As if launching a business wasn’t difficult enough, sustaining and keeping it afloat is just as difficult if not more. Every business owner tries their best to keep their business running for as long as they can. It often reaches a level where everyone around them starts seeing them as a maniac. However, it doesn’t guarantee positive results and you might end up wasting a lot of your time if you only focus on the hard work needed.
To run a successful business, you’ll need much more than just putting in endless hours of work. Entrepreneurship is all about being smart and putting in the effort where it matters. Succeeding in business is all about being strategic.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at some essential hacks that can help you move your business through the early stages of growth and up to the next level. These hacks are nothing more than tips that come from experience. It’s a short, smart list. And it is practical. You can check your own business performance against every hack, spot and stop the gaps and then put a plan of action in place to keep on improving.
1. Establish Strong Foundations
Many people make the mistake of trying to wing it at the start. This is a sure-shot way to waste your time, money, and resources because of the number of problems you’ll meet along the way. Without a proper plan and solid basics established, you’ll have to keep on correcting the minor issues that keep popping up. The most frequent error is to start without adequate funding.
This is a particular issue for women in business, who start with just one-third the level of finance that their male counterparts do. Underfunding will handicap your business from the start. You will have to skimp on everything, from your image to staff to equipment and premises. Of course, that will hold the business back. And, as well as that, when you hit a cash flow blip, as most businesses do, you won’t be able to survive it.
So do your homework properly when you start up, resource the essentials properly and get lines of funding or credit in place to make sure that you have enough liquidity to see you through those hurdles.
2. Leverage Technology
At the same time as ensuring that your business is properly financed, you do also need to seek out smart efficiencies. With the rate at which technology is advancing, it’s no surprise that a majority of businesses have started to understand its vital role. Even though businesses know that technology is a major push to their operations, only a few have actually utilized it to its full potential. You should also try to integrate the various new technologies if you want to gain an added advantage over your competitors. One of the things you can try is to automate your business, removing any inefficiencies and saving time. Over the medium term, you will save money too.
There are many activities that need human intervention and can’t be handled with machines only; then there are the mundane and repetitive activities. These are still necessary, even during the early phases of setting up a company; these processes can be completed much more quickly and efficiently when automated.
Do a technology audit of your business and consider what elements could be automated or speeded up by using technology. Obvious areas include inventory management, appointment bookings, book-keeping, contacts management, sales pipelines, social media management, and so on. Go through all of your systems and processes and research how other companies use technology for each stage.
3. Utilize Outsourcing
Employing people is one of the most significant costs for any business. And it’s not just the financial cost, it also potentially builds in inflexibility. Unless your business is very large, your employees will have a limited range of skills and knowledge. They can’t do everything well.
Outsourcing by bringing in freelancers or specialists to undertake specific, limited tasks, means that you can shift people costs from a fixed cost to a variable cost. It keeps your business more lean and adaptable as it grows and enables you to pivot and change direction quickly without being weighed down by heavy fixed costs. It also means that you can bring in the best people to do specific tasks.
4. Create a Healthy Workplace
This is the most underrated and underused hack that all companies should be using because of its sheer effectiveness. When you create a healthy environment for your workers, you promote their efficiency, morale, experience, skills, and so much more. This is because a healthy workplace means a better state of mind for your employees. They’ll be able to communicate much better among themselves and to their superiors which will make the business processes easier to handle. Happy employees will also be more likely to put in more serious work than employees who aren’t satisfied.
Even though it might look like the amount of work done by both a happy and an unhappy employee is the same, there’s a huge difference in quality which is clearly visible upon close examination. Try to inculcate loyalty by rewarding the good performance of every employee and creating a tension-free environment. And research shows that the reward employees value most of all is simply being appreciated. This is the most effective hack you can use and it’s free, so try and implement this from day one.
These are some of the most useful hacks that any business can use. There are multiple other tricks you can use in your business but these ones are oriented towards businesses that are in the early stages of growth and want to survive. Once you have learned how to run your business successfully, you can start thinking about ways to make it even better and expand its horizons. However, you’ll have to master the basics first. All the hacks that we’ve discussed will help you accomplish that.