The rate of people starting a business continues to grow, despite the gloomy outlook portrayed by the media. A large number of those will fail in their first year of trading, so how can you avoid becoming one of those statistics? This article gives you some tips to help you on your way.
Keep track of the figures
It is vital as a small business that you know your numbers. Not only how much you have taken in sales, but how much is profit. Turnover is not as important as profitability if you want a sustainable business.
There will never be growth if you do not have targets to work towards. If you employ staff, you will get more from them if they are challenged. If you work alone, targets help you focus.
Sales targets might cover:
A basic percentage increase
A particular customer group or postcode area
A specific product range
Perhaps even a desired supplier.
On the back of targets, rewards are a good idea to keep momentum going. It might be monetary, or if you work for yourself, even a weekend off. People need some sort of recognition for a job well done. Perhaps an employee finds cheap couriers in the UK – use one to send them a gift at home.
Know your field
Keep abreast of current trends, locally, nationally, even internationally. Not only will you sound knowledgeable when dealing with customers, but you’ll be better placed to predict how your business will fare and source ideas to diversify.
Read industry press
Follow relevant blogs
Talk to competitors and other in your industry.
Keep your enemies close!
There are few fields where you will have a monopoly. Monitor the competition, learn their strengths and weaknesses and that could show you where to focus your business. Get to know them if they’re successful, they’ll be trying to get to know you, too!
Plan your marketing
Your marketing budget should be protected at all costs! When times get tough, don’t cut your marketing do more. How else will people know about your business and promotions? It is very easy to see the marketing budget as an obvious place to try and make some cost savings, but when sales are not forthcoming, it should be the opposite; if you do not win more custom now, there will be no-one around to buy your service/product.
Don’t learn, outsource
As a small business owner, you will have a particular skill or a brilliant idea. It is unlikely that you will be skilled in every aspect of running a business (marketing, finance, sales etc) because people tend to be either creative or technical, for example. Rather than learning a new skill and perhaps squeezing a square peg into a round hole, outsource a skilled person. Perhaps you need a book-keeper or sales team. You could save yourself stress and money.
Jennifer writes regularly on business-related topics for various websites and blogs. She runs a manufacturing company employing only seven staff. Using cheap couriers UKfollow meant that she can spend more on raw materials and is expecting to grow sales by 10+% this year.