’s also important to show that you trust your team members. Give work to those who you’ve hired to provide support i.e. personal assistants and team leaders so that you have time to figure out how you can make the business even better. Take a moment, preferably at the weekend, to look at tasks due for completion in the week ahead and then decide what you absolutely must do and what could be left to someone else.
Don’t think of it another person doing your work! All good business owners know the importance of delegation especially when it comes to getting consistent results. Once you’re able to free yourself up a bit, you can then take a look at how to increase productivity, exciting ways to motivate the team and any ongoing marketing campaigns that need tweaking. It’s also a good moment to streamline day-to-day stuff, so essentially you create a system that takes care of itself.
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