Like I said in my article last week, a high percentage of startups end up in the business failure heap. Therefore, if you want to avoid being one of the statistics, take action. You didn’t start your business for it to fail. So, intentionally work on it. Plan, be organized, run it as a pro, and you will succeed.
Let’s look at some strategies you should put in place for a successful business.
Keep detailed records of your business activities
Smart business owners know the importance of keeping detailed records. This will give you a clear picture of how your business is functioning. Also, not only will you know if your business is heading for a financial downturn, but you’ll be in full control.
Another important reason why this is vital is because it’s a legal requirement. Accurate record keeping will make it easier at the end of the year when you have to prepare your accounts. In addition, it will help you keep an eye on the cash flow. Therefore, you will be aware if your business is making a profit or a loss.
Keeping records will give you clarity about the short and long-term activities. As a result, you will know when and if you need to put strategies in place to prevent business failure.
Think ahead by planning for the unexpected
Successful entrepreneurs look beyond the present and think about the future. Although you can’t predict what tomorrow brings, you can secure your business against likely recessions.
Be wise like Ford Motor Company. Do you recall the financial crash between 2008 and 2009? The reason why Ford Motors didn’t sink was because they assessed and restructured their debts. To fix the issue, they increased the funds in their cash reserve accounts. Therefore, when the recession hit hard, Ford Motors were not affected.
No business is secure against the unexpected. This could be anything from natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes or earthquakes. Other misfortunes could be a theft, bad investment or sudden governmental changes that may affect your business.
There are ways to prevent certain disasters from striking, however. Keep up to date with the latest news and evolving business developments. Put effective security measures in place to prevent thieves from breaking into your premises. And insure your business against natural disasters. Don’t invest before doing your homework first. These are some of the precautions you can put in place to prepare for the unexpected.
Look after your customers
Your customers are the lifeblood of your business. Without them, you might as well pack up and shut down. Look after them well. It’s essential to treat your existing customers like kings and queens. Why? It’s harder to get new ones, but easier to drive existing ones away, if you’re not attentive to their needs. Make them the heart of your business.
Treat them like gold dust and they will recommend you to friends and family. They will remain loyal for years and spend lots of money with you. But you must do your part and establish a strong relationship with your customers. Get to know them by carrying out constant research and surveys. Always implement their feedback, ideas and suggestions.
“Researching attitudes to your products or services will help identify problem areas as well as potential solutions,” says Richard Holden, head of franchising at Lloyds TSB. “Customer research might even highlight areas for future product development but never expect your clients to come up with all of your ideas.” Source
If you promise your customers something, keep to it. Be honest with them.
Develop a solid marketing strategy
The only way to connect with customers is to have an effective marketing strategy. First, know who your customers are and understand their needs. Nailing this will make sure your product or service is right for them. Don’t be rigid in your approach, though. Flexibility is important in the business world because customers’ needs are constantly moving. You must tune in to what they are looking for so you can sell them what they want to buy. Therefore, you have to constantly monitor and evaluate your marketing strategy to check for efficiency.
When you have all the data about your target customers’ needs, get in front of them. Advertise, use social media, write blog posts, take part in exhibitions, use public relations resources or other marketing strategies. Stick to the ones that bring in results. Show your customers why your product or services will improve their quality of life, solve their problems or address their burning desires.
Invest in marketing because that is what will bring your ideal customers to you.
“Coca-Cola may already be one of the most recognized brands in the world, but they nevertheless spend billions of dollars every year on their marketing efforts. (And you can bet they’re not doing it on a whim. They know exactly what those dollars will bring them in return.)” Source
Learn from your competitors
Don’t be afraid of your competitors. Instead of worrying about them taking away your customers, study their moves.
What can you do better than your competitors? Look at this example of creativity in action. A new car repair company went the extra mile. They used an unusual method to tempt and win customers from their competitors. After repairing their customers’ cars, they cleaned them inside and out. The final touch? They gave each woman driver a beautiful bunch of flowers. Word spread about their unique customer service. Within a few months, their business blew up.
In conclusion, your business is also an immense part of your life. Put your all into making it work. You wouldn’t risk losing your home. So why be casual about your business? At the end of the day, the success or failure of your business depends on you.