Today marks a global campaign to support micro businesses and I am proud to join one million business owners as part of #MicroBizMattersDay #IGave8 campaign to help microbusinesses grow.
Throughout the day I will be following conversations on Twitter to answer questions and offer advice and support to make sure businesses get off to a successful 2016.
Tendo are advocates of supporting entrepreneurs to “do more of what you want” so here are our top eight do’s for you to avoid business failure…
1 Have a plan & ensure you share it
A business plan is the most fundamental building block for success. It needs to be agile, dynamic, used frequently, contain detailed strategies & hold you accountable for success. There are an infinite number of formulae for the perfect business plan, but we know that one built from the firm foundations of the reason why you’re in business and the vision for where you’re going are the best for your business.
Which leads us on to tip two.
2 Clearly define your purpose… and your vision
Maybe you didn’t elicit why you wanted your own business at the start as you were too busy getting going and starting to make money. But remembering why you started your business is a key step in making it successful.
Why? Because knowing your purpose – whether it be to offer a better service than your competitors, to make money from doing something you love, or to have the lifestyle you always dreamed of – and building your business around that is the quickest way to you feeling successful.
If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know how to get there?
Worse, if your team don’t know where they’re going, how will they help you?
Your vision articulates the place you see your business, and yourself, in the future. Whether that’s working in it fulltime or building a business that makes money without you so that you can follow your passion, you need to define your vision in order that your business can deliver it for you.
3 Re-discover your mojo
There’s nothing more rewarding than doing something you love. It’s even better if you can make money from it.
When you remember why you started your business and clearly define where you’re going and how to get there, you’ll reconnect with that missing mojo ensuring life and business will be enjoyable again. Your renewed energy will pay dividends in the success of your business. It’s a win-win.
4 Success measures & accountability
If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. A bit like not knowing your destination, if you don’t know what success looks like, how will you know you’ve achieved it?
And yet defining your success measures – Business Growth Indicators looking forward and Key Performance Indicators looking back – isn’t the end of it. You have to be accountable to someone for delivering them, or it’s too easy to let yourself off, and that’s when growth stalls.
5 Knowledge & experience
If you’re operating in a new industry or at a new level, you don’t know what you don’t know. You have to be smart enough to identify where your gaps are – or those of your team – and ensure you fill them. You can do this with permanent hires, external experts or by investing in your team to increase their skills and knowledge. The smart move is to know when and where that’s necessary.
A strong & flexible team builds your business and reduces the need for you to be there.
6 Invest in yourself… and in high quality people
Having invested in your team, you also need to invest in yourself. Whether it’s your leadership skills, grasp of your numbers or specialist knowledge of a new industry, make sure you don’t neglect yourself while you are busy running your business. Always be learning and have an expert you can bounce ideas off.
The cost of a bad hire can be many times that person’s salary in lost time and opportunity. Think carefully about what you recruit for and how your recruit. Recruit based on values and fit with your team and teach them the technical skills they need.
7 Listen to customers… and learn to sell
Customers should be your biggest source of learning. Listen, develop and refine your proposition based on what they tell you and ask for. If you find out what your customers want and sell that to them, you’ll be infinitely more successful that trying to find a customer for your product.
Ensure you have a clear plan including ideal customers, pricing, profits and volumes for each of your products. Do your market research to develop the plan and ensure you have the processes and sales skills to deliver it. Sales is a skill that needs to be learned and constantly developed.
8 Never stand still
Be paranoid and ensure you keep improving, innovating, up-skilling your team and updating your business plan.
Your customers and your competitors are, so you need to stay in the game.
Here are some quotes from leading entrepreneurs which explains just this:
“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.” – Steve Jobs, Co-founder of Apple
“Success breeds complacency, complacency breeds failure, only the paranoid survive.” – Andrew Grove, Businessman & Author
“I have always said that everyone is in sales. Maybe you don’t hold the title of salesperson, but if the business you are in requires you to deal with people, you, my friend, are in sales.” – Zig Ziglar, Motivational Speaker & Author
“I am not the smartest, but I surround myself with competent people.” – Henry Ford, Founder Ford Motor Co.
“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else..” – Sam Walton, Founder of Walmart
Micro businesses are a fundamental linchpin to the global, national and local economy. However, many of these business owners have little, if any, experience running a business and often don’t know what they need to be a successful entrepreneur. Unfortunately, 50% of businesses in the UK do not make it to the five-year mark.
It is therefore imperative that an environment is generated to enable these business owners to prosper. They require minimum legislation and taxation alongside expert advice and support.
Enterprise Rockers was co-founded by Tina Boden and Tony Robinson OBE in 2012 to make life in micro business better. In January 2015 the first annual #MicroBizMattersDay was held to ensure recognition, action and learning for those that employ 0 to 9 people. A date for 2017 is already confirmed and 10 million people are expected to support the campaign globally.
“When Tony and I tested the concept of Enterprise Rockers, a free, indie, self help, network of networks the hashtag #MicroBizMatters had the most traction with business owners everywhere. We decided therefore we needed a day where micro business matters can be discussed and we could show Government, large organisations and consumers why micro business matters.
It is great to have people like Gary who have so much business knowledge and experience sharing his expertise for free as part of the #IGave8 campaign linked to #MicroBizMattersDay. It shows how those running the smallest of businesses are keen to help each other survive and thrive”
The volume of micro business owners has significantly increased in recent years with more than 95% of the 5.4M UK private sector businesses now classified as micro.
#MicroBizMattersDay provides a unique opportunity for thousands of experienced entrepreneurs and advisers to pass on expert tips and answer key questions, supporting the needs of the global, national and local micro business owners.