By: First Union
How to Help Your Small Business Thrive
Small businesses have a better chance now than in recent to really make some waves, grow their client base and ultimately thrive. So what's the key? How do you take your company to that next level of success?
The Characteristics of a Successful Business Owner
As the business owner, you set the tone. Employees follow your lead. So what traits are endemic of some of the most successful business owners today…
Essentially, you have a vision, you've set goals, and you've articulated a plan for moving toward those objectives and that overarching vision. The thing about maintaining clarity in terms of your company's goals is that it's a constant; in other words, you are constantly asking yourself what success looks like to you. Are your goals still achievable? Do they need to be redefined? What will happen once you've hit a certain benchmark? The more questions you ask yourself the clearer your vision will ultimately be.
You might even write out the answers and pin them somewhere visible. This will then remind you of what your company objectives are daily.
Planning is essential to most everything in life, especially, however, to running a business. Do you set aside time to make the plans necessary to ensure the smooth operation of your business? Some questions you might ask yourself during a designated planning session:
- Is what we're doing now actually moving us toward success?
- What are the areas we need to improve upon?
- What milestones can we set to help measure our success?
- Do we have to make sacrifices in the short term to get there?
You Have Focus
Yes, everyone needs downtime—it's essential. But you also need laser-sharp focus during those professional hours. In other words, a good business owner isn't easily distracted by irrelevant things when they are otherwise concentrating on the job at hand. Are you spending hours frivolously when you should be tending to work? Are you making extra work for yourself by including plans and/or steps that are nonessential? Are your ideas relevant to your end goals and objectives?
You Maintain Connections
As a small business owner, you wear a lot of hats, you also correspondingly work a lot of hours. This sometimes is necessary, but you want to be careful of burnout.
Pay attention to your business but don't let it be your everything. Maintain those vital friends and family connections. Take time for yourself. Enjoy the occasional outings with those you love. The key is to avoid burnout. Burnout will most definitely not help you on your path to success.
The 5 keys to getting your small business to thrive.
1. Keep the Passion
Owning your own business, as has been stated time and time again, is difficult. But never lose sight of why you started that company in the first place. What was driving you? What was your passion?
There may be times when money is super tight when operations are chugging along slowly when things are just in general out of alignment. Perhaps these are the times when it is most important to think back about the inspiration for starting the business and thus reignite that passion.
To this end, you might even hire a mentor for guidance. Sometimes those outside the scope of the business have greater insight into what you're going through and can thus offer some inspirational help.
2. Spend some time away
We're not necessarily talking about vacations, more along the lines of stepping back to gain some clarity and thereby be able to have a more objective eye when it comes to the business.
You might use this time in a variety of ways…reading relevant materials, going to conferences, anything that can refresh your thought process and help you gain insights that perhaps you didn't previously have.
Always slogging through the day to day without stepping away at all is bound to obscure your vision of the company. You need some true "thought" time to help gain an enhanced perspective.
3. Don't be afraid to hire and fire
The first part can be easier than the latter. But there does come a time when an employee may not be performing as expected. Said employee's performance hurts the business and brings down productivity. Keeping that employee on is only costing you. You want a motivated and capable team aligned with your company's core values.
4. Invest money in marketing
Early on the budget is probably going to be tight. Everyday expenses tend to consume a large portion of what you have to spend, and so often, marketing goes to the wayside. However, what happens when you don't actively market? Simply put: you fail to attract customers and customers, of course, are what keep you in business.
Investing some money into marketing is a no-brainer, regardless of what stage your business happens to be in. Sales are what matter and the only way to achieve your sales goals is in fact to the market.
5. Focus on current customers
Certainly, it is exciting to get new customers, but this should not be done at the expense of the current ones. You want to ensure that the relationships you already have with customers stay strong and thus keep them coming back—and of course, referring you.
At First Union Lending we love to help small businesses thrive—this is why we do what we do. With business loan programs ranging from 5k to 10 million, we most definitely have the cash on hand to help you. Call today and let's get started!