You’re working hard to be your own boss but sometimes it’s difficult to plan for tomorrow when you are busy trying to get through today. “Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other,” wrote American author Walter Elliott.
While starting and running a new business can seem intimidating, here’s some good news. Over two-thirds of new businesses survive their first two years and over half make it past five years.
Most successful small business owners rely on more than perseverance. They have core principles that guide their actions and allow them to strategize for the future. Here are a few you should consider – and implementing them is easier than you think.
Plan Ahead for a Stronger Business Future
Companies that develop plans grow faster than those that don’t. Planning for your business’s future begins by creating strategies for success. Here are a few to get you started:
Write a mission statement to define your current focus.
This valuable tool captures your business’s goals and objectives in a few short sentences. The statement should touch on key areas of your business, including your purpose, customer value, market position, products and services, pricing, competition, employees and growth potential. Creating a mission statement enhances your focus on these core elements and conveys to customers, employees, suppliers and the community what your business is all about.
Write a vision statement to describe your long-term strategy.
This statement is the foundation of your strategic plan. It should be a few sentences about what you want to achieve and gives purpose to your company, describing a unique customer outcome that only you can provide. Your vision should be ambitious enough so that it is motivational yet realistically achievable. It should also align with your company values so that you and your employees know what you are working toward every day.
Determine your budget and carefully track your financials.
The most common reason that small businesses fail is a lack of funding or working capital. To keep your company financially sound, carefully review your operational costs (funds for payroll, rent, utilities and vendors) as compared to corporate revenue (funds generated from product and service sales). Finding a balance between monthly expenditures versus monthly earnings will allow you to develop a budget to keep your business financially strong.
Find a trusted financial advisor, practice controlled growth and reinvest in your business.
A good financial advisor will bring an experienced perspective to your business, help you create a sound budget and lead you toward financial stability. Once your business begins to see profits, it is important to reinvest a percentage of these funds in your business so that it continues to grow. Work with your financial advisor to determine realistic growth goals to help your business expand at a comfortable, controlled rate.
Gather input from your support network.
As a small business owner, you’re never truly alone in your venture. It’s important to have support and input from family, friends and trusted partners. Help them understand your goals and vision for your company. In turn, they will provide encouragement and perspectives that can help you make the most of your small business experience and find a work-life balance that brings personal and professional satisfaction.
Stay True to Your Entrepreneurial Spirit
As an entrepreneur, you have the vision to believe that anything is possible and the tenacity to make things happen. The same outlook, drive and inspiration that led you to small business ownership are the characteristics that will keep you and your company successful. You think differently and do things your own way – continue to use this to your advantage.
Build a team that reflects your brand’s core values. Surround yourself with people that clearly understand your corporate mission and vision yet aren’t afraid to contribute their own thinking and direction to strengthen your organization. Set goals and objectives and carefully track them each month to ensure your company stays on a positive course.
Keep in Touch With Technology
Digital marketing can reach a large audience in a cost-effective, measurable way and help your customers find your business. Nearly 90 percent of online searches for local businesses lead to a call or visit to the business within 24 hours. Use online marketing to affordably grow your business. Technology makes it easy to build a website that reflects your brand and connects with customers.
Once you have a website, refresh your site content often to keep your business prominent in online search directories and attract more customers. Secure eCommerce sales options increase your revenue, and you can quickly and easily monitor your digital marketing progress with online analytics tools to evaluate what is working best and plan accordingly.
Focus On Customer Service
Your customers are the focus of your business and all of your actions should be inspired by serving them. You should focus on developing a small business customer service plan that easily and clearly solves their challenges with unique solutions that set you apart from the competition. And you can attract more business and enhance customer relationships with social media campaigns.
Always be responsive to customer questions and comments. This input will help you learn more about what your customers want most so you can build stronger customer connections.
Business principles provide you and your employees with guidance for everyday tasks and inspiration to plan for the future. Most importantly, they help to enhance your customer relationships by establishing your company as the solution to their problems and amplifying the strengths of your brand.
After partnering with over 3 million small businesses, Web.com has the expertise and resources to guide you on your journey. Let us know how we can help.