There's always room for improvement. That's a truism that stands the test of time, especially in the world of entrepreneurship. It's probably fair to say that most business owners like a good challenge and are always asking themselves how they can get better at whatever they do. In that spirit, here are five things that your business might need to improve upon, and how you can make those changes.
From the general ledger to predictive modeling, having qualitative knowledge of your business processes is critical to success. Still, many entrepreneurs don't take full advantage of the tools available for collecting and analyzing information. This can result in a lack of critical data or, even worse, dirty data that doesn't reflect reality. Make sure that you have high-quality accounting and analytics programs. It could also be a good idea to invest in customer relationship management (CRM) software and other sales automation tools. Let computers run the numbers, and let human staff stick to the creative side of business planning.
This is another area in which digital technology and automation is helping businesses tremendously. Digital organizational tools have advanced far beyond clocks and calendars. Project management software allows both rapid file sharing and communication between team members who may be working at different sites. These same programs can also keep track of progress towards completion. Digital timesheets can spare managers the headaches of calculating payroll for employees working under differing contracts. All of this adds up to wiser time use and greater efficiency.
The business world is supposed to be all about survival of the fittest, right? Not necessarily. In fact, building connections between your business and others has never been more necessary or more profitable. Obviously an array of B2B services exist just for that purpose, selling everything from digital services to office products. Networking needs to go beyond this, though. Partnerships with charity organizations are a great first step in outreach. Philanthropists get backing, their sponsors get visibility, and the money invested does something objectively good. Everyone wins.
Another kind partnership that's proving to be revolutionary is influencer marketing. When a social media influencer with a wide audience in a specific lifestyle niche partners with a seller in their industry, the results can be powerful. Industry surveys in 2019 showed that around 48% of companies reported ROI from influencer-based marketing being greater than gains garnered through other channels. Consider teaming up with a social media trendsetter in your field and share in the visibility.
If consumers get the idea that your business is only about making money, that can be the proverbial kiss of death. The numbers don't lie: Groundbreaking research from Deloitte revealed that about 60% of millennials base their decision to work for a company on the values of that company. Imagine how customers feel. Making your values and vision a part of your day-to-day operations is crucial, but the visibility of those actions to the public are just as necessary. Whether that takes the form of a 5K run or a sustainability pledge depends on the nature of the company. Even an iron-clad commitment to neutrality on social issues is still a vocal stance, and people will appreciate that the management of your business feels and promotes a sense of purpose beyond profit.
A mistake that business owners often make is competing with other businesses on price. According to tech company First Insight's recent study, 53% of customers base their decision to purchase primarily on the quality of the product, with only 38% viewing price as the number one concern. Quality is about more than just how well the product functions, it's about the impact that it makes on the life of the customer. Always approach product or service development by asking what the offering can do to improve the customer's life. That shows a true commitment to authenticity.
In business, the goal isn't perfection, it's progress. There will always be new challenges to confront, but with a strong foundation of knowledge, you'll be prepared to face them head-on and succeed.
Publish Date: June 28, 2021 8:03 AM