Back to basics: 8 key business drivers

Female hands working on calculator.So you’ve been running your business a while now, and it’s going … well, the way it’s always done. You might be feeling, like many business owners I work with, that there must be a better way to do some things.

There are glitches, annoyances, recurring problems that keep you awake at night and mean you can’t turn your phone off. (Go on, think about it now. What would happen if you turned off your phone for 48 hours? A week? Did that scare you? Oh dear. Keep reading!)

When you start a business you start with the basics and work your way out from there. It’s easy to forget that actually, the basics always remain absolutely central to how well your business performs year on year, how easy your job is, how good your staff retention is, how smooth your cashflow is and how well you attract and keep customers.

So here are eight areas that are the basics of your business drivers. Answer yes to most or all of these, and you have a thriving, valuable business. Answer no to half or most, and you’re right to be scared.

  1. A quality product. Are you still focused on offering products or services that you genuinely believe in? This isn’t just a driver of business, it’s a driver of you and your staff. If it’s got diluted or compromised, now is time to realign with it.
  2. Getting noticed where it counts. Do you have a clear message about why your product or service is so good, and communicate that to the right markets?
  3. Making the most of what you have. Are you taking full advantage of the opportunities already available to you, like the location of your premises, the expertise of your staff, the equity in your business?
  4. The bottom line. Is your cashflow regular and plentiful? Are you paying more than you should for some supplies, or charging less than you should for some products? Do you chase defaulters? Thank prompt payers?
  5. Sustainability. Do you have a broad and loyal customer base and a range of key suppliers? Do you aim for steady, manageable growth?
  6. Diversification. Have you got ideas about how you might extend your product or services into new markets or new offerings?
  7. Capacity. Have you got the time, funds and appropriate staff or other resources to act on your ideas for the business?
  8. Internal support. Do your back-office systems actively help your business sell products, implement improvements, receive money and keep customers? Will they run without you if you’re hospitalised for a month?

How did you go? The good news is that there are many ways to turn any of these areas around, they’re likely to be easier than you think and, in most cases, one solution will improve many areas. If you’d like to know more, give me a call.

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