As a consultant, I have walked into many small companies on that first day and wondered what the next few weeks would be like. Every company is different and just about every job has had a different set of requirements and objectives. But, when I push aside the differences, I see some common threads. About small businesses, especially the 25 men and women or less type, I’ve found that we have to often get back to fundamentals to move forward.
So, I thought I’d share the top 10 things that I’d ask any small business to think about and answer.
- What do you make/do? OK, no snickering around – this can be serious stuff. It’s usually pretty difficult for small companies to particularly define and clearly state what they do/sell. You should be in a position to clearly define your solutions and/or services within a couple of sentences.
- What are your competitors? This is not just a list of each of the companies that sell precisely the same point(s) you sell. It truly is a list of the companies that sell their similar product to the people which you believe would obtain your product. There’s a distinction and it is vital to know it. For example, when you sell handmade soaps, your competitors are usually not Proctor and Gamble, Dove, Irish Spring, and so forth. Your competitors are extra likely to become other handmade soaps, boutique soaps, specialty companies selling organic soaps, and so on. Figure out who precisely is promoting in your target market – which leads me to #3…
- Who is your client? Who’re you attempting to sell to? Who wants or needs your item? Where are they and what are they like? You can find not also quite a few small organizations on the market who target a whole population – so figure this out. After you do, it tends to make it quite a bit much easier to discover prospective clients – at the very least you know what they may well look like!
- Why really should anybody buy from you? What’s your worth proposition? You can’t convince a person to buy from you in the event you cannot define what worth you may give. What is better about you than the other guy? What needs do your customers have that will be addressed with your product? Are you faster, cheaper, nicer, bigger??? OK – these are a whole bunch of questions – but I’m counting them as one!
- Do you have the right people working for you? Small businesses can’t afford to have a bunch of ‘C’ players. You need to have the right people because when there are just a few of you doing everything, you need to trust that things are being done right. Don’t tolerate incompetence – you can’t afford it.
- Have you communicated to your employees? I often thought that large companies would be terrible in the whole communication factor and that small company could be fantastic at it. Properly, according to my expertise, small companies do a terrible job of communicating with staff. I am not certain why, and I am positive it truly is not usually the case, nevertheless it is widespread. The lack of extra formal systems becoming in spot for employee training, not obtaining huge department meetings, and also the fact that communications are commonly informal, are all contributing components. So, make a further effort to talk to your staff. People need to have details to connect and they should realize what exactly is happening with the business.
- How are you funding your development? Do you realize exactly where your next round is going to come from? Can you/should you borrow? Cash is king and you must know exactly where the cash is and what your money flow appears like. (yes, for some organizations, this should be question #1)
- How will you market/sell your products? What exactly is your marketing method? Apart from your internet website, what are you undertaking to sell? Exactly where are you currently selling? So many choices right here – you need a program. Once you might have a strategy, you will need to measure outcomes and adjust as essential. Don’t get stagnant here – it is essential to re-visit your strategy and attempt new items. Stick towards the core message and branding although, otherwise you preserve starting more than alternatively of enhancing.
- What cost can you/should you charge for your product? Solution Management 101 – the art of pricing. Pricing, for a lot of firms, is just not a precise science. No one wants to leave cash on the table, but if we come out also higher, the business might be lost immediately. Do your homework on this a single. Search competitive merchandise, speak to individuals in the business, look at your fees, and place a stake inside the ground. Then, listen to your consumers and sales individuals. Adjust accordingly, but do not constantly jump when an individual says they require a better value. We all say that. Know your market place as well as your worth.
- How can I be better? This can be the query that must be asked regularly. Never sit back and believe that almost everything is terrific. Points can normally be enhanced plus the marketplace will change more than time. By no means be satisfied with all the status quo. Under no circumstances.
What would you add to this list?