6 Best Practices for Small-Business Success
This is a guest post from Gloria Martinez (see bio at the end) – thanks Gloria!
The minutiae of making sure your small business stays in the black and the challenges of getting into the minds and hearts of your target customers are vast, but there are several key ideas that successful entrepreneurs swear by. Let’s take a look at a few that can help you scale your business the right way.
1. Keep it specific.
Along with keeping things manageable, make sure your goals are laid out in black and white from day one. Having a written business plan, including budgetary goals and a schedule of growth for the organization, will not only help keep you on track, but can also help you apply for and receive loans in the future. Lending organizations tend to look for companies with a clear understanding of the effort it takes to run a business, and having a written plan is a great way to ensure your company has its best foot forward.
2. Join your local chamber of commerce.
Your local chamber of commerce could offer great opportunities for your small business. A chamber of commerce is essentially a group of local businesses (within a particular niche or area) that come together to provide resources for members. Many local chambers offer ways for businesses to get in front of the city council for important debates and can help with applying for government grants and funding.
Joining your local chamber of commerce can also give our business a boost in the reputation department. A Schapiro Group study found that membership in a commerce organization impacted company awareness by 73 percent — meaning customers were more likely to know about a company if it were active in its local chamber.
3. Iron out the books for full financial visibility.
Keeping your budget straight is one of the biggest things to remember for your small business. Become familiar with the kinds of financial documents you’ll need, keep an eye on profits and loss, and learn more about that little thing every business needs to stay open: money.
Using an online service or software-based balance sheet is a great way to keep all your business’s expenses, income, and other finance-related details in one place. This provides you with a higher level of visibility into the money coming in and being spent, making it easier to manage and allowing you to make informed decisions about the future of your business. And if you use a customizable and intuitive template, you will have a better handle of your business’s financial position at all times.
4. Look for resources.
When searching for startup funds, don’t forget the power of your own government network. The Small Business Association provides a list of grant opportunities and funding programs, as well as other financial resources.
Local and national government organizations can also provide more than just funding, as well. For instance, the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization helps small and socio-economically disadvantaged businesses — meaning they assist smaller organizations meet environmental regulations where relevant). Just look for similar programs for the kind of business you’re running.
5. Know your audience.
Marketing your product or service is a given, but are you marketing it to the right audience? For instance, if your business is a yarn-spinning service, you wouldn’t put up flyers catering to the local biker gang. Now, it’s entirely possible that there is a Venn diagram of biker gang members and folks who spin their own yarn, but you want to make sure you’re marketing to the group of people who will give you the most attention.
This may be an extreme example, but use it as a guide. The other thing to remember is to follow current trends. For instance, social media marketing is the most cost-effective — and generally, effective — way to get in touch with consumers nowadays.
6. Constant vigilance!
That is to say, make sure you remain organized. Keeping your books, knowing your audience, filing a list of small-business resources and opportunities, and maintaining all of these moving parts can sometimes get stressful. Staying organized with an appropriate filing system — either via software or physical folders — is an essential part of owning a successful business.
Get started on your small-business journey
Do you want to learn more about how you can improve your small-business success and propel your organization to even greater heights? The business consulting experts at Aspire Business Development will give you the boost you want. Visit the site for business resources and to check out available services. (913) 660-9400
Gloria Martinez – Gloria started Women Led to celebrate the advancements women have made and inspire women to become entrepreneurs and seek promotions in the workplace. Learn more at Womenled.org
Shawn Kinkade Kansas City Business Coach