As a business owner, every day you live “the buck stops here.” You take risks, take responsibility, and stay awake at night thinking about how to grow the business, gain a competitive edge, manage your people and resources, and getting more money to the bottom line.
Here are a few things to help you become a better entrepreneur:
- All customers ARE NOT created equal. Many businesses are not sure who their best customers are. At least once a year, it is good to evaluate the attributes of your top customers. Who are the most profitable? Who consistently sends you additional business (raving fans)? Who sees the value that you bring year after year? Have a plan to reward and recognize those customers, and develop your sales and marketing plans to target more customers with the same attributes. Be careful not to take for granted those that consistently do business with you at preferred margins, but may not require much interaction or service. Reach out in some way so they are not a target for your competitors.
- Don’t hire people just like you. Some small business owners tend to only hire people with similar backgrounds, communication styles, and experience as them. Your business will thrive if you hire people with diverse skills sets that can complement the weak areas of other team members. You need people around you who look at things differently. This will give you a picture of what is going on within your business and how to adapt.
- Know what YOUR time is worth. A business owner will often hold on to tasks that could be better delegated to free up the time to either do what is more important or allow you to enjoy more time away from the office. Think about your daily workload and calculate your hourly pay rate. Is there work you can delegate? Can you automate some of the tasks with business management software for a fraction of your "pay rate” and give yourself time to grow the business?
- Get support. Often entrepreneurs are on an island. You need other business owners that understand the unique challenges and opportunities of owning a business to share ideas with and provide support and a fresh perspective. I have been a member of Entrepreneurs Organization (EO) for several years, a group specifically designed for this kind of support. With over 200 chapters, find one in your area at https://www.eonetwork.org/. If you cannot find a group, form your own board of advisors with owners of businesses of a similar size, but in different industries, so there are no competitors. This resource can provide inspiration for continued development and accountability.
Try out some of these tips and see if you notice an improvement in your business. Feel free to leave comments about tips you have to share, too.
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