You have taken the plunge and started running your own business. It is an exciting time and there’s so much to take on board, isn’t there? You are no doubt working really hard, but are you expending all of your efforts on the right things? Well, today we are sharing 8 things to consider when you’re building your business, so do ensure that you tick these off.
Remain true to your original vision
When you first came up with your idea for a business, you probably spent some time shaping it and fine tuning all of the details. You were very clear on what you wanted to achieve and your mission and values.
Over time, it can be easy to be steered in different directions or to lose your original focus. Compromises need to be made, others offer their opinions, markets can shift. Whilst it is absolutely true that you need to react to all of this and make changes as you develop, you need to always remain true to your original vision.
The details can change, your suppliers might vary, the processes that you employ might need to alter, but your reason for being in business, the values that you attach to it, they need to stay the same. They are at the heart of your business, so do make the time to revisit them whenever you feel you are losing your way or suspect that you might be going off track. It will sharpen the focus for you once more.
Get the branding right
This one is an area that is worth investing the time and money in at the outset to get it right.
If at all possible, work closely with a designer around your branding. You need to convey to them all that your business is and what it can offer to potential customers, and they need to be able to encapsulate and communicate that in your branding.
Branding tends to be instantly recognisable, it should stand out from competitors and it should say something to your clients. It also needs to be consistently used across all of your business. Think about your signs, packaging, instore space, stationery, web design and social media platforms, and ensure that your branding is strong across all of these mediums.
Is seems so obvious, doesn’t it? You only want the best people in your team, representing your business. But sometimes we rush this stage and end up giving ourselves a real headache.
However much you can see that your business is ready to expand and take on more staff, it is also worth taking that extra bit of time to ensure that you take only the right team member on. Thoroughly discuss their experience and make sure that their work ethos fits within your existing team. Hold a round of second interviews if you are at all unsure, and if you are still hesitating then you should probably walk away from that candidate.
Encourage flexible working for your team
Speaking of your team, it is worth encouraging flexible working. They will definiely thank you for it.
With busy work and home lives, flexible working is becoming increasingly popular and is appreciated by employees. The ability to work longer or shorter hours on certain days or work from home once or twice a week can make a huge difference to how some people manage their lives and can increase their productivity.
There are so many ways to make this manageable for you nowadays. Along with cell phones and laptops, you can schedule and communicate easily with your employees through apps such as Sling Scheduling or hold Skype meetings when they are away from the office.
Develop your reputation
Your reputation as a business means so much, do not overlook this key area. You will be working so hard to deliver a great service that sometimes you won’t take the time to stop and look at how well it has been received.
Allow time to explore what people have been saying about your brand to ensure that it is positive. Talk to your customers directly and gather their feedback. This is a great way to find out whether mistakes have been made and it gives you the chance to put them right for that customer and future customers. This should enhance your reputation, if people see that you always seek to address any shortfalls in performance.
You will also want to check out any online reviews and feedback. People often talk about companies that they have used online and these can be very powerful places for building up your reputation. Trusted review sites can carry a lot of weight, so ensure that you have a presence there and understand and respond to any feedback left.
Your administrative responsibilities
We know that this is probably the area that least excites you about your business, but it is something that you must give your attention to as it really needs to be accurate.
Every business needs to keep complete records of all incomings and outgoings, sales and turnover. It can be worth investing in some accounting software to take care of most of this for you and then remember to update it regularly so that it does not become an onerous task.
Make sure that you are aware of your full tax and bookkeeping obligations and ensure that you adhere to all of the regulations from day one.
Put the right technology in place
Getting the right technology for your business can be expensive but this is an investment that is worth making as you will need it to be reliable for you. Whilst cheaper versions might appear to be the more cost effective option initially, their lack of reliability and their downtime can actually end up costing you more in the long term.
Bite the bullet and get what you need at the outset to deliver the right level of service as this will ensure that you are getting those good customer reviews and recommendations from the beginning, rather than having glitchy technology letting you down, and in turn, the customers. You could lose valuable sales through it and your reputation is bound to suffer. You might also have problems with staff morale if they feel they don’t have the right tools to do their jobs effectively.
Work out exactly what you need to run effectively and get that technology in place from the start.
Enjoy your customers
It can be so easy to overlook this one. You are working so hard to deliver to your customers that you can forget to actually enjoy them.
The chances are that your customers were top of your list when you started working out your business idea, and then you probably spent time chatting to potential customers carrying out some market research. You then shaped your offering to best suit your customers and you now work day in day out to make them happy. They are what your business is about, and yet do you find any time to enjoy them?
Even if it is just for ten minutes a day, take the time to go to the front of house and chat with your customers. Call a couple up and talk to them about their most recent experience with you. Interact with them on social media and have some fun with them. They are the reason that you are in business and they are the ones that can ensure that you keep thriving. Take the time to build up a relationship with them and you will also feel so much happier at the end of the day if you can bask in the glow of customer satisfaction. This is why you do what you do, so enjoy it.
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