Many people go into business without any plan at all. The old saying that "if you don"t have a plan you won"t know when you"ve got there" still holds true today. You need to set up a business plan and that plan will contain other subsidiary plans such as a marketing plan, a finance plan, a sales plan, etc.
If you have a business idea and you are looking at developing that into your business, then be prepared to change and be flexible. Sometimes the original idea needs some fine-tuning before it becomes commercially viable and profitable for you. By all means stay with your dreams, vision and ideas, but be flexible and allow yourself the luxury of discussing those ideas with professional advisers, as well as those who have already done it before.
Make sure you know your customers
Every business must have customers. If you don"t have customers you won"t have sales. If you don"t have sales, you won"t have profits. If you don"t have profits you won"t have a business. Make sure you are aware of your customers as well as your competitors. You need to know your customer"s preferences, as to the services you can provide. Unless you know your customers well, it is difficult for you to know what to supply.
You need to know what their requirements are. You need to find a bit more about their buying patterns and you need to be aware of your competitors so they don"t take your customers away from you. Also provide good customer service. The short answer to customers is, work hard to get them and when you"ve got them, keep them by providing quality products, service and good support so they won"t consider going anywhere else.
Watch your cash
Ensure your cash position at all times allows you to make decisions and pay for the requirements of the business. The saying that "cash is king" still holds true today because if you run out of cash your business will come to a "screaming halt". You always need to maintain sufficient cash in reserve to meet emergencies and to pay staff and to pay for goods and services.
This means that the fact you have a lot of stock in the warehouse or a lot of equipment or other assets, does not guarantee you will not fail. If you don"t have cash you will definitely fail because most people don"t" look kindly on being paid for their goods and services with your stock or plant or equipment. People want cash.
Work with good staff
Make sure you employ good people. Motivate and train them so they are happy in their work. The result will be increased productivity and work satisfaction. Be patient and persistent, and insist on a high standard of work from your staff. Motivate, encourage and coach if necessary, as well as pat them on the back when that"s needed. Some psychologists go so far as to recommend that the staff need a cuddle now and then, but that is probably going a bit overboard!
Make sure you have good morale in your workplace, because that will result in high productivity and high profits for the business. If the business is doing well, ensure that the staff know about it and praise them for it. The best confirmation of your satisfaction with your staff will be when you share some of that increased profit with them by way of bonuses and other benefits.
Always seek advice
Listen to good advice. The person who thinks they know everything is headed for disaster. Being a lone ranger does not entitle you to a medal and you will find most people are prepared to talk and help you if you ask. Also be aware of the fact that you cannot do everything yourself, based on the knowledge you have. Others also have expertise and something that takes them five minutes to explain could take you a couple of days to figure out on your own.
If you are in business, you need to live in the real world. You need to watch your business performance. Control your expenses. Look at ways of increasing your income. Continually monitor how the business is going and how the staff are performing. Have a reserve of cash in the bank for a rainy day and plan ahead all the time, rather than waiting for disaster to happen.
Copyright 2005 StartRunGrow
StartRunGrow (http://www.startrungrow.com) is a global online information organization that specializes in creating, developing and marketing business help information specifically with the aim of "making business easier" for entrepreneurs around the world. The StartRunGrow objective is to become a dominant player in the business help arena providing end to end solutions for the millions of small and medium businesses worldwide who continue to struggle daily with the difficulties of starting, running and growing a successful business.
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