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When you start a business, there is a phase at the very beginning when you are trying to do several things at once. All of a sudden, you are a business consultant, an accountant, a marketer and a writer - as well as being the expert in your chosen field. It can be easy to lose sight of a few things along the way, but here are five top tips to help you stay on track and help turn your start-up into a thriving business.
1) Have a business plan
Crafting a great business plan is something that surprisingly few people have when they start a business. However, it can be one of the most useful and most effective tools you have. After all, as the business owner, you are going to know best about how you plan to see the business growing, as well as any provisions for the future.
It is also a good idea to ensure you are regularly reviewing your business plan. Things change – some things beyond your control – but if you have factored this in to your plan then you should keep motoring ahead.
2) Change with the times
Coming back to the point above about making changes to your business plan, this is a very important way of future-proofing your business. Times change, with economic climates and technological developments having a huge impact on the way we do business. You might want to think about how your cash flow would be impacted or how you could run your business on a shoestring in the event of any major threats.
You should also account for any business growth too. How do you plan to service any extra capacity? Have you thought about recruitment fees and associated staff costs? How do you plan to take your business to the next level, rent premises, invest in more stock or other product lines? Make sure all of this is included in your business plan.
3) Keep an eye on your competitors
It is always a good idea to take a quick glance over the fence. Try to avoid copying anything your competitors do. Not only is this extremely unprofessional and perhaps even illegal, what works for them might not work for you. Instead, you should seek-out inspiration. Draw from experience, learn from others – see what your competitors are doing differently and consider whether it could work for you. Perhaps you could also reach out to them for collaborative partnerships. Keeping an eye on your competitors is healthy, plus it is recommended as a way of keeping your business fresh and up to date in the market place.
4) Maintain a strong online presence
Competitors can be found online so easily – so make sure you are in amongst them. Not convinced? Here are some statistics from a recent article by a leading online reputation management company:
5) Listen to your customers
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, listening to customers is the only way your business will grow. As demonstrated in the above points, your customers want to see what their experience with you is going to be like. How you respond to those views can also have an impact in how you do business. Making changes for the preference of customers, as well as responding to any negative reviews and experiences, will keep your business on the right track.
If you would like some advice about how to grow your business, contact the Corporate and Commercial team at Downs Solicitors to see how we can help.