Kelly BurtonView Profile
Whether you’ve just started out or you’ve been in business for years, any owner’s top priority is making sure the business doesn’t fail. Anything that can help the business gain an advantage and give it the best chance of success, will be something any owner will want to try.
With that in mind, if you are thinking of starting up or need some business advice, we have put together 20 characteristics found in some of the best business owners. From the big to the small, these tips should help stop your business from failing
Having the qualities of a good leader is key in deciding whether your business will succeed or fail. So, what are the leadership qualities that can help a business get through difficult times?
Lead from the front
To run a successful business, you need to be a strong leader. Good business leaders are driven and hard-working; but most importantly, they are able to inspire and motivate their workforce. If you’re not a strong leader, your staff and customers will not follow you, making it difficult to succeed.
Another quality of a strong leader is the ability to take control of your business and make important decisions on a day to day basis. They are not always going to be easy decisions, but if you pass off responsibility to someone else, you are not truly in control of your own business. This doesn’t mean not giving people the opportunity to give their input and ideas, but having the confidence to make your own decision.
Employ great people
Employing skilled people for the job will benefit your business greatly; allowing it to accomplish the goals you want to achieve. Find the best people and keep hold of them by rewarding them for their excellent work. As business leaders like Richard Branson say; look after your employees, and they will look after you and the business.
When the going is good, it can be far too easy to stagnate. Innovative thinking and pushing barriers are essential, when it comes to keeping a business moving forward.
Try to be innovative
As a business, you should always be striving to create something new and different to stand out in your market. A lot easier said than done. But sometimes even doing small creative little twists can go a long way with both employees and customers. Try and create something people have never seen, but be sure to give your staff a chance to put their input and ideas forward.
Do your research
Research your market and your customer base, get to know what your competitors are doing, whether your product will be well received or not, who your customers are, and what sort of promotions they will engage with. Knowing this information makes product development and marketing strategies all the more successful in the long run.
Choose a good location
If you are opening a shop, make sure you open in a desirable location, in a popular part of town to attract people to your store. Rents on main shopping thoroughfares are costly due to high footfall. As a result, many side streets off the main shopping streets have become popular with small businesses. They offer more affordable, cheaper rent, but you must work hard to attract customers through offers, special shopping days, or having a great USP (Unique Selling Point). Although this isn’t always practical, especially with rent prices and unit availability, you should consider your location before signing on the dotted line.
Many business owners may tell you that although they have achieved a lot, it is still not good enough for them. Always striving for more gives you and your business something to focus on. Settling for what you have is not a bad thing if it’s working for you. However, many are always looking for the next milestone.
Have a sensible budget for marketing
Some may disagree, but as time has changed, marketing is massively important to businesses. No longer can businesses simply rely on ‘word of mouth’. If marketers don’t have the budget to create effective, innovative campaigns, they will always fall short of reaching and capturing audiences. Spending a little extra on the marketing budget can see you reap the rewards over the years.
Plan for the future
To stop a business from failing, planning for the future and setting a goal to aim towards is pivotal. As well as having something to focus on, you can also plan your cashflow forecast an give yourself an idea of how much profit you need to continue surviving.
As they say, the devil is in the detail. In order to avert a business from failing, paying close attention to the intricacies of what’s going on in your business and knowing exactly what you need to do and how to proceed, will help things run smoother.
Look after investments such as assets
Keep a close eye on the assets in your company, especially if they’re worth a lot of money, like property and expensive machinery. However, it’s important to be aware that machinery value tends to decrease over time. There could come a time, where the wise business decision is to sell that machinery and use the surplus for reinvestment.
Make sure you get the most out of every day and work as hard as you can to make projects happen. To stop a business from failing, put into place systems of best practice, be happy to let people work to what best suits them. As long as you are achieving results, your staff are happy, and you’re paying the bills, that should see you on the road to success.
Be visible and approachable
Be the kind of director people can see; this makes staff feel much more at ease and happier in their work. The larger the company, the more difficult it will be, but you should still visit the office. Make a point to talk to your staff and have a positive working relationship with them. After all, happy staff are productive staff.
Look after your loyal customers
Treat your customers as the important people they are, with great customer service and reward loyalty. This sort of treatment really can make a difference. By looking after your customers, you are much more likely to keep hold of them. A little extra effort can mean great success for your business, and never forget; they pay your wages!
The internet is essential for all businesses these days. Engaging with customers through your website, a blog or social media will help you easily connect with them, as well as reaching new audiences you may not have had the chance to target before. This engagement shows you as personable and approachable to clients and customers too.
Listen to what your customers and employees are saying; it is always important to take feedback on board. If customers are not happy with products or services, or employees are unhappy with their work, this should be addressed and dealt with as soon as possible for the benefit of all.
To stop a business from failing, you have to be resilient. Simple as that. If you’re a resilient leader who’s able to take knockbacks in your stride and learn from them for next time, your business will come out stronger than if you break down at the first sign of trouble.
Don’t ignore present issues
Planning for the future is important, but don’t ignore what is happening right now. Keep track of what goes on in your business day-to-day, and if there are issues, you should not be ignorant. Address them as and when they occur to stop them spiralling out of control.
Keep track of cash and get help as soon as you need it
You should always have an eye on the money in your business. You may employ an accountant to do your tax return, but you should make sure the numbers add up. Money issues should be dealt with as quickly as possible; finding financial aid can help your business stay afloat, whilst also planning ahead financially gives you a good head start, year on year.
Plan for difficult times
It may not be something you want to think about, but there are always going to be bad times for your business. It may be an internal problem, or an external factor, such as a recession, but you should always be prepared. Having a plan in place will help you to act appropriately when the bad times do hit.
In order to prevent a business from failing, don’t Give up at the first sign of difficulty. Not only will this stop you from learning and growing as a business person, but the odds are your business won’t last very long. Showing persistence is a must in any business leader.
Remember it is difficult to get your voice heard
As a small business, it can be challenging to get seen and heard in a crowded marketplace. Don’t get disheartened; keep marketing your products or services and keep working on ideas. Building up a solid customer base is just as important as being a household name.
Don’t expect fame or fortune overnight
It may sound obvious, but you are not going to become the biggest brand name or the wealthiest business owner in the world overnight. Building up a business takes time, and hard work, so make sure you celebrate the small successes and keep focussing on the bigger picture.
Running a business is seldom easy, and there are many things you’ll need to consider when setting up and operating. There are many other things you can do, and regardless of whether you’re just starting, or an experienced business person, a lot of it is down to individual preferences of how you want to run things. That said, we hope the 20 tips above help you if you need some assistance with running your business and stopping your business from failing.