How To Grow A Successful Small Business
Many people start their own business in order to be independent and to do their work their way, others are passionate creators who love what they do and want to do it for others, and yet others are legacy builders who want to bring something new to the world.
But whatever the reason for starting a business, building a successful business is dependent on established principles.
It is how you balance all of these principles, so that all of them exist in your business, and then what emphasis you place on some of them to get you what you want.
The cold hard truth is that you can’t grow a successful business by relying on your knowledge of how to do things, or your passion, or the value of what you bring to the world. All of these, on their own, will not build your successful business.
There are six of these established, business success factors.
All businesses must have them in the business. They are: –
- Leadership (not management)
- Effective planning and implementation of plans
- Focused Marketing
- Pursuing customer satisfaction (not just customer service)
- Efficiency in all your operational and administrative systems
- Mastering your finance
I have written a short e-Book about these principles, called The Six Business Success Factors – The Small Business Owner’s Growth Guide.
Many people build very good businesses, but they may not be fulfilled because there’s something missing.
Successful business owners have made sure that they have built these principles into the structure of their business.
Effective leadership is where it starts.
Now, note that by that, I do not mean good management.
Management is about how you put things together that work, that don’t clash and that creates efficiency in your business – but more of that when I discuss the fifth business success factor below.
No, leadership is about how you decide what is the way forward and how you point the way – to your people, to your customers, in your industry, for your product. Leadership builds brands.
To build your successful business, you need to find opportunities to take you away from the grind, so that you can look further forward. It is about effective delegation and inspiring others to work for your purpose, so it means understanding what the purpose of your business is, what it is driving to achieve.
A business without leadership, where the owner is a good, honest hard worker, may not fail, but it will not be *that* successful business you can be proud of in any company. Working hard in your business might be fulfilling, but it does not create the opportunity for true success and the real achievement of your life’s goals. Having good technical knowledge to produce your product or service is only part of the story – in the other parts you need to satisfy customer needs and sell, and you need to make an efficient profit worth your knowledge and hard work.
With strong leadership, you need to instigate effective planning processes.
Of the small businesses that fail, ultimately they had no plan.
Every business, including the smallest of micro-businesses, must have a plan and effective planning processes.
This means being clear what the “purpose” of being in business is – which in most small businesses, is a case of knowing what your purpose is, why you started the business.
This is important so that you know what drives you to succeed, and therefore what success means.
Then, that allows you to derive the vision for what your successful business will look like, which in turn shows you what you must do to build those indicators of success that you describe in your vision.
This allows you to write your long-term plan which cascades into your short-term or even annual plan so that you know what you are working to achieve, and then how to do it.
But of course, the Practice of Planning is more involved than that, it means that you need to have effective planning processes so that you can use those processes for the smallest things – how to complete a project or how to launch a new product.
Once you know where you are going, you know what your products do for the customer – then you can logically put together your marketing strategy.
Let’s face it, despite the strongest Purpose and Plans, your business will survive only by building your revenue.
In order to sustainably grow your revenue, you need to implement marketing strategies.
Marketing strategies are not the art of those creative types – it is a simple, logical series of steps.
Once you know your purpose and vision and you have a plan to get there, it logically flows that you can find who is the ideal customer to sell to in order to attain your vision and purpose.
You can then understand what your product or service means to them, which of their problems does it solve for them. The logic means that you can then design the right messages to press their hot “needs” buttons and work out how to best deliver those messages.
Effective marketing plans find leads, get them to know and like you, then convert them to interested qualified leads and ultimately to trust you and become customers.
Then comes the Pursuit of Customer Fulfilment.
This is not merely “customer service” or even “customer satisfaction.”
It is a more global concept with the objective to keep the customer liking and trusting you. It is not just a system, it is a pursuit of the goal of making the customer feel fulfilled.
Customer fulfilment is about a total customer experience starting from contact that consistently delivers more than what they expected and consistently delights rather than satisfies.
In order to establish a global customer fulfilment system, you need to organise all aspects of your business – including those parts that are not customer-facing like stores or administration – so that every aspect of work in your business is aligned with making the customer delighted.
Over-arching these business-building principles, you need to attain Operational Efficiency in the business so that everything works perfectly.
This means that all the moving parts must work in the most efficient way possible.
To get to this stage, you need to attract the right people to work for you and to train them to your strategic objectives and pursuit of customer fulfilment. In doing so you need to implement clear policies and procedures about how they do their work, and how they achieve the goals of their roles.
Operational efficiency is the backbone of any successful business. You need the systems to deliver on your promises.
Finally, it is ultimately about money and how you are the master of your finances.
You need to grow your profit in order to attain whatever vision you have set. The first five business success factors are aligned to achieving this.
However, in order to be the Master of your Finances, you do need to understand and manage your financial resources.
At the most basic level, you need to understand what your financial reports say – and that means creating a focus on preparing timely and regular financial reports from your financial system.
You need to understand what the Key Financial Indicators are in your business and understand what your numbers tell you about your performance.
I have written an explanation of The Six Business Success Factors and a Roadmap you can follow to implement them in your small business.
You can get your free copy of “The Six Business Success Factors – A Small Business Growth Guide” here. It provides a detailed explanation of each of the Success Factors, a simple audit checklist of where you stand in each of these Success Factors, and a Roadmap of Strategies to Adopt if you need to improve in any of these Six Business Success Factors.
Click on this link to obtain your free download – you will need to give me your email for me to send it to you, but I promise not to send spam (I hate that!) and you can unsubscribe at any time.
See you on the other side!
Cover photo by Samson on Unsplash
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