There is no time like the present for entrepreneurs to examine and implement ways to improve their businesses, and to set and work towards achieving their business goals.
With this in mind, even as 2018 came with various challenges for most businesses, any successful entrepreneur will know that there is always space for improvement and business growth. As such, here are five tips that small and medium enterprise (SME) owners can consider to ensure their business is poised for growth and ready to reach their 2019 business goals:
1. REVISIT AND UPDATE YOUR BUSINESS PLAN
A business plan is an entrepreneur’s business road map and can be used to examine whether the business is on track and where it’s headed to in the future.
As such, it is imperative to note that it is not just a resource that is written for an investor and then left in a drawer to gather dust. It should be regularly revisited to ensure that the business is able to achieve its targets, and that the plan is still effective.
It is also important to continuously update the plan where necessary and to re-share it with the team so that everyone is on the same page.
2. MANAGE CASH FLOW AS EFFECTIVELY AS POSSIBLE
Cash flow is the life blood of any business and effective management of this vital component will allow more flexibility when there is a need to address any challenges throughout the year, such as late payments or unplanned expenditure. Regularly updating the business’ budget and cash flow statement will enable you to keep an eye on where money is spent, and allow you to cut back where necessary.
3. CREATE AND MAINTAIN VALUABLE PARTNERSHIPS
The year ahead provides the opportunity to establish new and beneficial partnerships, as well as cement any present valued partnerships.
Building relationships with the right individuals and businesses is key to the success of any business, due to the long lasting and powerful effect a favourable relationship can bring about. It is advisable for SME owners to attend more networking events and to be more active on social media.
4. SEEK OUT MENTORSHIP
Seeking regular advice and guidance from a mentor can prove invaluable for business growth, as well as personal development.
A mentor can assist you with focusing on your business objectives more effectively, as well as boost morale.
When selecting an appropriate business mentor, look for someone who has experience in the skills you may lack and ensure the terms of the mentorship — time, costs and outcomes — are as clear as possible in order to ensure that the match works efficiently.
5. INVEST IN IMPROVING THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
Building a successful business depends on its customers, so it’s advisable to review how you are meeting customer expectations and invest time and resources to improve their experiences.
This process may involve staff training, defining the desired customer experience and developing a road map to achieve the targets set.
In closing, like many business goals and aspirations, this list may seem daunting at first.
However, allocating time for each of the above, along with a realistic date of conclusion, will assist SME owners in achieving their business goals and bettering their business in the process.
Sally Gitonga is County Manager at Business Partners International.