We all know that the internet is full of useful tips and information about how to start and run a small business. Due to the amount of information available, even the most experienced entrepreneurs can sometimes no longer see the forest for the trees. We have tried to summarize this information, so that you as a business owner know what to focus on. Here are the eight most important rules for those who want to start a business or improve their small business:
1. Keep an overview of your finances
The main cause for the failure of small businesses is a lack of cash and not a lack of profit, as you might think. That is why you really need to know which parts of your company are important for your cash flow. Are you investing in an inventory? How much inventory do you need? Do you collect payments from your customers yourself? How long does it take before customers pay you? Do you have loans that you have to pay off? and so on.
There are different layers that can influence your working capital needs. To make your business successful, it is important that you are aware of this.
2. Develop strategies based on your own data
We really believe in data (just like the entire internet ;-)) and we think it is important that you base your plans on the data you have collected. That is why we believe that the owner of a small business should collect and keep as much information as possible.
If you can keep track of your strategies and base on data, you can ultimately make better business decisions.
If you keep track of key performance indicators for your business and understand how and how they are affected, you can make better decisions and keep your business on track.
Take, for example, the owner of a company who assumes that his customers normally pay within 30 days. By comparing the actual payment data with the expected data, it will soon become clear that he actually gets paid every 45 days (instead of 30 days). In that case he can quickly take out a suitable loan for small businesses, so that his working capital remains healthy and his business does not get into trouble.
3. Know your limits
Business owners often focus primarily on profit. By keeping track of how individual products and services have a (negative) impact on the results, you can limit loss and invest time and resources in the most lucrative products and / or services.
4. Your company must be found on the internet
The internet and our devices have become essential for our work and our communication with the rest of the world. If your company is where your customers are, your customers will contact you sooner. If you don’t know where to start, take a look at the free services offered by Google, Facebook, Instagram or YouTube.
5. Create a brand and a business philosophy that you fully support
People prefer to work with companies that have a solid brand and with companies that serve a higher purpose. We feel more connected to brands and companies that do not make us feel that it is only about money.
Consider the reason why you started your business. This is also the reason why your customers are so happy to work with you.
6. Invest in profitable marketing
Small business owners often feel that they do not fully understand marketing. And that is not surprising, since technology is developing at lightning speed.
What should you spend your money on? Does that work? Advertising on the radio or online? What works What not?
Small business owners are best off starting in places that are free and easy. You could start networking with local businesses and their owners. See what works for them and what doesn’t.
If you have a website, you can use Google Analytics to see (for free) how people have found your company, where they come from and how they use your website.
When you advertise, always consider how you can track the ads. If you have a special offer, you can follow it with a specific promotion code. Consider offering only one particular service or product. Try different strategies. This way you learn what works for your company and what doesn’t.
7. Talk to your customers
Every business owner needs to talk to his customers to find out what they like and don’t like. Feedback can be enormously valuable to your company. Dealing with negative criticism is often not easy, but bear in mind that you will find out which parts of your company require extra attention.
8. Know who your competitors are
Small businesses form the basis of our economy, so you will have to deal with competition – unless you have found a niche. To run a business, it is very important that you know and understand your competitors.
In summary, these are the eight most important items:
- Keep an eye on your finances. If you need a business loan, you can request it here. You will receive an honest and quick answer. We believe in simple and fast financing for small businesses.
- Follow and use your own data when developing strategies
- Know which products or services have added value for your operating result
- When your customers visit you online, it is important that you know which platforms they use. Immerse yourself in this.
- People like to feel connected to a company, so also view your brand from this perspective
- Invest in marketing that delivers to your customers. If your customers are online, you may have to try to be in the same place at the same time 😉
- Talk to your customers and listen to them. Listening can be painful, but we think it’s worth it
- Keep an eye on your competitors
Where is the focus within your company? Maybe this list is not entirely complete for your industry. If so, we would like to hear from you.
Hopefully you found this article interesting. Hope to see you again!