11 things your business should be doing… and probably isn’t
Stop what you’re doing for a moment and take a look around you. What’s happening in your business right now? Or more importantly, what isn’t happening?
There are so many vital business tasks that simply get overlooked because companies are too focused on their day-to-day activity to notice what they’re missing. Especially in smaller businesses who have limited resources, they don’t have the time or energy to do some of the things that could help them the most.
Here, we look at 11 things your business should be doing. How many can you tick off?
Often in business it’s not what you know, it’s who you know, which is why networking is so important. But many businesses fail to network or aren’t very good at it when they do. When done correctly networking can be a great way to generate awareness about your company, expand your contact base and bring in new business without racking up a huge marketing bill. Remember to keep conversations informal without trying to sell (you can always follow up with a sales call after the event), be brave and attend events where the audience is right for your business.
Sharing valuable content
Content marketing is increasingly becoming the go-to strategy for businesses looking to build awareness. Even if you’re not doing it yet, your competitors probably are. Essentially, the idea is that you create valuable content for your target market that helps educate and build relationships which in the future will translate into purchases. At the very least your business should be active on social media where you can share external sources of interesting content in your field.
Saying thank you
For the little time it takes to say thank you or well done there are many rewards, but many businesses are so busy with their day-to-day activity or reaching targets that they simply forget to give credit where it’s due. A verbal thanks or an appreciative email can go a long way to making your staff feel valued. And, if your staff are happy, the chances are they’re going to be more motivated to perform better.
Regularly reviewing and updating your business plan
Business plans are living documents that should evolve with your business to reflect where you are currently and where you are heading in the future. Failure to update your business plan could hold you back when you’re looking to grow as many lenders will look at your business plan before deciding whether to offer the funding facility you’re looking for. This is particularly true when it comes to applying for traditional lending, such as loans and overdrafts. Not sure where to begin? Read our blog explaining how to write the perfect business plan.
Asking for help
Unfortunately the word ‘help’ can be scary, as some people see it as a sign of failure and don’t want to appear weak or needy. But no-one can be an expert at everything, so it’s important to remember that it’s OK to ask for help or advice when you need it. If you try to do everything yourself, you’ll stress out and burn out; it’s a much better idea to use the network you’ve built. And you’ll often find that most people are more than willing to offer assistance.
Regularly benchmarking funding
The success of any business is reliant on a healthy cash flow, which is why scrutinising your existing facilities is an important task that should be completed regularly. Remember that, with the lending arena constantly evolving, what might have been right for your business a few months ago might no longer be. This benchmarking process could help you to unlock further funding without needing to obtain an additional facility. Our blog post looks at how to successfully benchmark your funding in more detail.
Investing in personal growth
Particularly in the wake of new research, which found tedious and repetitive daily tasks are just two of the factors leading 45% of British employees to report that they are affected by boredom at work, businesses should be striving to offer career growth opportunities or additional responsibilities to those employees who like to be challenged. Making training available is mutually beneficial as your staff will feel empowered with new skills that can help further your business, and they will also feel more valued as you are investing in them and their growth. This doesn’t have to be restricted to external training; you can also encourage employees to improve by reading materials related to your industry and general business development.
Keeping in touch with existing clients
It’s important to regularly touch base with your existing customers, as staying in the front of their minds is essential for repeat business. What many companies are failing to realise is that post-sale is a great opportunity to build even more trust with your customers and urge them to remain loyal to your brand. Sending informative newsletters is a great way to retain their attention, but even more blunt emails along the lines of “can we help you again?” can jolt existing customers into using your services again.
Outsourcing all debts over 90 days old
It’s a well-known fact that as debts get older they become harder to collect. As a result, recovering debts that remain unpaid after 90 days can consume a great amount of your credit control time and resource, detracting your attention from newer debts. If this is happening to your business, consider outsourcing these overdue invoices to a specialist debt collection agency, who’ll not only remove the burden from your business, but also bring their expertise to the process. If this could help your company, read how our sister company could help with the recovery of unpaid invoices.
Delivering an experience
Don’t just settle for delivering a product. Aim to deliver an experience and your business will reap the benefits. If you can offer your customers an experience that they value, it will increase customer loyalty and your revenue because ultimately, if you’re helping your customers, you’re helping yourself. Just look at Steve Jobs as an example. He wanted Apple products to provide an experience, not just a function, and now Apple is arguably one of the strongest brands in the world.
With thousands of businesses seeking the attention of potential customers, the landscape is becoming overcrowded, making it more important than ever for your business to stand out and be heard. There’s lots of ways your business can do this but if it has something different about it, be sure to shout about it and make sure everyone knows. It’s not bad to capitalise on your quirkiness.
Do you have any other tips for fellow business owners? Please leave your comments below!