The life of a small business owner can be very exciting. You’re in control of how the business grows and what path it takes. It’s a proud feeling when you can watch it go from something so small into a company that thrives.
Part of the business journey is learning what works and doesn’t work for you. Unfortunately, you sometimes learn the hard way about this journey. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a reference to look at that provides some guidance?
You’re in luck because we created a list of nice things that every small business owner should remember.
Your Business Plan Is Essential
Are you running your business day by day, or do you have a plan that provides a roadmap? If the concept of a business plan is foreign to you, it’s an essential piece of your company, you need to create right away.
Your business plan provides guidance on how your company grows. It’s what you would use to pitch an idea to an investor or the bank for a loan. That business plan you spend so much time perfecting will help keep you on track for reaching your goals.
Even You Need Cybersecurity
Small businesses are not immune to cybersecurity threats. The most recent Verizon Data Breach Report shows that small businesses are a prime target for cyber attacks. Phishing scams are the largest threat to small companies (30 percent of data breaches).
So, what can you do to protect your data and your company? One way is to install a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN allows you to create your own private network, which adds an additional security level to all devices connected through it. Think of the VPN as a tunnel for your data traveling to and from the device to the connected network.
A Business Survives Through the Employees
Although many businesses start small enough that the owner can manage everything, having no employees allows you to manage expenses and keep costs down. However, at some point, when your business grows, you’ll likely need a few employees.
Don’t just hire anyone. The right employee can add exceptional value to your company. The wrong employee could send you into a downward spiral.
Customer Service is an Essential Skill
Whether your business works with customers daily or once in a while, having adequate customer service speaks lots about your company. If you take the time to listen to the customer (whether it’s a complaint, concern, or praise), it shows you care about their needs. On the other hand, brushing off your customers will only leave with a nasty review, which can be disastrous for your reputation.
Always Be Learning
Can someone ever truly master a skill? With our world constantly changing, it’s important to stay up-to-date with the evolution of everything around you. How do you do that? By always being willing to learn and provide training for your employees.
Growth is an essential aspect of a business, and we’re not just talking about revenue. Internal growth is important, as well. That means the boss is learning new ideas and tricks to make the business more efficient. The employees are taking advantage of training opportunities to further their skills and knowledge.
Year-End Reviews Are Helpful
Do you do year-end reviews? Maybe you do monthly or quarterly ones instead. Whatever the duration may be, you should sit down and review your business, employees, and compare everything with your business plan at least once a year.
Year-end reviews allow you to see what worked and didn’t work. You can then brainstorm new ideas to further what you’re currently doing or make changes. Doing reviews with your employees also allows both parties to provide feedback about how things are going in the workplace.
Be Ready to Take Risks
You don’t have to do anything crazy, but part of being a business owner is willing to take some risks. The difference, though, is that you take calculated risks, rather than jumping in headfirst with no thought first.
One of the most common reasons to avoid taking a risk is the fear of failure. However, instead of looking at something as a failure, why not look at it as a learning opportunity. What didn’t go according to plan, and what can you do differently next time? As the business owner, if you shift your mindset about learning over failing, maybe you’ll be able to take that risk that could boost your business like never before.
A SWOT Analysis is Your Best Friend
Have you heard of a SWOT analysis before? If not, this section is very important for you to focus on. A SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis allows you to see where you stand in your business’s competition and what you offer that puts you ahead of everyone else.
When doing a SWOT analysis, you need to be honest with each point, especially when it comes to your weaknesses. Once you’ve completed the analysis, you can use it to brainstorm ideas that will benefit your company and improve your standing against your competition.
Don’t Be Afraid of Partnerships
It’s easy to get caught up in the idea of competition rather than looking at who could complement your business. An excellent marketing opportunity for small businesses is to create partnerships with other local companies in the area. Both of you can benefit from the partnership and help support one another.
Although it’s important to know who your competition is, it’s also essential to understand who complements your business and how each of you can provide support. When your company supports local, it goes a long way for your reputation and public image.
Whether you’re at the brainstorming stage, just opened your doors, or have been in operation for a few years, the nine points above are essential for every small business owner to remember. By taking the time to review and implement the ideas above, you can take your company to the next level.
Small businesses are the backbone of many local economies. Help your business thrive by remembering the importance of the ideas above, and you have much to provide your community.