It is very true that most businesses fail even in their first year of launching. This is has been linked to inability to handle the terrain properly, location issues, funding, product quality, raw materials, overhead and so on. The environment in which a business is set up wants to kill the business. It throws all manner of things that will affect it negatively.
A new business is like a new born baby, for this reason, the owner should nurture it the way a mother nurtures her baby. She feeds, cloths and protects the baby from all harm even if it will take her life in the process.
We have discussed extensively on starting a small business, converting hobbies to business, marketing it successfully, how to get funding for it, writing successful business plan and business proposal for it, today we will be looking at how you can do everything possible to keep it afloat.
Now consider the following salient points to aid you manage your business effectively.
YOUR CUSTOMERS RUN THE SHOW
You are in business for others not yourself. So think about your customers first. They hold all the aces. Threat them like kings, make sure your products or services solve their problems and not add more to their problems. If you treat your customers well with your products or services, they will bring you more customers and vice versa.
EASE OFF ON SPENDING
It is trilling to be referred to as business owner, CEO and so on but this comes with a cost – temptation of showing off by buying the “latest everything” to live up to that name. Be warned that this is one of the best ways of running your business ‘aground’ like a ship. You have to be frugal with spending as an entrepreneur, if you want to remain in business. Beware of flamboyant things unless those things are adding to your bottom-line. Learn financial management and learn it well.
GET YOUR PRICING RIGHT
Pricing can make or mar a product. If you over-price your product due to pride, you run the risk of pricing it out of the market, also if your under-price it due to fear of losing customers you run the risk of selling at a loss. Get your pricing right. Cost everything that lead to the production of a unit of your product such as raw materials, labour, rent, power and fuel, transportation etc. Computed such costs and add them to the price. Monitor your costs, be alert to your competition’s activities, research and review your prices constantly – these will keep your price in check.
KEEP THE WINNING TEAM
Many a time we hear sports analysts advice national football coaches of the need to keep their winning team instead of changing them constantly. So as a business owner keep products that are selling but discard those that are not no matter how attached you are to such. By so doing you will be able to focus your energy on the ones that sells very well. Develop them for better market penetration.
DO NOT BE A DINOSAUR
Have you ever seen a live dinosaur before? Of course not, they are gone into extinction. Why? Some said they (dinosaurs) couldn’t adapt to the changing weather or killed by extreme cold. Now as a business owner be abreast of information and trending issues in your environment. The economic, political and business environment are hostile so you have to constantly strategize on how to survive in them. Do your SWOT analysis (SWOT analysis was covered here: 10 Important Things You Must Do Before Start A Business). Yesterday’s war strategy is not enough to fight today’s battle. For example every company out there is embracing Social Media Marketing and even paying experts to do it for them, so it will be an offence if you don’t join them. Don’t forget to keep developing and improving the quality of your product it will win you more customers.
FOCUS ON YOUR MARKETING
You as the CEO of your business imply that you have to be involved in many things. You have to take up many roles, marketing, finance, production and so on. This does not mean that you should be jack of all trade, no. It simply means that you should have an idea of everything but concentrate on areas of your strength. Since you are a start-up it is best you protect your business from ‘shark employees’ by paying attention to many things. A time will come (when the business is grown) that you will delegate and assign tasks to your employee, but now do all you can do. One key area you should be seriously involved in is the area of marketing. You have to sell to remain in business. So generate leads to pursue or for your employees to pursue for you. Never leave marketing as your employees’ responsibility it is yours first! I did an extensive work on marketing in my post How to do successful marketing for your small business go and read it.
ACQUIRE BUSINESS MANAGEMENT KNOWLEDGE
Management involves planning, organizing, directing, staffing, controlling, coordinating and budgeting organizations resources to achieve set goals. The knowledge of management and its application to your business will go a long way to contribute to your success. Management will teach you how to plan and manage your time, schedule events, strategize, communicate better, organize and coordinate your business, budget and so on in order to achieve your goals. Pick up and read a management book or take a Business Management course.
If you are able to abide by these few points you will see your business soar in no time. However, these points are not exhaustive, you can add to the list in the comment box.
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