Is your business always first out of the blocks? It’s easy to run with a successful new product or service, but in order to stay the distance companies need to ensure their entire operation is on track. Here are our top tips to ensure you stay in shape as you grow your business:
Monitor cash flow
Safeguarding the supply of sufficient funds to cover your outgoings sounds easy, but a failure to secure regular payments can stymie companies both big and small.
- Monitor your cash flow levels frequently
- Consider where savings could be made to boost levels
- Speed up billing by automating processes
- Look at ways to attract early payments
Have the right business software in place
If you haven’t done so already, it’s high time you looked at what tools are available to help your company realise its full potential. Think outside the separate Business Management and CRM software and look at an integrated solution. Could you also benefit from additional marketing, HR or payroll services?
- List the features currently available to you
- How do these sit within your business plan?
- Have you explored your existing software’s full potential?
- Is it offering you the flexibility and security you now need?
Upgrade existing software
You’re expanding, but have you updated your existing software as you grow your business? If your IT infrastructure is no longer fit for purpose or flexible enough to accommodate changing practices, it could easily constrict growth.
- Assess any new software for ROI – both in terms of savings and potential efficiencies/benefits
- Would switching to the cloud be beneficial?
- Could your employees benefit from more flexibility when mobile?
Find your voice
Chances are you’re one of the 93% of businesses using social media to communicate with their customers, but are you simply paying them lip service? Experts suggest that cultivating this audience is one thing, but learning how to talk their language is quite another.
- Don’t make every exchange a sales pitch
- Keep your natural ‘voice’ – this will help customers identify with you
- Be honest about any errors
- Don’t ignore or delete criticisms
Move from micro-management to macro-management
When you’ve nurtured a company since inception it can be hard to take a step back and allow others more responsibility. But giving others ownership not only frees you up to work on future plans, it also empowers employees to step up and do a better job.
- Increase responsibility as you go
- Outline your expectations in advance
- Introduce clear reporting guidelines
- Work to build confidence on both sides
Keep a healthy physique
Are you running an ultra-slick operation that really couldn’t be bettered? Look again. It’s easy for minor hold-ups to add up to a lot, so make it your practice to improve as and where you can.
- Ask your employees to feed back on inefficiencies
- Be receptive to suggestions for tackling bottlenecks
- Conduct regular reviews of reporting processes
- Automate as much as you can to enhance business intelligence
Recruitment costs both time and money, so it makes sense to nurture talent in-house wherever possible. Salaries are an important factor for many, but in reality, job satisfaction is what keeps good people with you.
- Share your vision as much as possible
- Discover employee goals and aspirations
- Explore what could help them do their job more effectively or happily
- Be flexible in your approach
It’s good practice to review where your business is going and to assess what might throw you off track. Having a thorough knowledge of the market and your place within it will help instil confidence in both customers and employees alike.
- Listen to feedback
- Keep a close eye on your chosen market and trends
- Update your business plan regularly as your grow your business to account for changing conditions
- Harness all the business intelligence available to you
Safeguard intellectual property
It is the linchpin of your business, so protecting your idea is critical to your future plans. But do you understand all you need to know about intellectual property rights? Legal costs in cases tend to be high, so jump on any incursions as soon as you notice them.
- Understand what IP you own
- Register your IP with the appropriate body
- Monitor the market for any signs of IP infringement
- Depending on your idea, consider IP insurance