Getting ahead in business is all about making the right decisions at the right time to make your business successful and sustainable.
Three critical keys to having a sustainable business, no matter what the economic climate, are 1.) Know your vision for your company; 2) Write, follow and monitor your business model; 3) track financials on a regular basis.
The 'insider' information that makes these keys work include:
1. Plan for success. Organize time to sharpen your focus. Take time for planning and reflection. Schedule time weekly to handle routine tasks. What is your contingency plan? Take short break to reflect, refresh and recharge. Take care of you and your business. Communicate your written vision to your employees. Explain to them how they are involved and how important their success is to the sustainability of the company. It is critical in your leadership role to your family, employees and customers.
2. Surround yourself with experts. Do you have a diverse advisory team? Find a mentor. Make sure you like and trust the people on your team. Who is missing on your team? Ask for guidance and help. Choose wisely. Make sure that the mentor or advisors you choose are interested in you and your company.
3. Grow your customer base. What does your customer look like? Once you know what your client is, it will be easy to attract potential customers. Write down your customer demographics. Why do they buy? What makes your service / product unique? Who is your competition? Create new products. Create packages or customizable plans.
4. Create low budget marketing strategies. Evaluate your written marketing plan. Reached benchmarks? What works – print materials, public relations, special events, trade shows, and community activities? Network weekly. Volunteer. Your employees your first-line marketing reps. Promote on LinkedIn or Twitter. Update your website. Start a blog. What media plan do you have to build relationships with the media in your marketplace? Do you have a current and updated media distribution list?
5. Evaluate your business structure. How do you manage business practices and protocols? How is your organizational structure? Does your employee cover cover all areas of business including productivity, protocols, ethics, performance expectations, payroll, firing and firing polices? Do you reward employees for performance? What is your financial status? Write formal financial procedures. Follow them. Track your cash flow. Monitor invoices. Monitor expenditures. Create a monthly report that you review. Where can you make changes.
Your business depends upon your vision, belief in yourself and your perseverance as a CEO. And most importantly, smile, breathe, smile, laugh, dance, play, and know that you are part of a larger global entrepreneurial marketplace. We all begin in the way – a dream to use our gifts created a passion in our hearts for us to take a risk and become entrepreneurs.