Business happiness can come in all shapes and sizes and often the key to achieving happiness within your SME is having a BHAG; a big hairy audacious goal.
Thinking and forward planning will help create a logical and direct route to achieving your BHAG and make your company a happy one.
So here are 6 steps to business happiness.
Ensure you’re serving the right customers to drive profitable grow
In your business do the top 20% of customers drive 80% of the business? Think about who your key customers are: what are their needs? Where do they come from? Why are they your key customers? Tailor your marketing towards the ‘sweet spot’ and don’t be tempted by spending too much time on the other 80%.
The cost of attracting new customers is five times more expensive than retaining an existing customer – so retaining your most valuable customers is crucial to driving profitable growth. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t attract new customers; it just means you should attract the right new customers that will become part of the top 20 percent.
Nine out of ten small businesses grow by upselling or selling to similar customers and long-term customers are more likely to recommend your business; relationship building and customer loyalty plays a huge role when retaining and attracting top customers.
Sense check the relevance of your product and services to your target customers
Are you clearly creating a point of difference versus your competitors? Are you continuously improving and innovating your products and services? Are you giving your customers the best service possible? These are all questions which should be addressed and in order to be business-happy the answers should be YES.
Differentiating your product from a competitor’s and understanding the value will help keep your product or service relevant to your customer; speak to your customers and understand what it is that they want and what the added value means to them.
Having the right set of plans will make your business more resilient
Planning and having clear KPIs in place across the whole business can help to unify the team to drive towards the same goal. Consider setting out clear targets and factor in milestones.
Planning for the unexpected is also key. Here are a few circumstances to think about:
- Losing a big client – will there be a potential financial risk?
- Working from home arrangements – are practical factors and facilities in place?
- Office flood – is there an option to move to an alternative site?
- Data / IT hack – do you have data and contacts backed up?
- Corporate responsibility obligations – e.g. GDPR, is your business compliant?
Get it right for the people that work for you and with you
It’s important to make your team feel as though they are part of the business and the culture is reflected by this. Ask yourself, is this the culture you want in your business?
It’s important to employ individuals who want to buy into and support your values; it may be a case of unravelling what really makes the business tick! Make sure that you ensure everyone supports the company’s values and is working towards the same goals, invest in training and development and have a clear feedback system in place for your team to suggest ideas for continuous improvement.
SMEs often grow by buying out similar businesses, and in this scenario, it is so important to ensure that each of the business’ cultures reflect your vision and values, and your team’s. Without your team on board with these values, the business is likely to suffer, so make sure this is a priority for the business at the beginning of its journey and review the culture often, especially when new team members are brought onboard.
Review whether your financial performance is robust enough to be sustainable
When you run a business, it’s important to ask yourself what its purpose is – does it exist to provide you with a specific lifestyle, is the plan to hand it down to future generations, or perhaps you’re looking to sell it eventually? Establishing your financial strategy and how it underpins the future is key here.
Think about your business’ growth plan – what shape do you want it to be? Think about how much turnover and profit you’d like to generate and how much you will invest into developing the business.
Establishing your financial strategy and how it underpins the future is key here.
By taking a proactive approach to your business’s cashflow forecast, you’re not only ensuring that everyone in the business gets paid, you can focus on prioritising investments for the company such as new employees, and actively look for any warning signs in the future.
Remember to ask yourself the right questions – is the business performing well and why? What measurements are in place and what’s next?
Successful businesses are aware of the current state of the business – knowing facts, not assumptions. As the saying goes, ‘what gets measured gets managed’, so set some KPIs and keep an up to date dashboard so you can look for trends – this will help in accommodating what the future holds.
With data at your fingertips you can identify the right customers, products and services for your business and filter out customers paying £300 vs £3,000 for your product. If you are in a position to analyse data early on, you’ll be able to find solutions, helping to future proof your business.
Consider how to get the direction of the business right for the future
Take a step back from the business to really think about your vision. What are you passionate about? Do you want to be the go-to business in your industry? If so, how are you going to get there and how does this fit in with who your customer is?
Consider the following:
- How does your business vision help you plan for the future?
- What does the future hold for your business?
- Do you have the right skills and the right people to meet the challenge?
Keep your big hairy audacious goal at the heart of everything you do to continuously improve your business happiness. Forward plan, visualise where you want to be and how you’re going to get there.
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