Once you have established the management processes and settled into your daily tasks, running your business should be relatively straightforward. While there are often unexpected issues that need tackling, the longer that your business is running for, the easier it should be to manage.
Being established and settling into a routine is the goal, but the next step should always be to prioritise growth. Taking your business to the next level will ensure that your business has a future – but, failing to embrace growth will only mean that your competitors will step in to pick up your inattention. If your business is running smoothly, it’s time to start moving forward.
You will be better able to push your boundaries if you have some clearly identifiable and measurable goals to aim for. Having goals is a proven way to encourage productivity and motivation, and can help you with your focus. Setting goals will also make it far easier to measure your business’ progress and track the achievements that you make.
If you want your business to start moving forward, then you need to get out of your comfort zone; goal setting is the ideal way to challenge yourself. Create a growth plan with clear goals and your business will be better able to move forward successfully. Remember to have both short-term and long-term goals, too.
Your Online Presence
The majority of business owners in the digital age are aware of how important their online presence is. Once your business is established, you need to ensure that not just your brick and mortar premises are running smoothly; getting more from your website will involve putting more priority on it, and this can be a challenge.
Websites alone have many components to take into consideration and it can be difficult to keep up with everything that it needs, as well as the emerging trends that might be of benefit. You could keep up to date with industry updates by following the mega publications like Search Engine Land, Search Engine Watch or the smaller, more actionable update blogs, such as local SEO specialist Jon Monk’s Max Your Web.
Or, if teaching yourself SEO is not something you have the time or effort for – you can simply outsource your website management to a professional company, who you can then trust the management and development of your SEO strategies to. Either of these methods would help you get a lot more benefit from your online platform and the efforts you are making.
Making sure that your website, your business, and your customers are safe from a cyber attack is crucial. When everyone is a potential target for cybercriminals, the onus will be on you to ensure that the security of your website, as well as your stored data, are protected as much as possible.
Moving your business forward will mean that you need to place a priority on online security, and these tips can act as a checklist of basics that you will need to adopt into your online strategy:
- Employee Awareness: It’s unfortunate, but the vast majority of business-related cyber crimes are caused by employee negligence. If you want to protect your business, then you will need to instill a strong culture of cybersecurity. Have regular staff meetings to highlight the latest phishing scams, and make certain that every employee has basic online security training.
- Password Safety: While everyone is aware of the need for strong password management, most people tend to stick to the same two or three rotated passwords. This can be very dangerous, but there are simple ways to make your business more secure through better password habits. Learn (and teach) positive password habits and your business will be much more secure when it comes to moving forward.
- Hardware/Software Protection: There are many different tools that you can use to help keep your business safe online. The most basic of these is a firewall, and you should definitely have at least one version installed on your system. Your business will not be able to move forward if you are under constant attack by hackers, so make sure that you not only install a good firewall but that you also keep it updated as often as possible.
- Additional Steps: As well as these basics, you might also want to consider adopting two-factor verification on all of your most important online accounts. This adds an extra level of security that can be difficult for hackers to get through. You should also look at encryption as well, as this can be used to keep your stored data private and confidential.
In the digital age, protecting your online presence is as important as keeping a warehouse locked. Protecting your business online will make it far easier to move forward in both the digital space and the real world.
Your customers are clearly the most important aspect of your business that you will have to consider when it comes to moving forward. Attracting and then keeping customers needs to be the goal, and that means creating a work culture that is customer-focused. The better quality of service you provide, the more likely that your business will be rewarded with repeat custom and positive word of mouth. Make sure that you are constantly looking for feedback, addressing any issues that may arise, and act quickly and proactively when you get a complaint. Look for ways to make your business 100% accessible.
You don’t need to set up a tent and spy on them with binoculars, but keeping a constant watch on your competitors is one of the more traditional ways to move your own business forward. There are two ways that your business can make use of a competition watch, and both can be used to make your business stronger:
- Keeping ahead – The more that you know what your competitors are up to, the easier it will be to keep ahead of what they are doing. If you see that your competition is promoting a new website design, take notes and assess your own. Keeping up with competitors is essential, and if you don’t know what they’re going to do next, then you will quickly fall behind.
- Pick up the slack – By being more aware of your competitors, you will have a better understanding of what they are doing wrong. This gives you a major opportunity to adopt the products and methods that they are neglecting, making your business seem far more professional than even the most established rivals.
As well as these essential steps to take there are a number of optional elements to consider. These will largely be dependant on the culture of your business, but it’s worth looking at:
- Continuous education: Always make sure that you know all that there is to know about your products and your sector. Learn marketing through online resources, or the language of your biggest customers via DuoLingo.
- Learn delegation: Your business will never be able to move forward if you try to micromanage everything yourself. Use your workforce, and your business will only grow stronger.
- Open communication: The more that your staff are able to communicate with you, the more your business will benefit. Create as open a culture as you can, and you will be rewarded with a more creative and impactful business model.
No business can be expected to move forward without some changes. Staying static is the fastest way to grow stale, and that can leave you exposed to competitors and changing needs of your customers.