As a business, you need to find viable solutions to problems before they exist. You may be wondering how exactly to do that. Staying ahead of potential issues means knowing all of the possibilities. For example, you know your business is expanding but aren’t sure how to keep track of your customers. Pen and paper aren’t working, so you research alternative methods. Having this ability to forecast possibilities gives you the time and brain space you need to develop solutions that are well thought out and are not created on the fly based on an emotional response to a problem or unexpected issue.
Create a Problem List
Even though you haven’t scaled as far as you’d like, you know you’ll need something in the future. You subsequently add this to your problem list with the solution next to it, namely, a CRM. Creating a problem list isn’t about writing down everything that’s wrong. It’s more about identifying current areas that need improvement and then finding possible ways to fix them. It’s also about forecasting into the future and pinpointing situations you believe may present as a problem later on. It’s more about being proactive and less about being pragmatic.
One of the worst things anything can do is think there’s nothing else to learn. Especially in the world of entrepreneurship, there are always ways to improve upon what you’re already doing. Regardless of how you are, ongoing education is a must. That said, you should always be looking at courses or programs to help you grow. In some fields, you can utilize the internet to stay current on the latest trends. In other cases, you may want to consider going back to college. If you’ve been holding off due to financial restraints, you have a couple of options. You can apply for loans, or you could apply for a scholarship. A quick online search for scholarships can bring a variety of options. Then, all you need to do is input your information to be matched with ones that suit your needs.
ERP software may sound technical, but in reality, it’s just a way to keep all of your daily operations houses under one roof. From inventory and accounting to Human Resources and customer management, these types of cloud-based programs have everything you need to keep your business running smoothly.
Social Media Management
Both B2C and B2B businesses need an online presence. Not only is it the best way to reach your customers, but it’s also always the best way to convert leads which otherwise would have never known about you. While there are plenty of options to choose from, you need to invest in one that can keep track of your current customer base, schedule future posts, and gives you a breakdown of your social media analytics. While not every business requires extensive social media monitoring, you should still have a way to gauge whether your social media efforts are reaching the right people.
Accounting and Finances
Even if you work alone, you still need some type of accounting software. While it doesn’t need to be super high-tech, it should cover the basics. Look for programs that can automatically update your finances based on inventory flow. In addition, it should also be equipped to scale as your company grows. This is even more true if you plan on hiring employees in the future. You want to have all of your accounting and payroll information in one place.
There’s nothing more stress-inducing than having to search for important information about an upcoming project. Project management software allows to you safely store all of the information and to-do lists online. Trello, for example, allows you to separate important project milestones and divide work tasks among your employees. Everyone has access to the board, so it’s easy to stay on track or adjust timelines as needed.
Hiring Best Practices
It is common knowledge that the people who you employ to not only keep your operations moving but also to be the face of your company are arguably the biggest assets and liabilities that any business owner can have. It only takes one jaded employee to turn your entire operation on its head, and while you cannot fully avoid this scenario, understanding hiring best practices can help mitigate the frequency of bringing people on board that cannot fulfil your company’s mission. On the flip side, you also need to be literate in how to acknowledge and reward those employees who are loyal, knowledgeable, and perform at a high level. These are the people that deserve your energy as a leader, and not only will this help with employee retention, but it will go a long way in terms of overall morale as well.
Managing Customer Relations
Every business needs customers to survive, but what, not every business owner realizes is that simply existing is not going to be enough to generate new customers, retain them, and create long-term loyalty. Everything from your online presence to your product development to your face-to-face communications will contribute to your overall reputation and the experience of your customers. How you handle unsatisfied customers and less than glowing reviews can actually help with your image as well, so long as you research tips and tricks for doing so with grace while still paying respect to your integrity as a company.
Knowing When to Pivot
Resting on your laurels is a safe way to run a business, but it is not always the smartest. While this technique can help you feel safe and secure as an owner, a lack of innovation can ultimately mean that you get lapped by your competition. Keeping your finger on the pulse of current trends is essential. You also need to be specific in your research of market trends. If you own a pet supplies company, mimicking what beauty salons are doing in terms of social media campaigns doesn’t make much sense. Doing a frequent competitive analysis will help you remain relevant as it relates to your specific niche.