Growing Your Small Business

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As your small business continues to grow, you may be tempted to explore new ways of implementing change. Before implementing strategies off the cuff, look at successful businesses around you and compare their practices to yours, then make adjustments accordingly. However, there are best practices that you can begin to implement immediately which are proven to work. 

Best Practice Utilisation

Best practices are measures that have been proven to work effectively while affording you the ability to meet your company’s targets and forward goals.

Best practices will also help you measure your growth and allow you to compare your approaches to other successful businesses, even if they are not within your industry.

Technical and Management Specifications 

Technical and Management Specifications are established by the British Standards Institution (BSI), and the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO).

Technical standards are basically guidelines and procedures for quality testing of products, processes, or services. Management standards are specific business models that are proven to be best practices.

By using the Technical and Management Specifications, you can:

  • Compete on a higher level
  • Work more effectively and reduce business costs
  • Reach new markets and bring in higher profits
  • Move forward with technological advances
  • Be more flexible
  • Enhance the skill levels of your service or staff
  • Keep up with new innovations

Management Best Practices

Management Best Practices are:

  • Open communication
  • Working in a effective manner to reach your goals
  • Develop and use detailed strategy plans
  • Lead by example

Useful tools that help you implement these best practices include:

  • Benchmarking,
  • Forecasting
  • Strategic and financial planning
  • Performance monitoring

Key Performance Indicators (KPI) measure work efficacy against target realisation through data collection and analysing staff performance and retention and quality assurance and profit margins. The same tools that help you implement best practices can also help you discover problem areas within your business that may prevent you from reaching high efficiency and slow your goal realisation. Because data is collected regularly when using these tools, management is always updated on company progress.

Open communication means more than just listening to your workers when they have problems, issues, or ideas. It means keeping staff updated on your target goals and the strategies used to reach them. Your staff also needs to understand their individual or collective role(s) in the growth of your company.

Staff Management and Communication 

Helping your staff reach their full potential entails:

  • enlisting an open communication policy
  • keeping your staff involved in business development
  • providing training and development so your employees can move up in the company
  • implementing a reward and incentive system.

Making your staff feel they are part of the bigger picture, have an active role in the success of the company and understand that their efforts matter. Adding in open communication policies will also help employees feel more important and more likely to discuss problem areas of the business with you.

These management and communication practices can be employed across all areas of your company, as should an easily accessible and continuously updated list of policies and procedures. When combined with quality control procedures, frequent performance assessments, and internal communication, these best practices will increase your company’s success.

Ways to Improve Business Operations 

Information management, quality control, and purchasing are specific areas that often benefit the most from best practice methods including benchmarking and regular reviews. After you have identified problem areas and are ready to make changes, be sure to inform your staff of the changes and why they are being made. Depending on the issue, you may want to tell customers or vendors about the changes.

Modern Sales and Marketing Practices 

Technology has opened the door for nearly any business to reach a worldwide market. Online tools include the Internet, email, and now, mobile technologies. Newsletters, websites, blogs, email, social networking, and mobile texting makes reaching and communicating with your potential customers or regular clients fast and easy. The benefits of this digital marketing include:

  • Affords the smallest business access to a worldwide market
  • Levels the playing field between small and large businesses
  • Easier to reach your target audience via advertising
  • Flexibility, portability, and ease, without being tied to an office

Though the benefits of online selling are great, be sure to review the laws regarding ecommerce, including the Distance Selling Regulations.

Information Technology 

The Internet has had an extreme impact on nearly every size business, including by enhancing their proficiency, speed, and effectiveness. Information technology (IT) including wireless networking, allows staff and employees to access their work anywhere they have access to a Wi-Fi signal.

Keep in mind however that IT comes with risks that must be addressed through various forms of security. Security protocols must be developed and updated regularly. Staff must be trained in these security measures, and must understand how important confidentiality really is. Lax security can have a significantly negative impact on a company and its customers.

Innovation

Creativity in the workplace should be appreciated and welcomed. Meeting innovation and creativity with an open mind can give you an edge over your competitors and increase popularity among your clients, especially since the changes may come from a customer suggestion.

Complacency is lethal to a business, so update your products and services often to meet the changing demands of your clients. Your skilled employees and management staff may have a plethora of ideas regarding improving the offerings of your company. Make sure you remain open minded and that innovative ideas are met with sincerity as even the most minor change can have a positive effect on sales, profits, and customer satisfaction.

Contributed by Lifesure Group

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