So, you’ve had a brilliant idea for a business, or you have some fresh ideas to expand your existing venture? How are you going to realize them? How will you translate your creative thinking into revenue? How will you sustain your company, now and into the future? You need to have a plan, setting out clear goals and objectives – thinking of your customers, staff and brand every step of the way. And, of course, the all-important finances. Here are some of the things that you need to keep in mind.
Know your customers – and look after them
It doesn’t matter whether you’re just starting out with your business venture, or have been running it for some time, your customers should always be at the heart of everything you do. You need to have a profile of who you’re selling to, a clear idea of their needs and desires, and how can you satisfy their wants – judged both on quality and affordability.
If you have this clear profile, not only are you clear on who your target customer is – so will any staff you have. So, your products and services are tailored to them every step of the way, helping you to form lasting relationships that ultimately bring money into your business.
Make sure that you don’t fall into the trap of coming up with a profile and then filing it on the shelf under miscellaneous. You need to keep track of consumer behavior, how habits and budgets are changing, the trends in the market, what your competitors are offering. Ask yourself, “are we still one step ahead of the game?”
You need to keep the channels of communications open between you and your clients. You can do this by interacting regularly, offering incentives and promotions – and asking for their feedback on products and services.
Feeding the finances
Running a small business can be like feeding a monster with a never-ending hunger. Don’t throw money at your venture without having thought about the strategic benefits. If you’re lucky enough to have some start-up capital, make sure you budget where the cash is going to be spent – and stick to your goals and targets. Leave enough for cash-flow, so that if clients are behind with payments, you can keep your business going.
If you’ve already been running a company for a while now, there are lots of funding options out there to explore in terms of growing your venture: whether it’s buying in more stock, opening a store, taking on more staff, or opening up your client-base further afield. To gain the best financing options you should be building up a credit profile for your business. Take some advice from experts like North Shore Advisory.
Keep being creative
Your customers, and industry, don’t stand still. Make sure you stay ahead of your opposition by coming up with creative ways of reaching your clients – and growing your base. Review your brand image, keep your website and social media channels updated. Think of new ways to promote your products and services. Are they all working? Or should you be concentrating harder on just a few of them?
If you’ve got the budget, think about hiring in some external consultants – sales and marketing professionals, web and social media experts and the like – to bring in some fresh thinking. It could help set you on an even longer path of success!