Only 65% of SMBs will run for three years after they are launched. After a period of five years, less than 45% will survive. Why do so many small to medium businesses stumble out of the blocks? More importantly, what are the successful ones doing? Well, if you're wondering what the survivors do well, here you go.
Engaging Business Coaches
An outsider can lend an objective point of view to your business. A business coach has to be someone who has successfully managed a business on his or her own. The business coach can help you understand what changes you have to make in your business and its management.
Reviewing Budget Plans and Cash Flow
Not many SMBs are aware of how important a cash flow plan is. It is like a benchmark for your business and gives you a reflection of your company's performance. If you have not prepared one yet, it is high time you do so. For example, if you send bills every two weeks instead of every three, you fit in 26 billings in a year as opposed to 17. That's a lot better cash flow, with just a very minor tweak. Want to automate your billings to go out on a set schedule like every two weeks? Check out BillQuick here.
Reviewing Business Strategy Regularly
You have to identify your business goals and where you want to be placed after a year, two years, or five years. You can take help from your business coach to set achievable and measurable objectives. Make a note that the goals should be challenging, but still achievable. Put the pie too high in the sky and forget about your staff really giving 100% effort. With the help of the cash flow statement, you should then regularly review these goals.
Developing a Networking Strategy
Face time still helps, even in the digital age, though you can definitely still network online. Are you in a lot of LinkedIn industry groups? Have you explored whether a V-Con (virtual conference) could help you explain the benefits of your service to a large audience for a low cost? Check them out, you may be surprised by how much doing those things can help you.
Committing to Learning More
Spend some time to identify aspects of your business that require work. Identify what you are not fully knowledgeable about and later attend training as well as professional development through tertiary institutions or industry associations. Also, find out how your competitors are working. You may be able to learn something, improve on their concepts, ideas or offerings.
Communicating with Employees
Your employees are what determines whether you succeed or fail in business. Are your employees happy to work for you? Employees on a process probably know it better than anyone else in the company. You can utilize their ideas and knowledge to improve your business process, improve networking, and lower costs.
Reviewing Internal and Accounting Software
Your software should make your job easier, like the apps in your phone do. If it doesn't help you get more done, it's worth a little time of research to find something that keeps you more organized and makes the important things you do Does the software you use help you save time and effort? Or is the software creating frustration and stress? If they are giving you problems, look for products that are more suitable to your business. You can always ask for help or speak to people who know what products are available. Good software (like BillQuick) will make office management easier and make you money, not cost you money.
Maintaining Work - Life Balance
Better time management will lead to improvements in your lifestyle as well as work. You have to set time apart to enjoy life and personal relationships. To maintain a balance between your personal and professional life is probably the reason why you decided to start your own business. Don't forget that.
About the Author: Shafat Qazi, Founder and CEO of BQE Software, is an engineer-turned-entrepreneur who created the most-awarded time billing software ever, BillQuick, while still in college. He set out to make time tracking, billing, and project management easier for engineers as well as all service professionals and continues to perfect BQE Software products hands-on today.