What makes the difference between a successful small business that keeps evolving with the times, and a stagnant small business that withers and dies?
To answer that question look at what successful small business owners have in common and the answer becomes clear. Small business owners habitually practice the following ten things that not only creates success but takes them to the next level in their business endeavor.
What Habits Do Successful Small Business Owners Have In Common?
1) Automate Tactically — Successful business owners use technology to advance their business strategy. Automation can increase business productivity exponentially. Today, no matter what kind of small business you have, from an online services business to a small bricks and mortar business technology provides numerous means to automation. Using customer service apps is a good example of automation that will improve productivity and sales.
2) Communicate Effectively — The most important tool any business owner has at his or her disposal is communication. Everything we do revolves around communication, whether with customers or with employees and contractors. It’s important to be able to communicate both ways whether it’s talking to a potential client, a current client, serving customers, marketing your business, networking, or collaborating with employees and / or contractors.
3) Delegate Smartly — The way you delegate smartly is by knowing what you’re delegating, what you expect the receivables to be, how you’ll identify success, and the ability to document and measure the results every step of the way. It’s very important that you leverage your efficiencies when you delegate. If you can delegate something to someone who can do it faster, better and cheaper, then you’ll be better off.
4) Hire Top Notch Personnel — Bringing awesome people to your team is a top priority for successful business owners. Ironically, the way you hire the best employees is by being an awesome employer. It doesn’t matter if you hire actual employees or contractors, if you are a good business to work for, talent will naturally be attracted to you. Additionally, pay people a fair wage, offer incredible benefits, and a terrific work environment with an open-door communication policy.
5) Market Continuously – Small businesses often have a tendency to stop marketing functions when they are overwhelmed with their current client load. But, this is a huge mistake. All businesses should always keep marketing. There are two purposes to marketing, one is to get more customers, but the other is to establish your brand. Marketing also involves: Marketing Research, Marketing Strategy, Target Marketing, Marketing Mix, and Marketing Performance. These should be practiced throughout the business cycle.
6) Measure Results Accurately — With anything you do in and for your business it is important to measure results, and measure them accurately. The way you do this is to know what you expected before you started, so you know what constitutes success vs. failure. Plus, of course, you’re going to have to have a mechanism in place to collect metrics to study them. Thankfully, today we have so many cloud based software solutions at our fingertips that small businesses can compete with big business like never before, while staying lean.
7) Organize Efficiently — Most people work better when everything is organized in an efficient manner that allows the maximum amount of work to be completed in the shortest amount of time. If you’re constantly sorting through emails, and your computer for files, and wasting time on simple tasks due to lack of organization it will be hard to move to that next level. Having processes in place for each aspect of your business is imperative.
8) Outsource Strategically — Whether you have 100 employees or are a business of one, it is possible to outsource many aspects of your business which can save money on infrastructure and personnel. It’s important to pick and choose what you’ll do in-house, and what you’ll outsource, and it’s important not to lose control of your core values when you do it. Remember, outsourcing doesn’t always mean hiring offshore labor for pennies. Sometimes it means hire a highly educated and valuable team member on a contract basis that your company might not be able to afford in-house full-time.
9) Plan Intelligently — All managers have to plan, but you can’t create a plan for a business without all the other factors in place that allow for good decision-making. In business to plan intelligently you need to gather information, know your goals, create strategies, and then implement the plan based on that information. Finally you must always monitor the plan and evaluate whether or not the plan is working and always be willing to change factors if it’s not working.
10) Educate Always — Good business owners and managers always continue to educate themselves about every aspect of their business, their market and factors that affect each on a daily basis. Additionally, they offer top-notch education and training opportunities to their staff and contractors. Having a foot in learning will enable the business to be ahead of the game when it comes to technology and new innovations.
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