Getting a new business off the ground is no small thing. Keeping it going and creating opportunities for growth is the next challenge. In the madness of trying to keep all the balls in the air, it can be easy not to consider what you need to do to boost your success.
Here are five things certain to give your new business venture an extra boost.
- Exploit marketing opportunities
With the internet and social media so accessible, there have never been so many opportunities to market yourself and your business. Letting other people know who you are and what you do is a one-stop opportunity for increasing awareness of your business. You should ensure you are wherever your customers are likely to be, which includes a social media presence and website. Don’t overlook more traditional publicity and marketing opportunities either though.
Local newspapers may have a declining readership for their print copies but they often have a thriving online presence and many will carry a well thought out and topical press release from you if it’s delivered in a timely way. It could appear on the news pages and not even cost you a penny.
- Look after your team
If you’ve made the leap from a one-man (or woman) band to having employees, however few, now is the time to ensure you think about the working culture of your business and shape it correctly. Considering what you can do to keep your employees happy, motivated and committed will help your business thrive. Holding onto your staff reduces the disruption of needing to hire afresh as well as the time and effort of training new starters.
Depending on the size of your team, on top of the basics, you could consider an occasional incentive or treat that helps them and you. Consider hiring a motivational speaker to inspire and motivate them, offer to fund or just allow time for related learning or training or bringing in a relaxation and stress management expert/teacher. Your employees will likely be pleased with the investment into them and what they learn will help keep them healthy and making an enhanced contribution.
If you don’t have a budget, there are still steps you can take to reduce personal and workplace stress and show your team you are committed to them and their wellbeing.
- Take action on cash flow
Six out of 10 small business owners lose sleep over cash flow worries, recent research by BACS Payment Scheme found. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has some clear advice on how not to become one of them.The advice includes ensuring you:
# Have clear contract terms that layout payment terms and setting credit limits.
# Invoice on time and track payments – it sounds obvious but many small businesses fall behind on basic administration tasks and the impact can be huge. Keep a regular track of which invoices have been paid and those that are outstanding to avoid a month-end shock.
# Forecast cash flow – even small business can benefit from seeing where money is tied up and points of the month where things become tight, which also allows you to take steps to address it.
- Listen, watch and network
Of course, you’re looking to find your own unique selling point and to provide something that isn’t being offered elsewhere. So, keeping an eye on your competitors will help you to ensure you’re still achieving that and to see what’s working well for them – or otherwise. Reaching out to others who are already in the industry but not in direct competition with you is also useful – you’ll be surprised how often people are happy to help.
Customers too often have great nuggets of feedback that can shape and improve your offer as do other members of your team. Make sure the environment is right and opportunities are there for people to give you their thoughts and ideas.
- Take a step back
It can be the hardest thing to do when you are starting out and there are never enough hours in the day, but looking after yourself will help boost your business. The basic principles still apply whether you’re running a business or are an employee. You’ll be more effective if you take breaks, eat well, exercise and create space for yourself.
Getting into positive habits early on will help keep your business goals on track and keep you inspired and innovative.
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