Consistent improvements to enhance your small business are critical for its success and sustainability. Things like monitoring cash flow consistently, utilizing social media for marketing, and recognizing your strengths while asking for help in areas that are less so can help you focus on improving areas of your business that offer the biggest gain.
Sometimes it's a good idea to keep a checklist handy to remind yourself of the basic steps you need to take on a regular basis.
1. Keep Financial Score
Few small businesses have an accurate idea of the daily, weekly, and monthly numbers and financial trends taking place within the organization. It's vital that you spend the necessary time keeping current on cash flow. If you lack the financial skills, hire an accountant, but still stay very much in the loop.
2. Set Goals
Similar to keeping score, setting goals and objectives is an essential part of your business success. Use the goals you set as an ongoing planning tool to ensure that you continue to move forward with your small business. For instance, try to increase traffic by a certain amount on your business website or blog. More web traffic can translate into added sales or customer loyalty.
3. Use High-Impact Marketing
Wasting money on ineffective marketing is easy. Seek out low-budget, high-impact marketing strategies to improve your small business. Test one or two new tactics and see which perform best before adding them to your marketing mix. Social media is an excellent low-cost and low-risk way to promote your business. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are a few good tools to build a social presence and attract attention to your business.
4. Master Business Presentations
A powerful business presentation can help improve your small business' performance. Start by learning the essentials of a memorable business presentation. These can include delivering an unexpected little pearl of wisdom to captivate your audience. That said, don't overload your presentation with information. Keep everything relevant.
5. Monitor Trends
No business operates in a vacuum. Events and changes in the global landscape have an effect on your business. Stay current on trends and issues happening in your industry and local community. Even things that don't seem relevant on the surface might have an impact on what you do, so consider all possibilities.
6. Sharpen Your Selling Skills
A high-return area for business improvement is the sales function. Whether you're a one-person operation or managing a sales team, you must focus on sales improvement. To start, clarify your business mission. When you determine areas where you excel and who needs what you do, you will have a greater sense of vision and purpose.
7. Find Best Practices
Keeping everything transparent is an important underpinning. That means breaking down silos, communicating effectively, testing, and monitoring and approving your processes in order to keep everything running smoothly. Another example is documenting your processes to avoid any miscommunication.
8. Motivate Staff
Talented and motivated staff members can bring on big improvements in business. Learn what motivates your employees to higher levels of performance. Part of this is being willing to listen to input and insight from everyone on staff, regardless of position or seniority. Some of the best ideas come from those closest to certain problems.
9. Know Your Limits
Successful business owners have a clear idea of their limitations. By knowing your entrepreneurial personality type, you can manage your resources and find help in areas of weakness. This is a key driver to success. For example, if you're great at sales but less experienced with bookkeeping, focus on sales and hire someone else to handle the books.
10. Take a Break
Running a small business is hard work. Sometimes the best way to improve your business and reignite your passion is to take a vacation. Don't underestimate the potential value of spending some time away from your work.