Many of my clients have set themselves the same Financial New Year’s Resolution – to make this year more prosperous than the last – and certainly that’s a good one! However, I like to think that improving your business is as much about exploring new opportunities as it is repeating the time-tested strategies ‘that work.’ Here, I list five tips that I give to clients who are preparing for their next big project.
- Be Ready to Customise for your Customers
The needs of your customers are as complex as the industry they operate within, and so a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to your engagement with them is increasingly not enough. Meet with your customers often, ensure you keenly understand their business objectives, and collaborate with them to develop tailored and personalised strategies that will serve you both well.
As part of this, ensure that your customers describe their aims and priorities. It’s better to follow their vision and suggest improvements instead of pushing a rigid plan on them from stage one. It is their business, after all!
- Be Flexible
If you are starting a new business, or expanding upon a current one, it can be easy to underestimate the sheer breadth of experience and skill that is necessary to get it off the ground. Few business managers are masters of Sales, HR, and Operations (to name only a few!) all in themselves, so it is vital to trust the professionals around you. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge the limits of your own expertise, and to seek advice when you need it, and even when you don’t. Your business will only benefit if you consult widely and consider a range of different perspectives before making big decisions!
Business advice shouldn’t only come from your employees – make friends and network with other industry leaders, and swap ideas with them too. The more insight you can get on the operations of a successful business, the better.
- Be Cautiously Optimistic
Not every new business venture is destined for greatness, and this is a risk every business owner must take. Temper your expectations, celebrate your victories both great and small, and carefully consider what can be improved for next time. Even if your business does not grow as you had hoped, it presents a valuable learning experience that you can bring to future projects.
- Take Care of Yourself
In the day-to-day operations of any business, new opportunities will arise at a steady click. Though it is tempting to say ‘yes’ to everything, it pays to be selective. To avoid the stress of overwork, and to ensure that your own business goals aren’t overwhelmed and lost in the flurry of activity, take a moment to ask: is there a personal benefit to me, and does this personal benefit extend to my business? Small projects might feel productive in the short-term, but take on too much and that may become a harmful distraction!
Additionally, when considering new projects also take into account your work-life balance. Your career and your personal interests are not mutually-exclusive: be sure to take time for what makes you feel happy and comfortable.
- Take Time to Reflect
Set yourself specific goals for each quarter, month, or even week, and actively evaluate your progress towards them. As a business manager, it is easy to become absorbed in the day-to-day role of the job, and to consequently lose sight of your greater long-term (and often intangible) objectives. It helps to organise your goals into themes, and to commit to giving these themes equal amounts of attention. For instance: how successful was your latest marketing campaign? Could you or your staff use further training? What was the profitability of your latest product or service this week?
Taking a moment to analyse the performance of your business not only allows you to see potential areas of improvement, but also helps you affirm the strategies that are best working for you.
At Chan & Naylor, we pride ourselves on giving you the best financial advice, as drawn from a combined knowledge of wider industry and your business’ intricate operations. Book an appointment to discuss the finer details or improving your business, and take advantage of our excellent bookkeeping services to make your business management more efficient.