Running a great small business is not easy and the failure rate is too high. These businesses fail for several reasons but it often because the owners have not thought through what they want out of the business and how they want it to operate. In the end the business is running them around, rather than them running the business. As a business coach I often get asked what the key things are required to be successful in business. While there is no silver bullet, I believe you need the following:
- A business plan.
This does not need to be a book that sits on the shelf gathering dust, a simple plan on a page in most cases will be enough. Without a plan you have no path to the future.
- Systems & Procedures.
Review how you want to operate and then document it. By having procedures and a system it ensures everyone understands when and how things need to be done. This includes customer greetings, the sales process, invoicing and debt collection. Over time as the business grows and changes refine these procedures to reflect the new operating model.
- Financial Reporting.
Understand and monitor your accounts versus your plan or budget. How can you make good business decisions without the correct financial data? Keep your accounts up to date and accurate and then use this information to make your forward business decisions.
- Cash flow.
Ensure you have enough cash to meet both your personal and business requirements. Watch inventory and debtors to ensure that too much money is not tied up in non-productive assets. Adjust your plans according to your cash flow forecasts; there is no point in planning a huge marketing program if you don’t have the funds to pay for it.
Only employ people with the right attitude and develop a professional and happy work culture. Look for people who will help you grow and be successful and don’t fall into the trap of employing people just because you like them, they must add value to the business.
- Ask for help
Don’t be afraid to ask for help from people with skills you don’t have. Actively network and talk to people about new ideas and changes in the economy or technology.
Balance your work and personal life. Keep both physically and emotionally healthy by exercising and learning new things, as soon as you stand still someone will pass you by. Ensure you are enjoying life and work which will give you the energy needed to succeed. If you are not enjoying things make changes.
Successfully running your own business is not easy it takes dedication, commitment and persistence. There are steps you can take to help you on the way to be a success.