Successfully starting and running a small business is a huge accomplishment, but the stress of doing so can be overwhelming at times. When the time comes that things are going well and you can breathe again, it can be tempting to just stop swimming and go with the flow. This is not the way to stay successful however. Consider the following quote:
"Yesterday’s home runs don’t win today’s games." -Babe Ruth
The "Babe" was, of course, referring to baseball, but the same concept applies to business. Being successful yesterday doesn’t keep you successful today. Making wise choices when you started the business doesn’t keep the business running. What you do every day is what results in continued success. Business owners that stop moving forward will not be business owners for long.
Moving Forward with Staff
Good help is hard to find. It is equally as hard, if not harder, to keep good help once you find it. Keep great staff and make them even better by remembering the following:
Motivate – They have to keep wanting to work for you. Treat them right. Remember they have lives, respect them, and do your best to find ways to make their job with you enjoyable.
Educate – Look for ways to help them do their jobs better. Offer in house training, send them to conferences, or find other ways to help them understand their job better. They will feel better about the job they do and be able to do a better job for you.
Compensation – Pay fairly. It sounds simple but unfortunately, it is too often the case with small businesses that they only pay enough to keep those that cannot find a job anywhere else. Pay good employees what they are worth, and they will be loyal. If you do not, someone else will. Remember also that this amount changes. If it increases, pay them more. That is part of moving forward.
Moving Forward with Technology
The phone system you had when you first started will eventually need to be updated. If you only take cash you could be losing thousands of dollars in sales each day. If you do not have an Internet presence, you do not even exist to a large portion of society. Stay on top of technology to keep your small business from being left behind in the dark ages. The following are major areas of technology that tend to be neglected when it comes to advances after the start-up phase.
Equipment – Get new printers, computers, phones, and any other equipment that becomes outdated as you can. Putting this off will frustrate employees and customers alike, as well as give the impression that the business is not as successful as it is.
Pay options – Do not lose customers because you do not accept their payment method of choice. Beyond cash and plastic, consider options such as electronic and phone payments if applicable.
Internet and social media presence – Online marketing is fast becoming the number one way to get the word out, and this is truer than ever with small businesses. The cost is very low in comparison to the potential customers reached. Create an online presence and maintain it vigorously.
Technology can be costly, but this in one of the times those handy small business loans can come in handy. Online platforms, such as Biz2Credit.com, connect entrepreneurs with SBA loans, business lines of credit, and equipment loans. Lenders on the platform include banks, credit unions, microlenders and other alternative lenders. They often offer products geared specifically toward small business growth and support at better rates. Deals are closed quickly and small business owners don’t have to spend time going from bank to bank making loan applications that may or may not be approved.
Moving Forward with Product/ Service
If you make great cupcakes, keep making great cupcakes. Don’t stop there, though. Consider ways to improve them, create new flavors, and add coffee if the customers are asking for it. If you fix cars, look for ways to better serve your customers. Create a nice waiting room or add a mechanic in order to cut their wait time. You started a successful business with a great product or service, but keep going, don’t stop. Continually look for ways to improve so that you can stay on top. Keep what you offer relative, in demand, and top quality. Do not let the competition have a chance to come up with something better.
Do not make the mistake of thinking that getting started is the end of the road. You have to keep going, and standing still is not the way to do it. Keep moving forward, keep improving, and keep on being the best at what you offer to ensure success well into the future.
This article was submitted by Faith Stewart. Faith Stewart has a BBA with a major in accounting and spent 10 years working in the various aspects of accounting and finance before pursuing her passion for writing.