Small business: Are all your ducks in a row?
The challenges of 2011/12 have been more worrying than ever before. There are some real reasons for this. Italy and Spain are in preparation ot sell debt amid concerns that Europe's fiscal crisis is infecting bigger economies, debt levels are more than 25% higher than the Great Depression and the US - well, we are all aware what is going on there.
For many small business owners, we are now down to the business end of the year. To make a dollar or for some, to survive another year.
While it has been tough and most small businesses can attest to this, those who are investing in their product and service offering, are fairing better than those who are saving every penny and hoping for a better day.
I am an optimist in every sense of the word. My glass is half full and there is a lot more left in the jug. But as I use positivity to spearhead my next steps, I am acutely aware that 'having all your ducks in a row' is paramount to not only surviving but growing your business and moving forward.
As a small business owner, there are many things to consider:
- Writing your business strategy for the next 6 months, 12 months, 5 years or adjusting the one you already have
- Getting departmental heads to buy-in to the strategy and provide valuable feedback
- Setting some BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) for the business
- Innovation: keeping your business moving forward across all pillars
- Application: not just thinking about where you want to be, but working out how you are going to get there
- Doing end of financial year accounts
- Cash flow forecasts for the year
- Review of debt or investment accounts
- Quality control and security over financial records and bank accounts
- Development of marketing strategy. A marketing strategy can be developed for as little as $199 at a Marketing Eye workshop or have an expert develop one for you for just $2,990. It will be the best investment you have ever made, because this direction and accountability will ensure that your business capitalises on your assets (people, product, services) and delivers on your business plan.
- Website: Never underestimate the power of a website. I still hear companies say that their websites are not important to their business. That is a load of bulls**t. These companies just have not figured out how to use the internet to influence a buyers decision making process. Improving your website through Marketing Eye conducting an audit costs as little as $350, with a refresh starting at $990. There are literally thousands of web companies in the market, so choose one that works with your business and has the same philosophies as yourself. Also, ensure that they understand where your business is heading and how you want to get there.
- Social Media: Every business in today's competitive environment requires a social media presence. That may mean just a Linkedin account, or it may mean a complete integrated social media strategy around mediums that influence the buying decisions of your target audience. In 2012/13, a small business cannot afford to not invest in a proper social media strategy that ties into their marketing plan.
- Marketing Campaigns: Every business should have 2 or 3 hero marketing campaigns for a 12 month period. If you have not already started, then perhaps sit down with your marketing people or your senior management team and work out how marketing can underpin your sales initiatives. Integrate offline marketing with online marketing.
- Sales: Whoever leads your sales team needs training - regardless of how good they think they are. They can be better. We all can. Sales Coach Academy is a company I highly recommend as being instrumental in training and coaching sales managers, entrepreneurs and sales directors. www.salescoachacademy.com
- Invest in your people: host a workshop to work out what your team would like to see 'more of' in the next financial year. Is your company culture on track? Do your people feel inspired and proud of the brand they work for?
- Invest in good leaders - yourself and others in your small business that are already in management positions or that are potential future leaders.
- Re-jig your bonus scheme to accomodate the current market conditions. Ensure that there is plenty of upside to people who 'bring in the business' and perform.
- Get rid of the dead wood. Anyone who is not 100% on the team will only infect the future of your business.
- Share your business plan with every single employee. Not just management and sales teams. You will be surprised by how much this will inspire everyone to work towards the one common goal.
Today, I am going through this list and ensuring that Marketing Eye is 100% on track to success and reaching our company goals. Can you add anything to this list?