7 ways to stay ahead in small business
Looking to stay ahead in small business?
Being a business owner can be lots of fun, but it can also be tough. It’s easy to get into a bit of a rut when you just keep on doing what you do, day in day out. If you really want to stay ahead in small business, taking a step out of your everyday worklife can sometimes be the most beneficial thing to do.
We all need to stay on a journey of continuous learning and development, or we can quickly get stale.
Taking time out to learn new skills and techniques, and to catch up on what’s new in your industry is essential to your own development and that of your business. Attending conferences, expos, seminar and industry events can be a great opportunity to bring home new ideas and tips that will be of great benefit to your bottom line.
Read industry publications and industry-related blogs to keep up-to-date with the latest news and developments.
Form a team
The most successful businesspeople gather a network of supporters around them – people who are experts in their field and who are great at what they do. If there’s a particular part of your business which causes you headaches (or heart ache), maybe it’s time to delegate that task to an employee or outsource it. Whether you’re a solo operator or head of a team, you can’t do it all – ask for help from those in the know, and then get on with doing what you’re best at.
Don’t forget the most important supporters of all – your family, friends and business associates. The people who care about you want you to succeed and will often lend their support to you and your business, whether it’s a referral or recommendation to their network, or a listening ear when you just need someone to talk to.
Share your knowledge and experience with your customers and staff. This includes the information you learn at events and through reading. Facts, figures, the latest industry trends and points of interest can be shared verbally when speaking directly with customers, or through your newsletter or blog posts. This illustrates your authority and shows you have a passion for what you do.
The success or failure of your business could well depend on the quality of your relationships. The ability to attract, engage and build relationships with customers is vital, and being willing and able to listen to your stakeholders, as well as what’s going on in your industry is very important.
Of course, we’d all love a large group of raving fans, who return to our business time after time, but to do this, we need to nurture those relationships by finding a way to make customers feel appreciated and included.
Manage your time
Yes, we’re all busy, but those who are successful in business have the same number of hours in the day as those who are struggling. Formulate a plan for the day – I often do this at the end of the previous day. Prioritise your tasks and do the hardest thing (or something you really would rather not do) first thing in the morning. This makes the rest of the day a breeze!
Learn to say NO sometimes
Whether it’s the demands of clients, staff, suppliers or other people, sometimes we need to be assertive and just say “No”. You don’t have to be rude about it, and of course, you would never want to offend, but taking on too much often brings poor results and that’s worse than saying no in the first place! Saying a polite “No” can be great for your sanity.
Take a break
While it can be easy to just keep meeting the demands of your business, it’s also important to take a break, or it could lead to burnout.
Taking holidays can be particularly challenging for small business owners, particularly solo operators. You may consider getting a Virtual Assistant to manage your work while you’re away, or simply inform your clients you’re taking a week or two off.
If that seems too much, try taking a break during the day to exercise, meditate or go to lunch outside the office, take a day off, a long weekend off or a mini-break of 3-4 days away from your work – preferably somewhere quiet and relaxing. From my own personal experience, a mini-break can be very beneficial to your mental health!
If you find it difficult to switch off and relax, use the time to reflect and regroup on your business, formulate a new business plan or develop a new product or service.
I hope these quick and easy tips have helped you think about how you can stay ahead in small business.
Hi, I’m Lyndall Guinery-Smith, The Professional Writer. I write copy dedicated to attracting and engaging your customers – and improving your bottom line. I happily work with clients all over Australia. Email me to arrange an obligation-free discussion about your latest project. Or if you’d like to learn how to connect with your audience and build your business, why not input your email address and receive my regular marketing updates in your mailbox? You can sign up for our mailing list at the base of the Home Page on www.ProfessionalWriter.com.au.