There’s no doubt that starting and running a business comes with a long to-do list. Maintaining your normal activities will keep you busy beyond the 8-hour day in addition to the administrative activities that are essential to running your operations. This is especially onerous if you are the only one and wearing all the hats.
But before you get overwhelmed, know that there are smart tactics and strategies that you can use to your advantage. Planning and leveraging strategies for what you anticipate will help your business run more smoothly and efficiently. There will be uncertainties and unplanned events along the way, but with systems in place, you will find it less burdensome to deal with these unusual situations. This will also free up your time to focus on business development which is essential for your business’ survival, profitability and long-term growth.
Here are 5 pointed secrets you can use to grow your business smarter and faster whether you’re a sole proprietor or the one leading the pack:
Create systems so you business can run while you’re away. This will take some ground work but it will be well worth it to have a structure in place. What happens when you receive a check? What do you do when it has been 60 days and a client hasn’t paid you yet? What happens when you receive an invoice from a vendor and it needs to be paid? Determine what the key processes are in your business and document how these processes should work. For routine transactions in your business, figuring out what to do should be as simple as consulting the step-by-step written documentation of the process. Once this is in place, you can have employees or even an intern help with carrying out the behind the scenes aspect of your business while you focus on other initiatives or take a vacation!
Train your employees well. Once you begin hiring employees, make sure their roles are properly defined and they are properly trained. Take the time to get them acquainted with your business and its objectives and goals. Show them how to do their job to your satisfaction; this will be more efficient than you having to make revisions after an initial attempt. If it is possible and your budget will allow, have segregation of duties to enable your employees to become more efficient in their areas of responsibility over time. You can also alleviate the level of teaching you do if you hire individuals who are experienced in their roles and have the necessary skills.
Partner with other businesses. There’s no reason to do everything alone. Look for opportunities to partner with other businesses in ways that are mutually beneficial. You will both save time and money and will be more efficient. Talk to your clients to find out what they need help with. If it is something that is beyond your area of expertise and you know someone who can deliver, make the introduction. Similarly, develop a relationship with a network of businesses that do the same for you. This works well with businesses in different industries since they are not your direct competitors.
Leverage established networks. If your business is new and still small, look for ways to get your name out there. Consider advertising in established email marketing newsletters or on blogs and websites that have a lot of traffic. If you have your own blog, consider writing for other blogs with a larger number of readers. Another business may have a short-term project that you may be able to use your skills to assist with so consider such opportunities as they will also give you access to a wider audience.
Find mentors who have been there and done it. There are business principles that are tried and true. So no matter what industry you’re in, there are basic things that could help your business if you know about them and apply them correctly. Develop a relationship with a few mentors who are willing to share their insight with you based on their experiences. People love to give back and tell their stories. Listen attentively, ask questions and share your goals so they can help point you in the right direction.
Have you used similar tactics to grow your business before? Do you have other tactics that you’ve used? What results have you seen with your strategies and which ones are the most effective?
Dasanj Aberdeen is an entrepreneurial spirit who embodies the combination of left-brain logic and right-brain imagination as a businesswoman and artist. She founded TheAfter5Edge.com as a platform for encouraging others to optimize their potential by discovering and leveraging their strengths to obtain their competitive edge in business and life. She is a graduate of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Follow her on Twitter at: @DasanjAberdeen or @TheAfter5Edge.
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