We have discussed why it’s important to build your business on a solid foundation, but it’s equally crucial to maintain certain fundamentals throughout the life of your business. As the captain of your ship you are responsible for reaching your destination. You need to be in command as much as possible, so it’s important that you know and can apply the fundamentals of business success.
Set your compass using these 5 basics which, with the right care, will assure your small business will reach its intended harbor and be prepared for many more profitable voyages.
- Accurate Finances
It’s okay to admit if you’re not the best with numbers. If this is the case, consider investing in a professional to manage the books because it’s one of the most important components of your small business. You not only need a good accountant, you need someone who can help you interpret what the numbers mean. Access to this information will significantly improve your ability to make good business decisions. Sailing without a compass and checking status along the way will surely find you off course at some point.
- Customer Values
In the early stages of your business, it’s important that you identify who your customers are and what they want. But once you find your target, don’t stop. Every sale is an opportunity to understand a little more what matters to your customers. What products and services do they need to improve their daily lives? What expectations do they have of your business? What would they like but don’t yet have?
- Strong Crew
Don’t skimp on attention to detail when it comes to your crew. Whether your staff is large or small, ensure that you’re giving it your all from recruitment to training, incentives and promotion. Hire a staff diverse in skills and experience and foster a positive onboard experience for them to thrive in. Ask them to share their observations. Employee feedback is as important as customer feedback so be sure you’re keeping eyes and ears open at all times.
- Identifiable Brand
Your brand should have a personality that fits with your corner of the market. It should be something that resonates with your customers and becomes an identifying representation of what you offer; not just your products and services but your customer service and business values. Read our article on “How to Identify Your Brand” to gain more insight on the steps involved in brand development.
- Outside Help
The value of outside help is being able to gain an objective perspective and possible suggestions which you might not think of on your own.You can seek help at any stage of your business. Seek a “mentor” with similar business experience or a captain’s coach who can help you navigate around the shallow harbors and keep you on course. Getting help to safely sail through potential storms will minimize negative impact on your customers, employees and products. Save yourself from making avoidable mistakes by asking for help before it’s too late.
Marian Banker, MBA, trains today’s Business Captains. She works with small business owners who want to learn and practice the skill of leading a successful business.