Maree Hamilton gives her tips on how to stop trying to be all things to all people and build the kind of relationships that will enable your business to flourish.
Do you dream of having your business operating on autopilot? Feel guilty that you are not spending enough time with your loved ones? Sometimes feel frustrated and wish you never went into business in the first place?
There is a no-brainer solution to solve the problem that you can’t be all things to all people. Imagine if you left your business running efficiently without you - having a wide range of experts helping with your social media, marketing, public relations etc. Better still, imagine not having to pay employees, superannuation and workcover!
As a CPA accountant with over 20 years experience in the tax and accounting field and consulting to small business, I analysed the traits that successful businesses had in common.
The meaning of a successful business can be different for everyone but many people consider success to include a combination of more money, improved cash flow, time, freedom, flexibility and control. We all enter the business world because we are chasing dreams. The reality is almost every entrepreneur is overworked and underpaid and if you calculated your actual hourly rate you would be in tears! Most businesses need employees to allow the owner to concentrate on building and marketing the business for growth. The fact is that most businesses initially simply cannot afford to have staff.
Time is the one thing we can’t buy more of – TIME IS MONEY as we say in the business world. One way to create the time you crave is to work on your business and not in it. My secret “Blueprint for Business Success” is a solution for small business owners that came about by surveying the businesses in my network. The overwhelming challenge for 95 per cent of members was managing their time and not being able to market their goods and services efficiently as well as maintain an active social media presence and keep up with administration.
My business blueprint is a step-by-step system to guide business owners to build an empire whilst allowing them the freedom that they desire. It also covers bartering services and providing services that other people find valuable in return for them sharing the workload. The following factors were all common to successful businesses that I was consulting with:
Passion – passion in business is contagious and can provide momentum to drive your business forward. Basically you need to work out those aspects of your business that you enjoy and are passionate about. Concentrate more on these roles and outsource others that you don’t enjoy.
Relationships – work on how you relate to others and be a good listener. Business relationships are built on trust and this can be a great source of referrals. Building your own network of business alliances will make it easier to grow your business. The people you’ve built relationships with will form an army of advocates for your business.
Empathy – put yourself in your customers shoes and experience their feelings.
Marketing – marketing is essential for every business. Survey your customers and prospects. Your product or services must meet their needs and solve their problems.
Innovation – your business faces fierce competition. Improve what you do in an innovative way that will demonstrate your point of difference.
Learn how to maintain positive cash flow – understand your financial statements and learn how to work on your cash flow position. This is a challenge for businesses of all sizes!
Media – become an expert at gaining exposure for your business and profile. There is an art to gaining media exposure – once you master it, your profile will skyrocket.
THE most important thing you can do now is to work and improve on how you build relationships with others, especially people that you don’t know. All business is built on relationships and the better you network, the more your business will grow. Your big business break may come down to one conversation with a key decision maker of a company. If you cannot relate well to others then you may lose out to someone who can.
You can achieve more than you are now – you just need to think outside the square and be able to solve your target market’s problems in a creative way.
Opinion: Why do so many claim to represent small businesses?
By Adam Zuchetti
Opinion: House prices not all doom and gloom
By Adam Zuchetti
Analysis: How can SMEs realistically stay competitive?
By Adam Zuchetti