Making progress is all about taking risks and learning from them, whether they pay off or not. However, there are some common mistakes many business owners are still making, perhaps without even realising it.
If you are very involved with your business’s day-to-day operations, perhaps you need to take a step back and evaluate whether you’re looking at the bigger picture and planning for the future.
If you are fixated on the present, the following are some forward-thinking changes you could benefit from:
1. Drop problematic clients
The prospect of losing a client is horrifying for most business owners. It reeks of failure and a drop in profits, but when you consider how much time, energy and resources can be sunk into retaining difficult clients, you will realise it’s more profitable to cut your losses.
You can invest all that manpower into landing new leads and looking after existing clients who are more of an asset to your business.
2. Customer service is non-negotiable
Every business proudly states that they make customer service a priority, but whether they stick to this is another matter entirely.
Going above and beyond for your clients is no longer a point of difference you can flaunt to sell yourself over the competition. It’s mandatory. Customer satisfaction is the number one priority of every business and this means always being on hand to answer questions, resolve problems and offer assistance.
If you don’t have the resources to dedicate to this level of customer engagement, you should take a look at restructuring your priorities.
3. Diversify revenue streams for your own survival
Channelling all your time and energy into keeping a large client with a strong revenue stream happy may seem like a smart business move, but it could be disastrous for you if this client leaves you. Always prepare for the worse and ensure you have revenue streams coming in from multiple sources. This way, you will be able to survive the loss of one, or more, of your clients.
4. Always keep a backup of important files
This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised by how many business owners forget to back something up and end up losing everything.
Don’t grow lax and only occasionally back your information up. Make it an ingrained habit to ensure you always have a spare presentation, sales pitch or client project should the unthinkable happen and your servers crash. Having a cloud-based storage solution will ensure your backup is safe and isolated.
5. Keep in tune with your industry
If there’s new technology coming out that has been designed specifically for your industry, you should be aware of it and already settled on whether you’ll utilise it or not. It’s far too easy to get left behind in the fast-paced world of technology, and if you’re not keeping up-to-date on new and emerging tools, you’re likely to become outclassed.
The same logic applies to new industry regulations, policies, laws and any other information that could be crucial to your business.
6. Foster a strong business network
Never underestimate how invaluable your network can be. From suppliers, investors, distributers, manufacturers and business partners to investors and consumers, you never know when a contact could become an asset further down the line.
There are many networking events to choose from and while many may seem like a waste of time, sometimes it’s that one golden connection that makes all the difference. After all, it’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know.
7. What’s the competition up to?
Never blatantly copy the competition, but don’t disregard them either. What are they up to? What’s working for them? What isn’t? What changes have they made recently and have they changed back? If not, whatever they’ve done is probably working for them. Always consider how your own business sizes up and what you can be doing to make it better.
8. Don’t be reckless, but don’t waste time
Every big decision in business is typically time sensitive and comes with a degree of risk. Always conduct your analysis of the situation so as to not go in blind, but don’t drag your feet and take too long to decide either. Many prosperous decisions come with a tight window of opportunity and need to be seized when the moment is right.
9. Always have a game plan
While it’s important to live in the moment, the same cannot be said for business. Considering the future is a core requirement of success and will prepare you for both challenges and opportunities that might come your way.
Figure out where you want your business to go and make a business plan to ensure you get there. This could be to increase your conversion rates, generate a certain amount of new leads by the end of the month, improve efficiency or spread brand awareness.
Even if you only implement half of these changes, you will have prepared you and your business for the future and any potential obstacles that emerge.
Paul Finn is the CEO and founder of WebsiteDesign.com.au.