In today's business world, you have to be on top of your game to remain competitive, attract new customers and make it through hard times. While every business is different in how they operate, there are some tried and true things you can do to improve your business as a whole and position yourself better to succeed. Here are 3 things you can do to improve your business and the business world overall.
1. Develop a Business Plan
This is the nuts and bolts of your operation. A strategic business plan is the blueprint upon which your company is built. This includes things like the business concept, the mission and the overall philosophy. You'll want to include an organizational structure that houses notes on how to accomplish all of your procedures and policies and that can be referred back to by employees if they have questions on responsibilities and discipline. You'll also want to make sure you have an organization of meetings and accountability check points so that you can track your progress and make sure that you and your business are heading in the right direction.
2. Be Aware of Cash Flow
One of the biggest things that can crash a small business early on is growing too fast! Without the right measures in place to adjust for growth (or a decline in revenue), you may go out of business as fast as you started. If you can be disciplined in managing your cash flow and personal finances, you can find business success. You don't have to have tons of capital to get a business off the ground, but you do have to be smart with the money you do have. One way you can help with cash flow is to be smart about your expenses. You can be lean and still have lots of culture perks. Many businesses run into the issue of splurging on "company culture" costs to appear as cool as other competitors. Culture is built with people and processes, not with purchases. For instance, if you have fleet vehicles given out to employees of your company, be smart about how you structure your leases and loans and make sure you get the best auto loan rates you possibly can by getting reliable cars that aren't too flashy. Also, rather than investing in that VR golf simulator, instead focus on getting your employees better work equipment that makes their jobs easier, morale higher and increases efficiency. Other ways to ensure a positive cash flow include things like always watching your inventory levels, trying to increase the rate of collecting on your accounts receivables and extending out your payables schedule. Even just a few tweaks here and there can make a huge difference in the long run. This is one part of your business you should be adjusting and monitoring closely quite often.
3. Create a Brand Style
Almost as important as the fundamental processes, budgets and systems your business runs on is the brand that you create. Without a brand style that sets you apart from competitors and gives you personality, life and an identity, you'll get lost in the sea of thousands of other businesses offering similar products and services to yours. Ultimately, people want to connect with a brand and feel like they have similar interests, beliefs and morals. When there is an emotional connection to your brand, it builds loyalty. Superior products and services help to develop a reputation for excellence, but your product descriptions, blog posts, web pages and customer service communication are what make people really remember you. One of the easiest ways to build brand culture is just to inject more of yourself into it. What are your ideals? What are you passionate about? Many companies go through a long discovery process with their teams to find out what their "core values" are and then let those values govern their business. Once you have a core value compass set up, make sure you let your potential customers know all about it. Put it on your "About Us" page, make videos highlighting how those values are implemented in your work processes and give interviews to bring attention to what makes you tick, not just what you do.
These are just a few of the ways you can improve your business. As you go through a process of trial and error while running your business, you're sure to create a list of your own company-specific ways you can continue to improve in the future.