In this blog, I have gathered a few tips based on other entrepreneurs’ experience and their advice. You can keep these in mind as you grow your business.
Industry Registration – Although you are not necessarily required by law to register with your industry’s association, it does hold several benefits when you do register. These benefits include gaining a customer’s confidence, contributing to better standards, and adhering to a specific set of standards (ensuring quality).
Workplace Health and Safety – The Occupational Health and Safety Act requires the employer to provide a work environment that is safe and without risk to the health of employees. It’s not compulsory for all organisations to have a health and safety policy, but as an employer it is your duty to inform employees of work-related risks and dangers. It is good practice to ensure that you comply with the Health and Safety Act in your office environment, which includes having posters up within the office space where necessary.
Planning – To help you keep focus and work towards something, set a goal and outline a plan to achieve the goal. This plan can be adjusted as you work towards the goals. If your business has taken off and you have passed the initial startup phase, you need to start setting new goals, such as working on new products, service improvement, etc. By doing this you will keep your company viable for the future.
Use business cards to promote your business – Business cards are not old-fashioned yet and are still viable in promoting your business in a professional manner. They are used to boost your business’s image. They provide a client with the right contact details and helps imprint your branding in their memory. Business cards make it easier for clients to pass your company’s contact details to other potential clients.
Big clients – Most businesses have big spending clients and it is normal to spend more time on them than on other clients because of the income they bring in. The problem with this is that if they stop using the company, it will result in an extensive loss of income. It is advisable to not just concentrate on your big clients, but to give attention to ways of attracting new clients or converting smaller clients into bigger clients. In conclusion: give all your clients good customer service – this will attract new clients, making up the profit loss of losing big clients.
Extending credit – Note that extending credit to a client is not always a viable option, as payment is not guaranteed. This is especially true in cases where a client has not paid, but wants to order more stock on credit.
Customer Service – A business can always improve on their customer service, and this should be re-evaluated from time to time to improve or upgrade your service. Improving your customer service will keep your existing clients loyal, attract new clients and help you stay ahead of your competition. Explore customer service improvement by encouraging clients to give you suggestions, putting yourself in their shoes or researching how other businesses are keeping their clients happy.
Quality – Do not compromise the quality of your products or services because you have more customers than you can handle. Rather say no or appoint more staff to keep up a good standard for your product or service.
Decisions – Do not take decisions based on your emotions. If you are not sure about whether or not to do something, consult someone else first. When you have high emotions, rather take a step back first before taking on a situation. This is especially advised for when a supplier or customer makes your blood pressure rise.
Rejection – Not everyone is going to be excited about your business or its product. Business is not a personal thing and when consumers make their own decisions or say no to you, it is not personal. Learn how to accept rejection in a positive matter and learn from it rather than taking it personally and feeling rejected.
Healthy cash flow – Ensure you keep a healthy cash flow to pay your bills. This includes putting some of the profit away for the quieter months of the year.
Market research – Although you have already done this, you need to keep up with the trends and your target market’s interests and where you can reach them. Find new ways to market to them. This process must be repeated from time to time, as a business should keep advancing their advertising throughout the business’s life cycle.
Employing staff – make sure you know what type of skills you need in an employee when advertising a position. It is wise to hire someone that has the skills you lack and that are needed in the business. When starting up, look for a person with initiative and a positive personality/outlook on life. The person should also be self-motivated when you are not around.
Learn – Never stop learning. There are always skills you can brush up on or add to improve your business skills. Look for new things to improve or grow your business. This includes training your staff.
Management – A vital part of a business’s success is how it is managed. If you do not have a manager, you will have to make sure you manage the business and the staff, to ensure production or business processes are being completed in a timely manner. This means that you must spend time at your office and check up on the staff. When the tempo of production or processes is decreasing or client services are weakening, you need to spend more time at the office to find the cause of the problem.
Managing clients – Look after your clients and make time to answer their questions. This includes sending invoices, following up on late payments, notifying them of promotions, etc.
Companionship (support system) – If you don’t have a business partner to discuss decisions or ideas with, find other business owners to talk to that can give you advice. Learn and engage from other entrepreneurs on entrepreneurial forums. Companionship could also be family and friends. Note: don’t fully rely on other people’s advice.
You’re the boss – When starting your own company, you are the boss and you need to adjust to this role. Start-ups have more of a personal relationship with clients and staff, and at times these relationships become more of a friendship than an authority relationship. Being a boss means you need to maintain authority over staff for them to respect and listen to you. This also means creating a safe environment for them to be able to come to you with problems that they feel confident you can sort out and not discuss with other staff. It also means that you should be able to guide, inspire and even make tough decisions for staff.
Prepare for meetings – When meeting a client, do research on the client and form an idea of how you can help them before the meeting.
Update – Make sure you keep your current contact information, new products (or improved products) or general information updated on all your branding (webpages, social media, flyers, business cards). This includes making sure that your website is always in a working condition.