If you have a small business, then you have probably wondered what you could do to make it grow and succeed long term. The best aspects for business success can be summed up quite easily if you think about the business in terms of finance, marketing, and skills.
Cash flow is one of the biggest killers of any small business. If you are concerned with keeping your business healthy then you need to think about its financial health in the long term, not just order to order. Cash flow will help you to survive during the quiet months, and ensure that if you get a big order that requires upfront expenditure, you can take it up.
Another thing that you need to think about is marketing. For many online businesses, the issue is falling into the trap of constant promotion. If you stop promoting for even a day or two, your business will die. You cannot afford to end up in that position. So, rather than letting your business stall out like that, think about ways to keep it sustainable that don’t involve constantly pulling in new customers. Can you, perhaps, invest in getting your existing customers to buy more products? Can you up-sell and cross-sell, or offer them consumables that they could use with their existing products?
Another thing to worry about is the skill set within your business. If you are unavailable, what will you do to keep your business ticking over? Do you have people that you can lean on? Do you have people that can help you out if you need to take time off for whatever reason? If your business already relies extensively on employees, then what would happen if one of those employees left the company?
These are all serious concerns, and things that you need to investigate. Don’t make the mistake of relying too heavily on just one person. A good business has several people with any one skillset, and cross trains people so that there is no one weak link. You may not have the budget to fully do that if you are a small business owner, but as much as possible you should try. It could save you money in the long term, especially when you consider the expense associated with losing a staff member. People who feel valued will be more likely to work hard, and more likely to stay with the company in the long term as well. Retaining existing staff is almost universally less expensive than recruiting a new staff member when an old one leaves.
Small businesses will thrive if they make a point of running themselves as if they were a bigger company. In many ways, it is important to “think big” if you want to get big. This is especially true for online businesses, where you need to look like you are as big as your competitors, even if you are really just a one man band.