7 vital business building tips that are vital for building a business that is:
- Will eventually work without the business owner being there.
These are very much interrelated and therefore have no natural order but all are essential for success.
Business Tip 1 – The business must focus at least 50% of resources on Sales and Marketing.
All too often a business is set up by great technicians who have decided to set up their own business. They often think that if a business is set up with the best equipment and has the highest level of skills etc. it will sell itself. This is rarely true.
What is true is that an average or sometimes even a poor product will sell with great marketing. The reverse is rarely true. The world is full of products that have been technically brilliant, better than the competition and they simply didn’t sell enough to survive. For example we had the Betamax versus VHS back in the old days where Betamax was regarded as superior; Microsoft Windows versus IBM’s PS/2 we all know who won that one.
So if you are starting out in business and/or times are troubled for you, and that applies to many businesses, revisit your marketing plans and see how much time, money and effort you are putting in for sales and marketing versus product/service creation and delivery.
My advice is to spend half of your resource marketing and selling services or products to the markets. Then spend the other half producing and/ or delivering the product or service to customers. There is always a few % to go on admin and accounting but the focus needs to be ‘up front’ when times are hard or you are starting out.
Business Tip 2 – Set up at least 10 solid strategies for Marketing
Reduce your risks and setup up 10 great marketing streams for getting business. Many businesses get one or 2 good marketing streams and stop there. Don’t stop, develop more, you never know when stream will die on you. It is surprising how many businesses are wasting money on marketing that doesn’t work and they don’t know it because they do not measure what is going on.
Similarly make sure no more than 10% of your business comes from 1 company. The world is full of businesses who lost their key contract which accounted for 50% or more of the business and struggled to recover.
To do all of this you must be able to track how and where your business comes from. This leads us nicely to my next business building tip.
Business Tip 3 – Measure Test and Measure
I abbreviate this as M-T-M. You need to have key performance indicators (KPIs) at every stage of the business. I have already mentioned 2 of these above:
- Understanding what marketing works and what doesn’t. Where it comes from and how.
- Understanding what percentage of your business in units and money comes from what customers.
A few more essential KPIs are:
- Nett and gross Profit
- Total income
- Profit margins
- Cost of sale
- Cost of production or service
- Cash flow
- Real measures of product or service quality. These are often hard to define but they can be done.
- Real measures of customer satisfaction. These are often hard to define but they can be done.
Again I am staggered how many business owners and managers do not have these figures to hand on a monthly basis. Many leave them to the year end accountant to do which is usually about 18 months too late! If this is the case with you, then every decision you make is probably a guess!
Business Tip 4 – Systemise
By systemise I mean create systems and procedures to automate and standardise processes. There some great golden rules within this business building tip:
- Standardise the routine to create good service and utilise the spare capacity you free up to create exceptional service.
- Systemisation means procedures, computerisation and automation not just computers.
- Procedures means the written word but preferable to this are: pictures, diagrams, audio, and video.
- If you use computers for systemisation do not try to systemise a mess. Sort out the mess first. If not you are likely to just make a bigger mess quicker.
- If you use computers for systemisation apply the rule: data goes in once and is used many times. Avoid having a string of spreadsheets where you keep re-keying the same data in over and over again. This is poor systemisation and leads to lots of errors.
- Good systems make KPIs and measure test and measurement easier. Look for the opportunities to extract useful KPIs easily.
- Systemise before recruiting then the team will have a system to follow. Do it the other way round and the business owner and managers will burn energy chasing the teams because the teams simply do not know what is going on or how to do it.
Business Tip 5 – Use your customers wisely, don’t waste them.
- Customers are gold use them to build a strong referral marketing stream.
- Keep in contact with your customers, this can be by newsletters, new special offers, new product launches and you portfolio of products on offer.
- Treat customers better than new leads and when they return to buy more treat them exceptionally well.
- Build trust with customers on a continuous basis, never do anything to harm that trust.
Business Tip 6 – Build great motivated teams
* Systemise before you let the large teams loose in your business. If you don’t they will burn you out.
- Look at teams in a wider sense. Teams are another key ingredient of growing a business. However I recommend that you look at teams in a wider sense than just those people you employ directly. For instance your accountant and a key supplier can form a team alongside your business. Partnerships with other business can build very powerful teams. If fact these type of teams can often be more motivated than those you recruit to work for you.
- Recruit on basic skills then attitude. If you do recruit your own employees take the time to recruit properly and look for motivated people with the right attitude. It is easier to teach skills than change attitude.
- Train you team well.
Well motivated, well trained and well lead teams can be 100 times more productive than the worst. Look at a league of football teams and see the difference in performance and earnings.
Business Tip 7 – Work on yourself as the leader.
- Learn to be a great leader.
- Do not let yourself become the barrier to your business growing. Too often it is the leader that has become the weakest link in the business. Like a chain a business is only as strong as the weakest link. Others have caught up with the leader. The leader is pushing employees down preventing their growth and their development which ultimately stops growth in the business.
James E Rohn said “Never wish your life were easier … Wish that YOU were better… Work harder on yourself than you do on job …”
So to summarise these 7 business tips:
- You must focus equal resources to marketing and selling a product or service as to making it and delivering it to the customer.
- Build 10 solid marketing streams to reduce your business risks to changing markets and patterns. Do the same with customer streams.
- Measure test and measure as much as you can.
- Systemise the business before you build a team . Systemise the routing and identify the exceptions to offer exceptional service.
- Use your customers wisely.
- Build great teams with the right attitude, training and motivation.
- Work on yourself harder than you do on you r business! Be a great leader.
Why not write the above summary of business tips down and work on 1 or 2 aspects over the next 90 days. Scientists have shown that it takes 25-30 days to change a belief or habit.