Top 10 Ways to Improve your Small Business
Courtesy of http://www.bizmanualz.com
If you are in small business long enough you will learn a few things about running a business. Over the years I have run a few businesses and have found 10 ways to improve any small business. Some of it may sound like common sense but unless it happens to you, you may not be thinking about it much.
First on the list is…
- Improve your accounting data. Cash is the lifeblood of any business. Start improving your business by understanding your cash flows. What products generate most of your profits and therefore your cash? Develop daily, monthly and yearly accounting forecasts. Ensure your data is timely and available in real time so you can respond to changes quickly. Charting your data is one of the seven quality tools. Consider charting your data to look for trends and then take action on those trends.
- Price your products and services more appropriately. Pricing is not easy. Whole books are produced on pricing products. But there are some simple rules of thumb. Raise prices on your high quality items and lower prices on your low quality items. The idea is to focus on customer value not your cost of production. If your items are high quality then say it with your price. Don’t be afraid to raise your prices on those items that your customers really like and lower prices on the items they don’t like. If you are not sure what your customers value, then ask them and they will tell you.
- Hire the “right” people. Focus your employee hiring process on hiring great attitudes not personalities. Great people are performers that demonstrate results. Look past skills on a resume and look for great accomplishments. Remember, good is the enemy of great so hire great people not people that are good enough.
- Fire the “wrong” people. If you have made a mistake then don’t be afraid to fire someone that is not working out. If it’s not working out you will know it in the first 90 days, so end it now. Don’t wait for improvement in your finances or their attitude. Firing should be done sooner rather than later. Nobody likes to do fire others, but your business health is more important.
- Develop standards. Products have requirements and so does your business. Define what “great” is for every job or process that is critical to your business. Start with a process map and then create policies and proceduresfor each job or process and use them. Benchmark your competition and set a higher standard for yourself.
- Implement controls. Controls start with clearly defined objectives for every job or process that link back to your accounting system and the forecast. Take time to understand what can go wrong and work to prevent it from happening. Develop warning flags to indicate when things are going wrong.
- Focus. A working management strategy requires focus. Focus on the one thing that will make you great. Budget your resources to grow your star opportunities and starve your problem poor performers. Basically, get everything out of the way of your star opportunities.
- Improve your sales process. Sales is a contact sport so make sure you are getting out in front of your customers often. Build relationships with customers so they buy again, and again. If your revenues are not growing then you are not selling.
- Understand your marketplace better. The marketplace is not static so expect it to change. Understand what’s changing in your marketplace and either change with it or be changed by it. Pay attention to what your marketplace needs and give it to them before your competition does.
- Build a strong brand. Your brand leads the business. A filing brand leads to a failing business Marketing, vision and strategy are key elements of building a strong brand. Once your brand is built, maintain your brand and what it means by following the other nine points above. Don’t let your brand suffer or else your business will suffer too.
There you have it. 10 ways to improve your business for the new year. Don’t delay. Get started today by orderingpolicies and procedures in MS-Word templates.
Top Ten Ways to Improve Your Small Business
- Improve your accounting data.
- Pricing your products and services more appropriately.
- Hiring the “right” people.
- Fire the “wrong” people.
- Develop standards.
- Implement controls.
- Improve your sales process
- Build a strong brand.
- Understand your marketplace better.