Planning for business success can make the difference between a thriving, profitable company and a business on life support.
Now is the perfect time to reflect on the changes you want or need to make in your business. Whether your business is gasping for air or ready to improve its peak performance, employing practical achievement principles can catalyze your small business success.
To help you get started, I have curated a collection of best practices -- in collaboration with leading entrepreneurs across multiple industries -- to reveal our favorite proven success strategies.
In today's dynamic global business environment, with increased access to knowledge (by way of the Internet), collaborative resources and crowdsourced capital every entrepreneur can effectively plan for small business success.
Here are seven proven small business success tips to help you get started:
1. Manage your cash flow. According to Bill Clark, President and Founder of MicroVenture Marketplace, "Your bottom line is extremely important, and overspending could make the difference in whether or not you are able to grow and be profitable. Review your budget quarterly, at a minimum, and look for ways to cut your costs and operate more efficiently without cannibalizing the customer experience..."
2. Humanize your social media marketing efforts. "Let some of your most influential company leaders interact on your social media networks. Everyone in your company has a personal brand and a story to tell. Remember, your customers do not buy what you do -- they buy why you do it. Social media is the perfect platform to show your customers the face behind the brand they love," suggests Amy Jo Martin, New York Times Best-Selling Author and CEO and Founder of Digital Royalty.
3. Shut up and listen to your customers. "A Fortune 100-sized company, one of our larger clients, recently came to us for a solution that we thought already existed. When we discovered that it did not exist, we asked, "Why not just create it ourselves?" If a larger company is looking for a specific solution, imagine how many other companies might be as well," said Kenny Nguyen, CEO and Founder of Big Fish Presentations.
4. Invest in your team. "Build loyalty from your most important asset: your team," said Chris Myers, CEO & Co-founder of BodeTree. "Find ways to invest in your employees and cultivate their talents. This does not necessarily mean monetary rewards. Take interest in things that inspire them. Find ways for your team to grow alongside the company..."
5. Lose excess business weight. Nina Kaufman, Esq., CEO & Founder at Kaufman Law PLLC suggests that, "In a still-fragile economy, now is the time to get lean and strong. Stop doing things that are unproductive and not giving you leverage. Release underperforming employees, lackadaisical suppliers, and unprofitable product or service lines. Your body cannot carry excess weight well, and neither can your business."
6. Be trend savvy, not trend silly. "Each year, a multitude of marketing reports are released like fireworks at a parade," said Kimberly Bordonaro, President of Kimberly Bordonaro Personal Branding. "It is easy to get caught up in the hype of emerging trends. Before you apply trends to your business, ask yourself...'Can this trend inspire a new product or service that solves our customer's pain points?' Only adopt business trends that positively align with your brand vision. A business trend may be cool, but leave it alone if it does not impact your bottom line."
7. Be present. Tony Gaskins, CEO & Founder, Gaskins Productions recommends, "Do not work against the past or stress over the future. Take care of the moments, and the days will take care of themselves. Innovate every second of the day, and that innovation will separate you by light years from those who attempt to compete with you."
How will you plan for small business success?