If you don’t drive your business, you will be driven out of business.
Outside of family and friends, there is little more satisfying than having your own successful business, choosing the hours you wish to work and being rewarded directly for the work you put into each task.
In this second of 3 parts we look at Planning and Operations which lie at the heart of trading and which drive the business.
Firstly, work out what it is you do that your competitors don’t, and then capitalise on it. Make sure your USP’s are central to every action and thought process you have. Business customers will want you to increase their sales and reduce their costs for them. Non-business customers want status, popularity, pleasure, comfort. Feed their needs and think and act strategically at all times.
The Business Plan
Not again I hear you say, but yes, spend time on a good business plan. It makes you think early on and helps you to develop your business as you move along. Only one thing to add, it’s an oldie but a goody… everything costs twice as much and takes three times as long as you think it will.
Do everything possible to ensure business success. Make sure you ‘suit’ the product or service to the market. Undertake full market analysis before spending any money on advertising. Implement sound financial controls, and ensure high capability, competence and integrity from key people.
Avoid the mistakes that can lead to business failure. The top ones are, Lack of Direction (the failure to set goals), Impatience (spending too much on advertising without a proper customer base), Greed (trying to get rich quick), Poor Cost Control (conserve the cash), Poor Quality (of product or service), Insufficient Working Capital (don’t run out of money) and Insufficient Sales (selling is always the primary focus).
Fit For Purpose
Someone once said that “the purpose of a business is not to make a profit but to keep a customer”, which is interesting. In my opinion, it is both, but the point remains. Focus on the purpose of the business, the market it is in, what you want to achieve and what your business would look like if it were ideal. Profit comes from servicing a customer, in a profitable way.
And finally, whatever you do focus all energies on sales. Sell, sell, sell until your order book is bulging and only then concentrate on other things. Develop an effective sales process and deliver it every day. As a business owner, you should focus every day on sales and delegate everything else.
Successful businesses think every day about what to do to ensure success and what to do to avoid failure. Outside of this they concentrate whole heartedly on selling. In our next and concluding issue we look at Finance and Development to see how attention to both defines success and long term growth.