1. Create your business plan
You can’t achieve business success without a plan.
This can help you to decide on the direction of your business by mapping out strategies and setting goals and objectives. It can also help you to retain control in the long run, looking at what’s working and what can be improved. A plan is also vital when it comes to showing lenders and investors why they should invest in your business.
Before you start, you need to consider whether you have a good chance at achieving success. What type of business is it? Is it worth putting your time and money into? Is there a market for what you’re selling? Most importantly, do you have what it takes to be a business owner?
A business plan also takes time, research and much preparation. If you’re unsure of where to start, you can hire a consultant, who can carefully look over your plan and provide the right advice. There are also government services that can help, providing business owners with resources, along with access to mentors, workshops and networking events.
Download our business plan template to help you get started.
2. Get business coaching
As an outside observer and expert entrepreneur, a qualified business coach can offer a wealth of knowledge that’s unique and tailored to fit your needs.
They can help define the goals you hope to meet, determine which strategies might yield the best results, strengthen your business plan, and identify and prepare you for any issues that could arise. Rather than try to avoid challenges, they help you meet them head on.
A business coach can also help you to develop soft and hard skills. With soft skills, you focus on becoming a better leader, improving on problem solving, communication, flexibility and time management. Hard skills, on the other hand, involve becoming more technically proficient.
To find the right business coach, you want someone who knows how to communicate effectively with clients and shows genuine interest in your business. They should be people-oriented, with a strong desire to help you and motivate you to reach your full potential and achieve business success.
3. Get organised to maximise your potential
Running a business can bring big responsibilities, so it’s important to keep organised. Review the goals and objectives you hope to achieve on a regular basis, ensuring that they’re clear, flexible and SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-based.
You can also delegate tasks to ensure business success, especially those that are process-oriented, help to increase cash flow, or anything you want your employees to learn how to do.
Little things like hiring a virtual assistant, taking short breaks, and maintaining a clean office space and a healthy company culture can also help boost productivity and morale.
By finding the right organisational system that works for you, you can stay focused, and give high priority tasks the time and effort they deserve, which can help your business to grow in the long term.
4. Keep your cash flow positive for business success
Maintaining positive cash flow is also one of the key steps to running a successful business, where cash coming in is greater than cash going out during the same period.
To achieve this, you’ll need to stay on top of your paperwork. Create a schedule to send out invoices using cloud-based accounting software. Avoid late payments by sending reminders a few days before and regularly chase up overdue invoices. Provide customers with a variety of payment options, like PayPal, Stripe and eWay. If you invoice customers, develop payment terms that fit your business’ needs and make sure these terms are clearly communicated to customers.If you sell to other businesses, consider Moula Pay as a way to get paid immediately when providing goods or services.
Be sure to monitor your cash flow, and review at the end of each year in an effort to reduce business costs. Regularly reassess your pricing structure and look at new ways to repackage your products or services.
You’ll also need to prepare for ups and downs in the market. The best way to do this is to create a cash flow plan, so you’re better able to plan ahead and to achieve your business goals even when times are tough. If you experience cash flow shortages or see them coming up ahead, consider a business loan to get you through the lean period and continue on the path to business success.
5. Focus on customer experience
Essential to any small business success is developing a strong relationship with your customers.
Be friendly and open, and engage with them regularly via phone, email or social media. Ask open-ended questions to give customers the chance to have their say. You can even ask for feedback to help improve your current range of products or apply it to future projects. Developing internal customer service policies and standards will also help to ensure that communication between employees and customers is always clear and consistent.
You might receive complaints from time to time, so be sure to resolve them promptly and professionally. Customers who have a good experience are more likely to recommend your business to others either through word of mouth or online.
Check What Is Customer Experience and How Can You Improve It? for ideas on how to improve customer experience.
6. Develop your marketing strategy for business success
Good marketing goes hand in hand with good customer service. In a survey for Deloitte, almost 48% of people had engaged with a company via social media in the past 12 months, while roughly 68% of Australians check out online reviews before buying a product.
In order to build up a loyal following, you need to develop online marketing strategies that are likely to achieve small business success. Create content that’s simple and thoughtful yet eye-catching. Plan social media campaigns in advance so you don’t have to spend so much time writing posts every few hours. Stay connected, monitor your social media channels and regularly respond to user comments.
You also need to develop a brand personality: Who is your product or service for? Why should potential customers follow you? How are you different from your competitors? Conducting market research can be an effective tool in answering such questions, as well as identify potential new customers, learn more about existing ones, test new markets, better understand competitors and more.
Effective Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) will also help you to achieve success, increasing your business’ ranking on Google. Learn what common terms potential customers use and try to localise your SEO on a business directory like Google My Business or Yellow Online. But don’t be tempted to stuff your content with too many keywords, otherwise Google will penalise you for it.
You also need to consider what social media platform best suits your small business. While Facebook might attract many older consumers, sites like Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat have a much younger userbase, so make sure you’re tailoring your social media campaigns to the right audience for small business success.
Download our marketing plan template for guidance for developing your own marketing plan to boost your business success.