While starting a business is hard work, requiring careful planning, working out of profit and loss projections and profitability estimates, and the judicious begging of funds from bank managers, keeping the business going is a challenge of a different sort. If you want to keep your business growing smoothly, there are several points that you must take into account for 2014.
Always have a business plan, whether you want to grow the business, maintain it at its current level or expand in a new direction. Write down your ambitions and hopes, much as you would have done when first starting the business.
Use this plan to appeal to your bank manager for fresh funding if necessary and make sure that all your employees know and understand the direction in which you are hoping to take the business. Stick to the plan as closely as possible throughout the year, focussing closely on the next target or goal. Finally, make sure that you keep the printed plan in the office, somewhere in plain sight to constantly remind you of what you need to be working towards.
Web and Social Media Presence
If you haven’t got one yet, get one now! Every company, no matter how big or small, should have some representation on the web. Join social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, start a blog or run a company website which you update regularly. It does not matter if you do not think you are a poor writer, as you can hire ghost-bloggers to provide you with 300 to 500 words per day – or 1,000 words per week for a weekly post.
Your website should be the best possible quality, hosted by a powerful server and updated often so as not to fall foul of Google’s new strict Penguin and Panda criteria. Most people, nowadays, look for companies and businesses online, and feel mistrustful of those that are not visible, often eschewing one business for another with a strong Internet presence.
Every business owner or manager should always know the company’s financial position. If you are expanding and growing, you should know exactly how much you are borrowing and have a clear repayment plan, with contingency plans for potential setbacks or failures should the new line of business fail or do less well than expected. Do not ever overextend yourself and pray that all will be well – planning is everything!
Hire and Delegate
As your business grows, it is hard to learn to delegate tasks. You may feel that the company is your baby and as you want to maintain the same high standards that you have always used you do not believe that any mere employee can do as good a job as you. However, you must learn to hand over, for example, reception and secretarial duties or hire a salesperson or two so that you are free to chase new business, find new premises and source adequate funding for your updated business plan.
Upgrade as Appropriate
While it can be tempting – and foolhardy – to update equipment every few months, so as to stay on the cutting edge of industry innovation, this can be an expensive process. However, NOT upgrading periodically is equally foolish as your competition will be more efficient and cost-effective at the same task.
Make sure that your equipment is the best that you can afford, and make it last two to three years before replacing it. With modern technology revolutionising the way we all work keep an eye on the app market – there may be one or two offerings that can actually help your business along.
Finally, do not be afraid to celebrate your successes: congratulate your employees and give out bonuses when appropriate and you will breed loyalty and pride in their work. Allowing the staff to ‘tick the box’ on a successful project with some ceremony, will give you all the energy needed for the next step.
- Image courtesy of MyBlogGuest
[box_light]Keith Barrett writes for www.totalfranchise.co.uk about the benefits of thinking about business planning. By outlining a strategy and then implementing it effectively, it’s often possible to make substantial improvements.[/box_light]