Owning and running a small business can be overwhelming at times. You are in charge of marketing, sales, customer relations, production, product quality, accounting, and so much more! No wonder so many businesses fail within the first few years.
We hope the following tips are helpful as you start, run, and grow your business.
1. Set Goals. It is important that you regularly set goals for yourself and your business. Goals are like your road map: they help guide your decisions to get you from where you are now to where you want to be in the future. Your goals will change over time and as you reach smaller goals you’ll need to set larger ones. Remember to re-evaluate your goals each year. Did you reach your goals? Do they still align with your company vision? Are the activities you are doing today getting you closer to reaching that goal?
2. Manage Your Time. With so many things to keep track of, it is extremely important that you learn to manage your time well. You will never run out of things to do: essentially having a business is having a never-ending to do list. Learn to prioritize what is important for each day and get that done. Learn to delegate so you have more time to take care of things others can’t. And take the time to do tip #3.
3. Establish Systems. Establishing systems can help free up your time so you can do things that are more important for you. It has been said to establish Standard Operating Procedures in such a way that if you were to die (extreme, we know), your business could still run without you, assuming you have a team in place that has been helping with day-to-day operations. If you don’t have that team in place – that may be your next step!
4. Develop Unified Branding. With so many places to be found it is important to develop a unified brand. What do we mean by this? Develop your standard logo types and only use those. Never stray from the standard. Develop a standard brand story and use that to define your business. Use the same type of language across all platforms. Make sure that no matter where someone finds your business, they recognize your brand and it is consistent.
5. Adapt to Change. Adapting to change is probably the most important thing to do in business and in life. Change is the only constant and at least we know it will happen. Make sure your business stands the test of time by adapting to new technologies, new platforms, and new ways to connect with your audience. If you struggle with this, your business may struggle with surviving. Thing of Sears, and the recent death of ToysRUs – they were large brands that didn’t think they could disappear – yet most, if not all, of their stores have closed. They failed to adapt to their competition’s use of technology – namely Amazon. Figure out a way to stay relevant and adapt to change.
BONUS: Develop Meaningful Relationships. We thought we’d throw in this bonus tip – since business is ultimately about relationships – relationships with your suppliers, your employees or internal team, and relationships with your customers. No matter what kind of business you have, when you take time to cultivate your relationships, you are providing something that we all want as humans – to connect. The more you can connect with people, the more they will come back to you or recommend your services.