5 ways you can help your small business thrive

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Running a small business is hard work however it can also be exceptionally rewarding. Regardless of whether your business is doing well or things have slowed down a bit, it is important to regularly analyze each area of your business. Establishing whether improvements or changes may be necessary to allow you to reach your next set of goals is essential. Here are 5 things you can do to help your small business thrive.

Focus on future goals

One of the ways we can expand and grow is to have a clearly defined set of goals. It is important to know where you want to be in a year or even five years. Setting hard but achievable targets will ensure you and your team remain focussed on the result you are aiming for. Set an annual budget each year. Involve your team and discuss how you intend achieving it. Reforecasting can be done during the year as and when necessary. At the end of your financial year, you should analyze your budget against achieved.

Monitor your outgoings

It is very important that spending is kept under control. Regardless of what is being purchased, it may affect your bottom-line profits so tracking expenditure is important. Different areas need to be analyzed. In terms of the running of the office, monitor what is being spent. You may be surprised at how much money is wasted by staff ordering stationery or office products that are not needed. If possible, make one person responsible for approving all office purchases and make sure that it’s kept to a realistic level.

In terms of salaries and expenses, try and keep things as fluid as possible. If your company uses applications like QuickBooks, there are packages available that work alongside it making the process even quicker and more intuitive. Staff log their working hours and, once approved, these seamlessly integrate into the QuickBooks timesheet allowing payment to be made faster thus saving you payroll costs in the long run. Expenses work in a similar way. This will allow you to better track expenses and make sure that they are being properly monitored.

Treat your team well

Having loyal and hard-working staff is one of the best assets any company can have. Few small businesses will thrive if they have a high staff turnover rate. If existing staff aren’t particularly happy in their surroundings it can not only decrease productivity but can affect your whole business. Annual appraisals are a great idea. This allows a discussion with each member of staff about how you, and they, feel things are going and how things could be improved. You can discuss training requirements, areas of concern and most importantly give praise for hard work. If someone feels they are appreciated for doing a good job and their efforts are recognized it will more than likely motivate them to do even better.

If you have sales staff in your team, setting achievable commission-based targets is a must. Make sure they have a clear vision of what is expected and monitor progress regularly. Also, consider offering financial benefits should targets be exceeded. Money is a good motivator. You have budgets to achieve to reach your yearly goals and your sales team should too.  For non-direct sales staff, KPI’s are a good idea. This gives each member of staff a focus.

Review your marketing strategy

Reviewing your marketing strategy can help your business thrive. We have to adapt and change with the times so it’s good to know what is working and what isn’t. Analyze your marketing expenditure against your sales ratios. If you have spent £2000 on a 3-month social media campaign, for example, has your footfall or sales increased? Do your stats show that it improved your company performance in any way? There will be times that campaigns don’t work but that doesn’t mean you should stop completely. Perhaps you need to review your targeted demographic or use different platforms instead. Over time you will find out what works best for your business.

What is the competition doing?

Knowing your direct competition is key. Carry out regularly competitors’ analyses so you can see how competitive you are in terms of service, product, and pricing. If your sales are fairly mediocre and business is booming elsewhere, it’s an indication that something needs to change. Many competitors will give you certain information fairly freely if they think they will get similar information back in return.

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