Running a business is hard work (but you know that already). Running a successful business is even harder, requiring years of developing and perfecting pertinent industry skills. Knowing your customers, creating a positive work environment, and mastering your own abilities are common practices for entrepreneurs. But what about the skills that take you from good to great and set you apart from your competition? Some things are better learned under the guidance of an experienced mentor—someone who has been there, done that, and seen it all.
Fast-track your learning curve and watch this informative webinar hosted by our CEO, Jordan Fein, to learn 7 Secrets to Running a Successful Business. Keep reading for a summary of his secrets and expert insights.
1. Establish a Company Culture
The personality of your business is a direct reflection of you as the owner. It’s crucial for small businesses to establish a culture that attracts the right employees and customers. With a positive culture, your employees will be happier, their productivity will be higher, and you will retain the best people, putting your business in a good position to succeed and grow.
2. Listen More, Speak Less
When someone speaks to you, don’t listen for the sake of hearing—instead, listen with intention. There are 3 main forms of listening:
- Informational listening so you can learn
- Critical listening so you can evaluate and analyze
- Therapeutic or empathic listening so you can understand a feeling or emotion
Listening is an important skill worth mastering, because it will ensure that your employees and customers feel valued and heard. Strong listening skills will build relationships, support good decision making, make you a better seller and influencer, help you detect and solve problems fast, and ultimately save you time and money.
3. Develop Your Patience
Patience truly is a virtue, and one that takes an incredible amount of awareness and discipline to develop. Patience is especially important for small business owners because it allows you to take time to think strategically and completely evaluate a situation or possible decision before you act. Patience also gives your team a chance to catch up to your ideas, help you set realistic timelines, and prevent jumping to hasty or incorrect conclusions, which will ultimately help you foster better outcomes and results.
When aiming to develop and improve your patience, try these tactics:
- Take a proactive approach by thinking about what makes you impatient before you have to deal with it
- Slow down before you act
- Practice thinking before you speak
- Stop focusing on things that don’t matter
- Most importantly, breathe!
4. Give More Than You Take
Is your offering worth the price? Is there any hidden value worth promoting? Do you need to change your product or service? Can you give up anything short-term to gain more in the long-term? These are all important questions to consider when evaluating your business and your value proposition.
When it comes to providing value, it’s important to give more than you take because it helps build trust with your consumers, which in turn allows for sustained growth over time. Providing more value also creates happier customers and employees who are more inclined to share their experiences. People love talking about a great product or service experience, and word of mouth is still the best form of advertising. Social media and online reviews are also key in today’s digital world and are worth paying attention to so you can listen to consumer feedback and tailor your offerings to them.
5. Keep Your Company Lean
By not over investing in goods or products, expensive equipment, a fancy office, or even additional employees, you can focus on keeping your business’s finances lean. This is important because it allows you to recover faster if you make a mistake, which can help avoid a catastrophic situation or any serious cash flow problems.
Staying lean improves your bottom line in the long run, enables you to better manage your cash flow, and puts you in a stronger position to provide more value to your customers and employees. You can start to cut back in your business by:
- Repurposing items and supplies whenever possible (and whenever it’s safe)
- Creating a budget and reviewing your expenses regularly
- Working with your vendors to strike a better deal on inventory and raw materials
- Automating certain tasks
6. Know Your Numbers
As a successful business owner, it’s important to be aware of key metrics and keep a close eye on the health of your organization. Some areas you should focus on are:
- Customer acquisition cost (CAC). This quantifies how much it costs your business to gain a new customer. Be sure to factor your marketing costs and other expenses into this calculation.
- Customer lifetime value (CLV), which includes a prediction of the net profit attributed to the entire future relationship with the customer, as well as a simple CLV (Annual revenue of the customer x # of years they are a customer – cost to acquire the customer).
In addition to providing a holistic understanding of your business’s performance, knowing this information will help you establish a baseline for your performance and give you an opportunity to look for ways to reduce your CAC while increasing your CLV. A healthy business runs at about a ratio of 3, meaning that your CLV will be about 3x higher than your CAC.
7. Track Your Data
Tracking your data is important because it helps you keep a pulse on the success of your business. Equipped with this valuable information, you’ll gain the confidence you need to make faster and better decisions, increase efficiencies, and improve your bottom line.
Bonus Secret – Companies Excel When Leaders Grow
If you’re looking to grow as a leader, it’s never too late to ask yourself some hard questions and take any necessary steps to progress. Here’s how you can start:
- Be humble
- Find balance
- Try new things
- Listen to employees
- Create new leaders
- Recognize talent
- Have passion
Some questions to consider include:
- Did I provide adequate training, structure and time for a team member to succeed?
- Did I verify they were ready to be “independently reliable” to complete a task?
- Do they understand the “why” as well as the “how”?
- Is the right process in place to reduce errors?
- Is the environment conducive for working?
- Have I put in place open communication channels?
Get more small business management tips on our blog.