Running a small business can be extremely rewarding and profitable, but often, only those that run strategically and efficiently succeed. Here’s a wakeup call: fifty-percent of small businesses fail in their first five years, and the numbers only grow from there.
In order to stay afloat, you can’t just have a good idea; owners and employees also need to be ready to pivot their ideas to changing environments and customer needs and find tools to stay productive. Here are five ways small businesses can improve their organization to find more success.
There are many ways to give your organization a financial overhaul so you can better manage your money. First and foremost, it’s critical to address debt and develop good credit so you can eventually build your business. One popular option for small business owners is to consolidate business loans into one payment to reduce monthly payments without negatively affecting their credit score. Consider speaking with an accountant about your options and how to best approach any debt your business has accrued.
Once you’re out ahead of your debt, you can begin building strategies for staying on top of your finances moving forward. Build a budget and encourage frugality among your employees to ensure you’re staying within your means. This means no more excessive client lunches or travel, and an audit of where you’re hemorrhaging money to no return. Then, enlist the help of a small business bank account to keep your payments, payroll, and tax prep all in one location so it’s easier to stay organized. Once your finances are under control, it will be easier to grow your business and focus on becoming independent of debt and investors.
Marketing offers a great opportunity to generate more leads which will result in business growth, more sales, and ultimately, improved brand loyalty. However, digital marketing, specifically, often comes at a smaller price point, yet helps your customers feel a more personal connection to the brand. Additionally, it has the ability to provide valuable data on your customers and the best ways to reach them.
Digital marketing is available in many different forms: SEO best practices, email newsletters, or even online ads, but your own social media can also make a big impact and is one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies. The content you publish on your various channels will improve recognition of both your brand and your offering– thus boosting incoming traffic to your site– and social shares can expand your overall customer reach. Consider consulting a social media marketing firm to better understand how to publish engaging content and win more business.
There can be a lot of moving parts in a small business, and employees can be forced to wear many different hats to avoid chaos. However, without proper organization, inefficiencies can spring up: valuable time can be spent tracking down project owners, rifling through task pile-ups, and clarifying confusion over ownership. This will slow down any potential progress for your business and the costs can add up surprisingly quickly.
Instead, spend the time to establish a clear organizational structure within your business to ensure it’s running productively. You can use a universal task management system so everyone can track where projects are in the pipeline to help clear up confusion and allow your workers and business to run more smoothly without the headache of inefficiencies.
Company-wide communication is critical to the success of any organization, especially small businesses where you must lead by example. When your employees understand where your business is headed with goals and growth, they’ll feel more invested in its success. Similarly, because your team knows your business from the ground level, they can offer the best insights into where your organization is succeeding and where it needs more attention. If they feel comfortable bringing up concerns, your business will be able to grow more productively, and they’ll feel more valued and impactful.
It’s critical that you find effective ways to improve your employee’s communication experience. Depending on the size of your business, weekly or monthly company-wide meetings can be a great opportunity to connect with all areas of the business, give goal-related updates, and open the floor for questions, comments, or concerns from your employees. If this isn’t feasible for your organization, utilizing a communication tool, like Slack, can help open dialogue between you and your employees and allow for easier communication.
Set goals are a vital aspect of any business growth. Without clearly-defined benchmarks of success, you will always feel as if you’re fighting your way through your strategy, or, even worse, you won’t push your business to evolve. Therefore, it’s important that you take some time to sit and fully flesh out some goals that will drive value to your business.
The SMART goal model is a popular one amongst small business owners to develop their business goals. The purpose is to help you write goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-oriented to keep your team motivated toward organizational success. Focus on areas of your business that need growth or attention, and develop a goal around increasing efficiency or effectiveness within that specific department. Then, be sure the goal’s completion is assigned to a particular person, whether that’s you or an employee, to maintain accountability and ensure the goal is achieved
Your business will only grow and improve if you commit to making it stronger: a better place to work with a clearer organizational system and structure, and more developed strategies for success. Take the time to determine where your organization is succeeding and where it is failing so you can cater the response to your specific needs and ensure your business is changing to improve.
Have you recently tried out a new strategy to help your small business improve? Let us know in the comments below and tell us how it’s been working for your organization!
Featured image credit: Unsplash.com
MP Staff Writer
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