04 Feb 15 Ways of building a better business
Every business, small or large, is constantly looking for ways to improve its operations. Building a better business means maximising your profits yet keeping your customers satisfied and your team happy.
Building a successful business isn’t always a simple task. However, there are many ways that can make the journey just a little easier..
In our 19 years of experience, we have worked with many successful businesses. So, using our knowledge, we’ve outlined our 15 top-tips for building a better business.
1. Be clear on what is it that you want
Before you even start building a business, it’s important to understand why you want to be in business at all. You should consider your personal goals and expectations - what is it that being in business will help you achieve? Are you in it solely for money and freedom or are there any other reasons?
It’s also important to think about the way being in business will affect your life or any future plans, for instance, when it comes to your family.
Becoming a business owner is a big commitment and, if you do it for the wrong reasons, it will likely be a rather negative experience. Being truly passionate about what you do is the key ingredient to your success.
2. Have a strong business plan
Creating a good business plan is vital for the success of every business. It essentially works as a road map for your company - it helps you clearly outline your goals and identify specific actions on how these will be achieved.
It’s also one of the best ways to add more structure to your strategies and track your progress. Your business plan should be a document that you regularly review and update as it’s an important tool for business growth and success.
3. Be held accountable by someone independent
Setting yourself ambitious goals is great but actually working on them and achieving them is what really matters. Many businesses owners fail to do so due to a lack of accountability.. The most foolproof way to ensure that you complete all the actions that you’ve committed is to have someone nagging you to follow through with all of them.
While there are some people who are so self-driven that they wouldn’t need this, most of us encounter moments of struggle. Having someone push and motivate you without accepting any excuses can be very helpful in this case. Keep in mind though, it has to be someone independent from your business or your personal life. It should be a person who is not afraid to show you some “tough love” and won’t worry about hurting your feelings in the process.
It is essentially a business version of having a fitness coach forcing you out of the bed everyday at 6am to go for a morning run in the rain…
If you’re not sure where to find a coach / mentor, it’s always worth trying one of the many business networking groups, such as a chamber of commerce. Some locations also have business enterprise agencies or mentoring groups with experienced business people who would take on coaching voluntarily or for a low fee.
4. Hire the right team for your business
Your team is the backbone of your company and so you need to ensure that you have the right people working for you. The quality of your hires is directly related to the employee retention rates in your company, motivation and productivity levels as well as the overall success of your business.
Hiring new employees is by no means an easy task and it can be difficult to know how to choose the right people. Consider using a recruitment agency to help you create a Job Specification and a Personality Profile for your ideal person. They will then advertise the position, screen applicants and deal with references.
Take care to hire people with the right personal qualities to fit into your business culture. Check out references thoroughly.
Consider whether you actually need to hire someone or if you would be better off outsourcing the task.
Whichever path you choose, this shouldn’t be a rushed decision as you want to ensure that you have the most suitable team for your business.
5. Use Freelancers to help growth and bring specialist skills
Hiring freelancers can provide considerable benefits for businesses. They can save you a considerable amount of money in employment costs and add value with specialist skills. You have a much wider talent pool to choose from as you are not restricted by locations or any other employee needs.
This is especially true for small businesses that may sometimes need help from, for instance, a graphic designer or a marketing expert, but not enough to hire someone full-time or even part-time. A freelancer will do the same task efficiently and professionally, saving you the employment overheads.
6. Become a better leader
There is a great leader behind every successful business and these two things go hand in hand. This means that you shouldn’t just hire the best people for your business, you should also put effort into looking after them, keeping them happy and being an excellent leader for them.
A good leader is someone who will be able to clearly communicate with their team about their business objectives and encourage them to work together to achieve common goals. They can create strong relationships with people and build a motivated and cooperative team.
Great leaders will also know how to guide, help and listen to their employees. You should be their mentor as well as a role model. This is extremely important in order to create a trusting workplace environment and keep your employees engaged.
7. Create stronger customer relationships
Every business understands that customers are important - after all, they bring you profit by buying your products or services. However, there’s a danger of putting greater value on the quantity rather than quality of customer relationships, focussing on getting more new customers while forgetting to look after the existing ones.
Creating strong customer relationships means putting value on your existing customers and increasing their loyalty to your brand. This is extremely important for your overall profitability and business success. In fact, the probability of selling to an already existing customer is around 60-70%, whereas selling to a new one is only 5-20%. Therefore, you should always consider new ways to build stronger customer relationships.
8. Have a good marketing plan
Marketing is the part of every business that can easily get overlooked. This is understandable, especially for small companies that want to minimise their costs. However, marketing is essentially what generates customer leads and therefore sales.. It should be an integral part of your overall business strategy and should never be ignored.
To get started with your marketing strategy, it is a good idea to have an efficient plan that will bring more structure to your activities. It doesn’t have to be long or complicated - creating a one-page marketing plan will do the job. This plan will help you outline your overall goals, strategies to achieve them and KPIs to monitor your results.
9. Invest in making your business more efficient
Improving your business efficiency can considerably increase your overall profitability, so you should always look for ways to do so. For instance, look at whether you could automate certain business tasks and spend less time on them.
You could also outsource non-core business processes to professionals who will perform them far more efficiently and save costs. While improving business efficiency may require some investment at first, it will undoubtedly bring value and returns in the long-run.
10. Improve your company’s culture
Company culture is what characterises your business - it’s about the shared values, goals and attitudes within your team. The majority of business owners believe that company culture is one of the most important factors for business success. This is because building good relationships between employees and keeping them engaged increases their overall motivation and productivity levels. In addition, happy employees enjoy themselves in the process and are more passionate about reaching common goals.
There are a variety of things you can do to improve your company culture, including some team-building activities. The majority of these don’t require any additional expenses - just your dedication and time.
11. Stay focused
Owning a business can involve plenty of different tasks, worries and challenges. With lots going on, it can be easy to get distracted from what is really important. However, staying focused on the right things is vital for business success.
For example, as a business owner you shouldn’t be dealing with day-to-day accounting or payroll management - these are non-core business activities that do not generate any profit. Outsourcing and automating such tasks can be a good way to ensure that you always stay focused on what really matters - running a successful business.
12. Manage cash flow and get paid on time
Many businesses fail every year by running out of money, even if they are profitable. This is most often due to an inefficient management of cash flows. This could be because of too many unnecessary expenses, or perhaps because the business is not getting paid in time by their debtors. Regularly looking for ways to improve your cash flow position and monitoring it can make the difference between business success and failure.
13. Have a mentor to support and guide you
Mentoring is very common in businesses and it has some great benefits. A mentor is someone who can support and guide you through the difficult times as well as share the joys of your successes. Having a mentor can be extremely helpful for your mental health, personal development or just general advice. Your mentor will likely have knowledge and experience in your business field, which means that you can discuss your concerns and challenges with them.
A lot of the time mentoring programmes are offered to employees within organisations. However, business owners can also greatly benefit from having a mentor.
14. Always monitor your progress
Monitoring your progress is one of the most important parts of your business - this is how you know whether you are on track with your business goals and strategies. It also gives you a perspective of what should be changed or adjusted if you fail to achieve your objectives. If you just set goals but don’t track them, these will likely never be reached.. Monitoring should be done for any growth objectives, marketing goals, financial goals, budgets, etc.
15. Most importantly, enjoy yourself
All of this effort to build a successful business will be worthless if you don’t enjoy yourself in the process. Whenever you get stressed and overwhelmed with your business, take a step back and remember again why you do what you do. If you are truly passionate about your work it should be easy to enjoy it, together with the great joys of seeing your business grow and become more successful.
These are our 15 most important things you should consider and work on in order to build a better business. Small, incremental changes can have a massive effect on your overall success.
“Success is a science; if you have the conditions, you get the result.” - Oscar Wilde.
Let us help you build a better business
If you are looking for ways to improve your business, we are here to help you every step of the way!
Here at ASfB we will provide you with full business support, including managing your day-to-day bookkeeping, managing your payroll, taking care of your VAT Returns and providing you with expert business advice.
We’re not just your typical accountants either - we are growth accountants who aim to help your business reach its true potential and maximise profits.
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