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Business dos and don’ts

Success in modern life is often a hard thing to define.

One person’s view of success could be another’s view of failure, while for others a successful career in business could mean sacrificing success at relationships.

We all have our own notions of what constitutes success and in most cases it’s best not to spend too much time comparing ourselves to other people.

In business however, things are a little more straightforward.

A successful business, 90% of the time, is one that turns a profit. If you can pay your staff, cover your overheads comfortably, and sleep at night knowing you’re not on the edge of bankruptcy, it’s fair to say that – at least in a financial sense – you’re making a success of your company.

But how is success achieved in the first place?

Here, we offer some simple business dos and don’ts that could help you become one of the long-term success stories.

  1. DO innovate

Resting on your laurels can be the death of your business.

Markets are fickle, and customers’ needs change rapidly, so what you’re offering today with relative success may not be enough tomorrow.

Ensure you look at your customers’ needs and demands on a regular basis and develop your products or services to incorporate any new features or technologies that may be required.

One way to keep up with customer demand is to use regular surveys to see if your offerings are continuing to satisfy needs. Incentivise these, for example with a prize draw and ask carefully thought-out and accurately phrased questions to determine what other requirements you may need to fulfil.

  1. DO measure your progress

Benchmarking is a key part of knowing whether or not your business is successful.

Firstly, define what metrics constitute success – is it sales of a product, uptake of a service, increased web traffic, a percentage increase in revenue? It may even be all of the above.

Once you’ve defined exactly what makes your business successful, keep a report of how it is faring against the benchmarks.

If you’re not doing as well as expected, it may be that you need to change tactics or carry out more market research to find out how you can improve sales or revenue.

  1. DON’T get lost in the day-to-day

It’s so easy to get bogged down in the everyday operations of business.

Doing so puts you in danger of losing focus on where you’re heading and can mean sales stagnate, or you lose track of how your customers’ needs are changing.

One of our more important tips on how to succeed in business is to ensure you take a step back and review your goals and strategy. Get help from someone outside the organisation if necessary.

  1. DO take care when hiring

This piece of advice comes in two parts. The first is that you should only hire when necessary and when you are sure you can pay the new employee comfortably.

By taking on a new member of staff, you’re committing to not only a salary but also National Insurance and pension contributions, so you need to be able to guarantee you can keep up with these.

The second part is to hire the best person for the job.

This may take longer and require some flexibility in the salary you’re offering but hiring the person with the best skill set, the right attitude and a personality that fits with the business will pay dividends in the long run.

Hiring a friend or the first candidate to apply can result in substandard performance among other issues that are tricky to get out of.

Consider yourself warned!

  1. DON’T prioritise new business over existing

This can be an easy trap to fall into. You’re out there chasing down new clients, making pitches and hoping for bigger contracts. But what about the people who have been with you from day one? Your existing customers should be at the heart of everything you do, and should be rewarded for their loyalty.

Looking after your existing customers offers opportunities for upsells and cross sells, as well as providing a base from which you can draw honest feedback when you need it. Sustainable growth is based upon reliable contracts – even if they are smaller – rather than those made with large, more volatile companies who could be won over by a competitor in a year.

  1. DO show your human side

The businesses that are best at creating brand advocacy and retaining repeat customers are those that can show their human side. This doesn’t just mean posting a picture of the office dog on your social media page – it’s about showing interest.

People are much more likely to react positively if they can get through to a friendly advisor when there’s a problem or if they receive a sensitive and respectful response when they make a complaint.

News stories or posts about community or charity events can be well-received too – as long as they undertaken with a genuine wish to be involved as opposed to being for good PR.

  1. DON’T underestimate the importance of financial management

The last of our dos and don’ts for success in business is to advise against underestimating the importance of good financial management.

So many companies run into difficulties because they don’t have the right tools or people on board to ensure costs are kept up with.

Investing in a good accounting system that makes invoicing and payments easy is one step. Clear visibility of what’s due in – and out – and when, is vital, as is having an easy method of chasing payments that are overdue.

Of course, hiring the necessary staff for the job is essential too, whether this means employing someone to take care of accounts in-house or outsourcing some of the work to a Chartered Accounting firm.

Further assistance

If your business is in need of some accounting advice or an outsourced accountancy service, contact the experts at THP Chartered Accountants today. With offices located in  CheamChelmsfordWanstead and Saffron Walden, we are well-placed to assist companies across the South East.

Avatar for Mark Boulter
About Mark Boulter

Mark Boulter is responsible for the efficient running of the firm’s infrastructure, and ensuring that THP delivers the best client service. Promoting the vision and culture across all branches, people are the key: “I like people who have a fresh approach and I’m happy for them to run with their ideas,” he says.

Communication across departments is crucial and Mark pioneers this. He ensure that people and departments not only talk to each other, but that they share ideas– whether they’re about marketing, finance, sales, strategy or any other topic that can result in us offering a better service. “I think helping to develop the next generation of THP people is essential to our success,” Mark adds. “We’ve a lot of talented people and our way of doing things increasingly attracts ambitious newcomers who are looking for a fresh approach. That’s good for us and even better news for our clients.”

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