oOver 500,000 new businesses were born in 2013, over 50% of those businesses failed within the first year, and over 95% will fail within the first 5 years. It’s safe to say, being successful in business is tough. These days, small businesses need to go to the extra mile to achieve success in the current economic climate, so we’ve put together 10 steps for success!
1. Plan your route
If your business was a flower, your business plan would be the soil. The plan needs to be overflowing with creative ideas, a handful of achievable goals and a clear spread of data that allows you to see both how and when your business will hit its targets, so long as your plan is successful. We also recommend that you keep your route to success as concise as possible – the best business plans are the ones that leave out unnecessary information. Finally, visually appealing data can really breathe new life into a business plan, so try and include graphs, tables, and charts, where possible!
2. Don’t hang about
Many business owners have an unhealthy habit of spending too long on planning their actions, to the point where, by the time they are actually ready to put their plan into action, they have already waited too long. Remember, preparing to move forwards isn’t the same as moving forwards. Taking action is what counts, and this must happen as soon as you know what needs to occur for you to hit your targets.
3. Be social
Every day, thousands of small business are putting their business on social media platforms.
It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, almost any business can benefit from a well-maintained social media account. When managing a social media account, you must make sure you are: a) genuine; b) engaging; and c) enthusiastic about your product/market. Don’t shout about yourself too much and use any interactions as a chance to showcase an exceptional level of customer service.
A blog can provide your business with an infinite amount of space for you to shout about updates with your business, in detail. It also gives your customers the opportunity to check your site for updates, whenever they want, rather than having to rely on you telling them, which can mean great things for your website’s SEO. Draw inspiration for posts from anything that is relevant to your business, be it a summary of trends in your industry or even just your thoughts on an interesting article you’ve come across.
5. Spread the work
Delegation is an essential part of business management, whether your business has one employee or one hundred. Whilst it may be tempting to keep all the top priority work for yourself, spreading work across the relevant departments of your business is essential for achieving real growth, and will keep you from slipping into the potentially harmful bottleneck job role. If you’re a lone ranger, running the business by yourself, assess your strengths and evaluate whether or not certain tasks would benefit from assistance from an outside source. If you’re great with PR but struggle with your book-keeping, why not get in touch with a PA who can get the job done professionally? This way, you’ll have more time to focus on channeling your strengths into your business.
6. Optimise your communications
It doesn’t matter what type of business you’re operating, communication with people outside of your company is essential for success. Get into the mindset of your clients and assess whether or not your company emails, letters or phone calls are as professional as they can be. Sprucing up how your business communicates can be a quick and easy way of transforming your company, through the customer’s eyes. We recommend creating a custom email signature, marking all sent documents with a trademarked company template and designing a scripted greeting for phone calls. These changes can happen in less than an hour, and yet they will consistently promote your business in the most professional light possible.
7. Step out of your comfort zone
The only way to keep growing is to step outside of your comfort zone on a regular basis! We believe that there is a direct correlation between and individual’s personal growth and their business’s growth. Knowledge is power, so strive to learn new things that you might not have fully understood before and doors will open for you!
8. Connect with the best
If you’re yet to enter the world of B2B networking, now is the right time to start. Networking provides an opportunity to make valuable business connections in your area, which can often be a source for new business or even the formation of partnerships! Before heading to a networking event, however, you must do your research. Try and find the list of who will be attending, identify who you’d most benefit from a conversation with and make sure you speak to them! Every connection is valuable, so get the contact information of everyone you connect with, because you never know who you’ll need to get in touch with a little further down the line.
9. Be the best: Test!
Before you throw all of your eggs into one basket, make sure that the basket is safe to move forward with. Before embarking on a marketing or advertising campaign, give it a small-scale trial run and analyse the results that come back to you. If your trial is successful – great! You’re good to go ahead and scale the trial run to a bigger audience. If it’s not so successful, don’t worry about it! You now have an opportunity to identify what is letting your campaign down and you can take actions to fix it.
10. Celebrate success
Most businesses don’t celebrate the small things, but celebrating these little wins helps keep morale up and incentivises you to reach your goals. Celebrating success doesn’t always have to come in the form of cakes, streamers and a round of drinks, though – how about putting your feet up and watching that film you’ve been meaning to see for ages? If you have employees, taking small actions to display recognition of great work can work wonders for your team!
At Passport 2 Success, we can only provide you with the tools for success – it’s up to you to get out there and start using them. This isn’t a Pick ‘n’ Mix, every step counts, so implement each of these 10 steps into how you run your business and real success will not be far away.