Every business owner wants to know the secret of success in business. This is the case at all times, but even more so during tough economic seasons. Are there things a business owner can do even when things are “slow” to contribute to the success of their business? The answer is… absolutely!
We talked with Rick MacLennan, a business consultant with MacInk. He shared with us 7 strategies that are responsible for success.
“If you don’t have a clear picture of the company you want to build, there’s no way you can build it,” Rick says.
Vision is a vital part of business success, but it’s also enjoyable and can help you to stay motivated. Allowing yourself to dream and visualize the business you desire to create can inspire you and keep you going when you’re going about the “daily grind” of business.
“If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up somewhere else.” (David Campbell)
2. Have a Written Strategic Plan
Rick tells us, “Your vision is your dream. And to attain the dream, you need a strategic plan that details how you will achieve it.”
For more information about creating a strategic plan for your business, you might like to read what Rick had to say in our “Turn Tough Times Into Opportune Times” post. Also, we wrote about what a business plan is and why it is useful here. If you are an aspiring Canadian business owner between the ages of 18-39, you might be interested in visiting Futurpreneur Canada, which offers a multitude of helpful resources, including an interactive Business Plan Writer.
“If you were able to draw a line from where you are now to where you want your company to be, that line would be known as a trajectory. Success is about getting on the right trajectory. That is, as long as what you accomplish today, this week, this month and this year progresses you farther and farther along the line (versus going below the line or stagnating) then you will eventually reach your long term goal.
To stay on the right trajectory, you must set quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily goals. Each goal should be set with an understanding of the larger goal. For example, figure out what you need to accomplish this quarter in order to properly progress towards your annual goal. And then figure out what you need to accomplish this month to properly progress towards your quarterly goal. And so on.
By creating and achieving these smaller, periodic goals, you start to ride the trajectory to your ultimate vision.” (Rick MacLennan)
4. Educate Yourself Continually
“Investing in your education (and that of your key employees) will generally give you a larger return on investment than anything else in your business,” encourages Rick. Self-education could be anything from reading books to attending seminars, conferences, or trade shows. Don’t underestimate the value of educating yourself online, as well. Stay current in your industry. Subscribe to relevant magazines, blogs, and/or newsletters. Learning and growing as a business owner and as a leader in your industry can only improve your path to success.
If taking the time to educate yourself is a challenge for you, these two articles may be well worth your while:
Lee Jeffrey at Compass Sign & Safety says it well: “If it was not for our customers, we would have no business… it pays to provide good service.” Our sentiments exactly! In today’s society, excellent customer service is becoming increasingly rare. If you stand above the rest in this area, customers will take notice, and often, they’ll become your best advertisers via word of mouth.
6. Market To Your Customers
“Most entrepreneurs and business owners are so focused on getting new customers that they neglect their current customers.
And, unlike prospective customers, current customers have a track record of buying from you… and are much more likely to buy from you again than prospective customers.
So spend time listening to and communicating with your current customers. Find out what they truly want and need, and stay top-of-mind so they buy from you again and again.” (Rick MacLennan)
Here at Lease 1 Financial Ltd., we like to say, “We want you for a long time, not just one time.”
7. Be Laser-Focused In Your Work
Rick stresses this point:
“Be sure to focus on one aspect of your business at a time… Trying to do too many things at once will diffuse your focus and inevitably result in failure.
Limit the number of projects you’re working on until they are finished. Remember, twenty projects that are 99% complete but not active yield less revenue than just one project that is 100% complete and live.”
There is always something that can be done to take you one step further along the path to success in your business – regardless of the state of the economy. Take advantage of slower times by going through Rick’s tips here. Evaluate areas where you can improve or invest. Success may be just around the bend!