Running a business is no small feat. Sure, there are a lot of perks – and it’s completely understandable why people get into it. You get to build and follow your own vision. You get to choose a product or service that you want to dedicate your time and efforts to. You get to choose what industry you work in, what area you serve and who you take on to work in your team too. You get to choose your own working and operating hours, what you charge, where you work from. The list goes on. In short, running your own business means you gain a lot of control over your own career and your own success.
At the end of the day, you also earn a lot more if you’re successful, as you’ll be reaping the rewards of your hard work, rather than building someone else’s fortune for them. Of course, the hard part of running your own business is – well – that running a business can be difficult. You’re going to have to get to know a lot about the area you’re working in and you’re going to have to make a lot of executive decisions to keep things up, running and generating profit. If you’re new to business and are looking for ways to run your own company as effectively and efficiently as possible, you’re in luck. Here are a few key areas to focus on that can really help you along the way!
Do Your Market Research
Sure, when you start your business, you may think that you’ve got a great idea for a product or service. Chances are, it may well be. But you need to make sure that you get the thoughts of your target market and target demographic before plowing ahead with the next steps that involve time and financial investment.
You could be surprised to find that your product doesn’t take anyone’s fancy. You may find that it’s desirable but out of your demographic’s budget. You could find that it’s viable but needs specific changes made to it to get it to a stage that people will actually buy it. Market research really is one of the most valuable steps when it comes to running your business efficiently, as it can save you a lot of time and money that would otherwise be wasted on a less than perfect product or service.
Know When to Outsource
Taking staff on board is a big responsibility and something that you’re going to have to invest time and money into managing. Of course, all businesses will need staff at some point down the line, as the business grows, expands and starts making more sales. You’ll need people who are permanently on board and dedicate their working hours to your business and your business alone, knowing the ins and outs of your products or services and completing the tasks that keep the entire ship afloat. But you should also make sure that you use outsourcing wisely too.
Most businesses will have some tasks that only need to be carried out on a one-off or occasional basis. This could include anything from product photography for new lines of products to effective social media marketing from Angela Denton to web design. For these tasks, you may want to use outsourced work. Freelancers or agencies will be able to complete the tasks on your behalf without requiring the financial commitment and perks that employed staff do. Rather than paying a monthly wage or a salary, providing benefits like sick pay or annual leave, and having to make pension contributions, you will simply pay a one-off fee.
You may also want to use outsourcing for ongoing tasks that require expensive equipment, machinery, commercial space or staff that you don’t want to financially commit to yet. Manufacturing is a good example. Manufacturing can require a lot of warehouse or factory space, machinery and specialized staff – and you could find that it’s more cost effective for you to outsource shorter term or temporary manufacturing tasks to third parties for as long as you need them.
Provide Hired Teams with What They Need
As we touched on above, outsourcing is great for short term, occasional and one-off tasks, but you will need a permanent team for the roles that need to be worked on every day. If you take on a team, you’re then going to have to make sure that they have everything they need to complete their jobs to the best standard. All too many business owners take staff on and then expect them to be entirely self sufficient and support your business without any support themselves. This is never the case. You’re going to need to provide your team with everything from direction and goals to software, equipment, training, bonuses, team building and more to ensure that they can complete their jobs to the high standard you expect of them.
- Direction and Goals – your team need to know what they’re working towards, otherwise, they could find themselves aimlessly working on projects that aren’t actually bringing that much benefit to your business. This is where targets and KPIs (or “key performance indicators”) come into play. Make sure to set clear goals with deadlines and milestones that will help your team provide what you’re looking for. Have routine check ins to ensure everything is going smoothly and to plan.
- Software and Equipment – most of your team will need some sort of software or equipment to do their job. Whether that’s PPE, specific computer programs, laptops and computers, machinery or anything else. Make sure to provide quality. This will help your team to complete work to the best standard.
- Training – sure, your team may be at the top of their game when you hire them. But you need to make sure that they receive ongoing training in the workplace to keep them up to date with the latest developments in their field of specialism. They will also need more generic training, such as fire safety training, health and safety training, and more. The correct training will ensure that they are aware of the appropriate warning safety signage to use, should the need arise, and the correct action to take in any emergency situation; thus protecting both visitors and staff in the workplace.
- Bonuses – staff need incentives to strive for the best. Otherwise, why would anyone go above and beyond the basics of what is expected of them and in their contracts? Offering bonuses can be a good way to encourage staff productivity on an ongoing basis. This could be anything from a financial reward to a voucher, extra annual leave and more.
- Team Building – believe it or not, team building can really boost your business’ productivity. Team building gives your team an opportunity to break the ice. It helps them to connect, feel more comfortable approaching and talking to one another and more.
Use an Accountant and Financial Advisor
Money might not make the world go around, but it is the basis of your business and its success, so it’s important that you use financial professionals for good and thorough insight into what you’re doing at each stage of your business’ development. An accountant can help to make sure that your books are all in order, ensuring you have a thorough and in-depth record of your business’ spending in different areas, as well as how much you are generating and how much you owe out in payments such as taxes.
This information can then be taken to a financial advisor who will be able to make suggestions as to where your business could spend less, invest more and otherwise manage its finances in the best way possible. These two professionals will take out a lot of the guess work when it comes to financial management within your business and can see losses reduce, while profits go up. Just make sure that the professionals you choose are legally registered and qualified, as this is a legal process that could land you in trouble if carried out incorrectly.
Accept Other’s Expertise
When you run a business, it can be difficult to let go and allow certain elements of the company to fall into the hands and control of someone else – namely, an employee. Sure, you may want to know exactly what’s going on with every element of your business at every point. But at the end of the day, when your business grows due to its success, this will prove impossible. One person can only have so much expertise in different areas, and you need to make sure that you’re trusting the staff you’ve hired to take care of certain processes and projects. Micromanagement rarely works well and they may have insight, knowledge or expertise that you don’t in order to make better and more informed decisions for the sake of your business’ development and profits. Going so far as to have a Board of Directors may be wise. Just be sure to clearly document duties of directors of a company so that there’s no ambiguity.
Sure, this may sound like a lot to bear in mind, try out and take on. But at the end of the day, the results will all prove more than worth your time and effort if you have a successful business on your hands. Try implementing some of the tips and tricks outlined above and you should see things starting to move in the right direction!