It’s great to come up with an idea for a business, but merely conceiving the idea is only the beginning. Sustaining your business across time is a difficult undertaking for both small businesses and Fortune 500 companies alike. In fact, only 12% of Fortune 500 companies from 1955 still existed in 2016.
While keeping your company competitive and vibrant takes work, it’s not impossible. While the business world tends to get a facelift every few years, many fundamentals for success remain the same. Below, we will delve into strategies that will help maintain a positive trajectory for your business.
Define Your Expectations
Visualization and mental preparation play crucial roles in the actualization of your success. It’s impossible to attain goals if they haven’t been specifically defined. This applies to you as a leader of a business but also has implications for the performance of all personnel involved. As if proof were needed, studies indicate self-defined goals significantly improves outcomes.
Imagine how you want your business to grow. The more specific you can get with your aim, the better. Many people are afraid to define their expectations, because it also clarifies the parameters for failure. The reality, however, is that success is often paved with failure, so the sooner you can be honest with yourself the better.
If you have an ambitious goal for the company, break it down into smaller, more manageable chunks to be checked off over time. This is far more effective than letting one monstrosity of a goal loom ominously before you, draining you of morale. Understand that there will be hindrances that you did not expect, but also that persistence rewards handsomely.
Know Your Market
The importance of meeting the customers’ needs cannot be overstated. This is the backbone of your business, and without it, failure is imminent. This involves knowing exactly what you have to offer and what you don’t, as well as how you can bring something to the table that is different than the competition. A solid customer relations management strategy paired with a reliable software program will stabilize CRM.
This is an area where your ability to adapt is vital. Market demands simply change over time, and merely willing yourself into relevance is never a winning strategy. Instead, pay attention to the market’s barometer, and adjust accordingly. Open yourself to the idea of adjustment if possible, as this will add more stability to your business model.
It wasn’t too long ago that Amazon only sold books, now they are on a mission to control the world. Chances that the company would’ve reached its current levels of success if it left its market offerings unchanged is slim to none. Many large book-sellers went out of business while Amazon thrived like no other. The difference lies in their respective skill in adapting. However, even though Amazon is rampaging the consumer market, they still have major improvements to conquer. For example, their packaging has created a stir. Gluttonous packaging is never a good idea. It’s important to choose the right packaging for your product that even mogul companies find challenging.
It can be tempting to keep your business structure as is, especially if the scaffolding has been firmly established over time. However, an unwillingness to adopt technology can become a massive impediment to your growth and success.
Every year, innovation brings new tools to the table. There are plenty of technologies that offer massive benefits to small businesses, from internal communication apps to software for operational analytics. These additions are inexpensive yet ensure that your operations are maintaining a streamlined pace.
Funding Your Business
It’s one thing to have a grandiose vision for your company, but if you lack the funds to see your planning bear fruit, it can quickly turn from a dream into a nightmare. Be realistic, precise, and conservative, especially in the early stages of your enterprise. Don’t go borrowing tons of money if you don’t know exactly what to do with it and how you will pay it back.
Weigh the pros and cons of seeking investor funding versus using loans from a bank. It’s also worth it to research a fair number of these options before committing to one. Keep in mind that usually the more money you borrow, the longer you will linger in the shadow of debt.
Create A Positive Culture
One of the greatest advantages of running the show yourself is the ability to design the culture yourself. This is an opportunity to reflect on any past employment experiences of your own and use this knowledge to establish your values. Sometimes the worst jobs you’ve had can provide you with the best knowledge of how not to design your culture.
Part of indoctrinating a vibrant and inviting culture is by exemplifying trust in your employees. Nobody likes a micromanager because it implies distrust. Provide your workforce with a sense of autonomy, which will facilitate a sense of dignity. In addition, this will improve employee retention, allowing everyone to grow into a dynamic and multi-talented team.
Other examples of employee empowerment involve schedule flexibility or the ability to work remotely. These freedoms do wonders to improve morale without compromising productivity. Do some research into other companies that have implemented similar strategies and see what works best for you.