If you run your own small business, you might sometimes find yourself feeling that there is only a certain amount you can achieve with it. Actually, this is not the case, but it can sometimes feel as though it is. There is such a thing as small business syndrome, the feeling that your small business is not likely to be a great contender on the world stage or to do well with what you are trying to achieve. But it is important to remember that this is not actually true, and with the right approach and the right attitude you can easily achieve plenty with your business, no matter its size, age or purpose. With that in mind, let’s have a look at what characteristics tend to lend themselves well to small businesses which are likely to be powerful and, hopefully, successful.
First of all, what is it that sets your business apart from others? You should be able to answer this question fairly easily and swiftly – if you can’t, it probably means that you might want to put a little more thought into your overall goals and aims. You need to be certain of what makes your business unique, otherwise you can’t readily expect it to do well in the way that you would hope. So before you go any further with your small business, ask yourself: what are the things that makes your business different from others? How can you capitalise on these factors, increase them, make even more of them, to the benefit of the business itself as a whole? What other unique characteristics could you be developing within your business in order to get it into an even better position?
There are a huge number of ways in which your business could be unique compared to the next one – it’s all about recognizing your own business’ strengths and making as much of them as you can. The more unique your business is, ultimately the more you will be able to get out of it, so this is something that you will want to work on early on in the life of your small business. Find what is special about your business, and use it to the fullest at all times.
You will no doubt have heard countless times about the importance of placing the customer first. Well, there is a good reason for that, and it’s that customer-focused or -driven businesses tend to do a lot better in the long run. As long as you are really thinking about what your customers need more than anything else, and falling in line with those needs, you can be sure that you are on the right path, the quickest path to power and success. It makes sense if you think about it – you need to be sure that your business is doing exactly what the customer needs of it, and as long as you are, you know that you are likely to keep on getting customers come flooding in. therefore, it’s worth looking at your own business processes, and asking yourself just howe customer-driven it is, or whether there could be some improvement on that front.
Firstly, look at what you actually tend to offer your customers. If you are offering what you think they want, then you know you are doing the right thing. Of course, to be able to do that, you have to first know what it is that they actually want, and that requires that you spend a lot of time speaking with them and discovering what they are keen on having. This is another important sign that you are doing what your customer needs. The more you pay attention to what your customers have to say, the better off your business will be on the whole, so if you are not already seeking feedback regularly, be sure to make this one of your earliest changes in business. The more you seek feedback from customers, the better.
But that doesn’t mean blindly following whatever the customer says, and if you want true power in your business you need to lead them a certain amount as well. This means knowing when to break with what they are saying and do something bold and new. This is tough to get right, but it’s the kind of step that can really set you apart as a business and ensure your reputation forever. Get it right, and you will be set for a much brighter future within the business world, and your customers will be delighted too.
Those businesses which tend to be shut off from the outside world are much less likely to succeed and have power, if only for the simple fact that they are operating as if within a vacuum. If you want to ensure that your business does as well as you would hope it to, you need to make sure that it is easy to communicate with from the outside world. You might be surprised at how many potential barriers there can be in the way of this, and how easily it can ruin what could otherwise be a perfectly well constructed and run business.
For a start, you need to make sure that people can reach your business through whatever means of communication you might be able to think of. This means that you need to have the traditional modes of communication – phone, fax and so on – as well as some of the more modern ones such as email, social media and Skype. For some of the older forms, you don’t necessarily need to go out of your way to get that antiquated technology – rather, you could allow people with fax machines to contact you – and for you to contact them back – by using a service such as efax. Similarly, most phone numbers can be rerouted through to an internet app these days, so you don’t even need a phone system if you don’t want one. The important thing is that you are reachable by some means by the people who want to use those means of communication. As long as that is the case, you will be able to say that your business is open to communication, and that will mean a much stronger customer base – and a stronger business on the whole. It is also for the benefit of other companies who might need to contact you – and there is nothing worse than you missing out on a number of important opportunities because you were simply not reachable.
In general, the best way for a business to look is ahead. This ensures that you do not dwell on what has gone before, but rather on what actually needs to be one, and that will inevitably lead to a much more sensible and straightforward approach to doing business. If you think your business is not quite as future-oriented as it could be, you might want to look into why that might be. If, as is the case with many people, it is something to do with the fact that you don’t actually have that many goals and aspirations to work towards, then you know where to begin – by coming up with a few of those so that you can have something to really work towards. Therefore, an important first step here is to work out what goals and aims you would like to have in your business, so that you can start aiming for them fully and properly.
What those goals are is entirely up to you, but there are certain characteristics which make goals more likely to do something for you and to actually work as impetus for the business. A good goal must be actionable in a clear way, have clear success and failure parameters, and ideally have some kind of time frame. Having this means that your goals will be much more likely to actually be something that you work towards, rather than just idas which you would hopefully like to one day achieve. So work on your goals and make sure that they are the kind that really work – as long as you do that, you should be able to see your business becoming much more future-oriented in no time at all, and this will make for a much stronger and more powerful business on the whole. Forwards is definitely the direction to look in.
These days, there is more and more of a turn towards ethics in business. If you want your business to be as powerful in the real world as possible, there is much to be said for actively encouraging an ethical approach to business, and championing this by doing it yourself as well as you can. You will almost certainly find that this leads to a much more appreciative audience for your business, and that it means you are more likely to gain customers fast as well. Work on being more and more ethical over time, and you will see that it really does make an enormous difference, often faster than you would have ever thought possible.
This post is contributed by Jason Dirkham