As the owner of any business, finding what works in your industry is important and will, ultimately, decide whether your venture is a success or not. In the present day, it is arguably more difficult than ever to succeed no matter what industry you are active in.
Of course, some sectors are more difficult to crack than others due to a highly saturated market and modern demands. For example, high street retailers have encountered hard times due to stiff competition from online retailers such as Amazon taking away much of their custom. To succeed, there are several vital components that should be in place before opening your doors.
Here, we will look at 10 essentials for any business hoping to make it:
Sound Business Plan
At the very top of this list is a sound business plan that not only clearly presents the mission of the company and its goals, but also details a contingency plan if, and when, things do not go as planned. As there are many outside factors that can affect business, having clear long and short-term plans will help to safeguard its future.
As well as this, no potential investor worth their salt will be willing to get involved in the business should you seek investment without seeing a five-year plan and annual sales projections.
“Build it and they will come.” That simply doesn’t wash within a market of hundreds, if not thousands, of competitors all vying for customers. If no one knows who you are, or where you conduct your business, you’re not going to have a lot of business.
In an age where most of the public is on social media, scrolling through timelines filled with their favorite brands and influencers, it is up to you to go to where your customers are. By considering who your target audience is and what issues are important to them, you can begin to get a good idea as to where you should place your business. An effective marketing campaign isn’t an accessory, it’s a necessity.
A Quality Product
When it’s all been said and done, your company simply must be able to offer a quality product or service to keep the customer happy. If you cannot offer this, sooner or later you will learn just how fast word can travel. Equally, a quality product will ensure that the customer returns to your business, making them more likely to recommend your product or service to others. You cannot rely solely on new businesses to maintain a healthy cash flow in the business.
People buy from people and even if your product is the absolute best on the market if your company is difficult to conduct business with – this goes for both B2B and B2C – the customer will look elsewhere.
Providing a reliable service helps to form a valuable trust with the customer, who needs to be assured that not only can you offer a product or service that he or she needs at that time, you can keep to what is promised. This is arguably more important in aftersales, assisting the customer with any questions or issues they may have.
With a quality product and reliable services comes positive reviews. Seeing a positive, often five-star, review left next to your company is a major trust factor that convinces customers to come to you. If you find a business on Google search and see nothing but negative reviews with comments filled with horror stories, you are much less likely to use their services.
Remember, even if the product is the best on the market doesn’t guarantee a positive review, with many low scores attributed to poor levels of service. That means making sure that you, and any members of staff offer a high level of service to ensure customer satisfaction, even if you can’t offer the perfect solution.
Safeguarding your business against all eventualities is a must, especially when it comes to theft. All companies from retail to construction need CCTV cameras, such as those that can found here, at any premises in which business is conducted and/or stock/valuable materials are stored.
Just the mere presence of a CCTV camera can be enough to dissuade opportunists from trying their luck and breaking into your property. If they still fancy their luck, however, you can ensure that the recording is used in any criminal proceedings.
Company insurance is vitally important to help recoup the costs of any damage to the business caused by theft, vandalism or any other possibilities. Public liability insurance, while not mandatory in the UK, is essential if members of the public come to your premises or could be hurt in any way by your business’ activity. Employers’ liability insurance is a legal requirement in the UK and any business found to be trading without this in place can face action.
As well as ensuring you meet the legal requirements for insurance, your business must ensure that company accounts are properly filed at the end of each financial year. Employing the services of an accountant means that you, as the business owner, do not have to worry about crunching the numbers at the end of each year.
A company account, while not cheap, will save money in the long-run by filing your accounts and making sure that the business pays the correct amount of tax – any discrepancies in tax returns can result in a hefty fine.
Retaining your best employees is essential for moving the business in the right direction. Any company with a high level of staff turnover is likely as a result of the poor atmosphere within the business, which then has a negative effect on results.
Being able to call upon the assistance of a member of staff with multiple years of service and experience is invaluable – it just isn’t something that money can buy. Make sure to keep a good healthy atmosphere at your place of work, because if your staff doesn’t enjoy working for you, they won’t be hanging around for long.
Clear Pay and Rewards Structure
While a good atmosphere does help to retain staff, they certainly don’t work for free. Even if they love their job and the company, the lure of a better package elsewhere can be too hard to turn down, so you need to make sure that the business has a clear pay and rewards structure for employees.
Regular reviews, with an open and honest conversation, between employees and management, are highly beneficial to both parties. Employees will naturally come and go, but you don’t want to lose anyone, especially a talented member of staff, because of financial incentives.
By implementing these 10 essentials, you are giving your business a fighting chance of making it, even in the most highly competitive of markets.