The business world is very dynamic. Practices, knowledge and skills keep advancing and evolving. To keep stay and stay ahead your must keep improving your business and ultimately improve your business. How do you go about these? The following points would help you.
1. Do Self-Analysis
When you set out for your business you had some goals, aspirations and visions you want to achieve. You went ahead to develop a business plan and set some targets and milestones for yourself. Now what has happened? Better still what has happened to those documents containing your plans, targets, goals and aspirations? Have they gathered some brown and gray powder in some obscure place or strong room in your office and cabinet? Maybe you have even forgotten where they are? No, you cannot now remember what those targets are anymore.
Here is the acid test to how serious you really are in business. Tell me; www.dobizness.com
what is the mission and vision of your business? Do not cheat and so do not flip the papers.
What did you originally plan to achieve by way of margins, profits and balance sheet size at the end of the first year?
Do you know and can you explain them?
Now let us ask, what are the values or philosophy/ethics of your business and company?
What has happened to the industry in recent times? What impact has these had on your business? What industry developments are anticipated and how prepared are your for them? What about the political, social and technological landscape? What trends have impacted on businesses and are likely to impact on them for good or for bad? It is said that luck favours the prepared. Be that lucky fellow.
These things seem mundane and ordinary but believe it they underlie how well your company keeps running after the first frenzy of setting up and launching out. Ever wondered why some businesses collapse after so many years in operation? They failed to analyse their situation and take curative actions. I can beat my chest that you do not want your business to be history. So sit down, put on your thinking cap, do some self analysis of where you are coming from, where you are now and where you are going. You may just be surprised at the results.
Some companies do this exercise using a firm of industry or business consultants. So can you. Others use their external auditors to render performance opinions. You can also. Yet so many others do this by way of management retreats or strategic planning sessions. It is all right for you to do same. Remember the words of 3M CEO, Mr James McNerney, “Better to try to herd the cats than have no cats at all”.
2. Master Business Presentations and ICT: A powerful business presentation can help improve your small business by leaps and bounds. ICT is no longer a fad. It is a daily necessity in the business world. Desk tops, laptops, tablets, blackberry, etc. In fact you are funning odd without these. You seem like a man from the 1920s. How about that? They make business and life a lot easier. Improve yourself and business by being IT compliant and fairly proficient in their use
3. Find Best Practices: Every industry has its own best practices or ways of doing things that are tested and true. Avoid wasting money and time reinventing the industry. Find out best practices, align your business and follow.
4. Organize, Organize, Organize.
How well organized are you. Do you have a business card holder? Do you neatly file away documents? Do you maintain a diary of appointments and events? Or are you still one of those with the “African Time” mentality. Keep your desk clear of everything but your computer, mouse and keyboard. Stop printing things and keep digital copies instead.
5. Read, Read, Read!
The importance of reading for every business owner cannot be overemphasized. www.dobizness.com
And there are hosts of materials to be read. Sad to say, most small business owners do not read.
Oh yeah, they read of soft sell magazines that add little or no value.
What happened to the daily newspapers, the financial and business papers, the weekly and monthly business journals, the industry and professional publications, the business books, etc? They are wealth of information, knowledge and business. You should try to read somethingat least once a month. Try to read as many books on business.
Reading can improve you and your business in several ways. Reading can improve your writing skills, grammar and give you ideas. Reading can improve your creativity and skills. Even developers can benefit by reading up on new code and learning organization and hierarchy from book layouts.
The truth is, if you do not network you cannot go very far in business. Why? Networking is about friendships; it is about relationships; it about trust; it is about giving and being given. Join networking organizations like Business Network Int’l (www.bni-ng.com, www.bni.com) which the largest and most successful networking organization in the world.
7. Increase the skill levels in your business
Successful businesses invest in skills—from the most senior to the most junior personnel. Well-trained people are more productive; able to identify and correct inefficiencies; and keep up-to-date with best practice. And when highly skilled companies are good at what they already do, they are more able to turn their attention to growth and innovation. There are many in-plant and offsite training providers around. Enrol your people and improve your business. Attend trainings, seminars, workshops and conferences. If you feel they are expensive then wait and see what ignorance and obsolesce will do to you and your business.
8. Hire the right Staff
Your most important assets and resources are your people, your employees. Your business is as good as the people who run it and work in it. If you want a great and high performing company then hire the right staff. GE in the US has the habit once of sacking the bottom 10% of staff each year and hiring another set of great talents and minds to fill their place. Your business should not be a dumping ground for the never do well or for relations and friends. Go for the best and bright minds and see changes in your business. www.dobizness.com
9. Is It Time to Think of the Next Thing?
If your business is already moving along, you may be thinking of what to do next. Then it is time to think outside the box. What is the next big challenge? Can you add a new product, a new line, a complimentary business.