Prepare for success in 2018: Focus on your fundamentals
As we usher in a new year, the desire and excitement of trying new and bigger things often lead to the basics being neglected. While there isn’t a single formula for success, focusing on the following fundamentals during this time of the year will help your business build momentum for the months to come.
Stay on top of your numbers
A healthy cash flow is important for any business, but most especially for SMEs. This ensures that all your suppliers, staff, and bills get paid. To build a strong foundation for your business, it’s necessary to get into the habit of keeping track of your revenue and expenses.
Having a good relationship with your suppliers and staff is the best way to guarantee that your customers get the best products and service possible. But despite doing your due diligence and sending out invoices, it’s unavoidable to have clients who don’t pay on time. So how do you chase your money and keep customers happy without burning bridges?
You can avoid overdue payments by discussing how your billing system works the minute a customer signs up. Set client expectations early on, and offer automatic payment methods that they can just set and forget, such as a direct debit arrangement. When chasing up invoices is unavoidable, be sure to communicate with a friendly yet firm tone.
Step into your customer’s shoes
It’s easy to get caught up in what you think your business is, but do your customers see differently? Business plans and theories are not worth the paper they’re written on if their perception of you don’t match up. Take a moment to step back and look at your company from a fresh perspective.
In this day and age, online reputation can make or break a business. Be aware of what results comes up when you do an online search of your company. Update your website with relevant information and check for any roadblocks to your online sign-ups. It also helps to keep your social media accounts active and engage with potential customers that leave comments or questions on your page.
The same thing applies to your offline interactions. Are you sending potential customers to voicemail and losing them to competitors? People have gotten used to instant communications, but still prefer talking to a real person over machines. To get the best of both worlds, it’s better to have a live answering service to take your calls and messages. This way, you can delegate your calls to professional operators, without the guilt of losing customers.
Become an expert learner
Along with great customer service, your industry expertise is what sets you apart from competitors. Confidence in your knowledge is good, but not to the point of becoming complacent. Even with years of experience under your belt, there is always more to learn about your market and your business.
New research, techniques, and technology are discovered every single day. Feed your curiosity and be open to information in and around your field. Being an industry expert gives you a better chance of success in expanding and growing your business.
It’s true that entrepreneurship is unpredictable. But things like bookkeeping, customer service, and learning/development—these are crucial factors that you have control over. By sticking to the basics and putting in the effort needed to build a strong base, your business will have no problems taking on any challenge that this year may bring.