There are some key tips for entrepreneurs that should not be overlooked. As an entrepreneur, you’ve had the vision, initiative and energy to launch and roll out your company. But how do you make it grow?
Follow these 15 life-changing tips for entrepreneurs to help you scale your organization so that it grows, thrives and succeeds.
1. Focus on the Cash Cows
Some products have higher price and lower volume, while for other products the ratio is reversed. Focus your energies on the higher-priced items. A sporting goods retailer may sell many t-shirts, but selling a single bicycle can account for sales of a hundreds t-shirts. That retailer should quickly learn to focus on moving those bicycles.
2. Develop Strategic Alliances
Look for companies that provide complementary services to your target customers, and approach them about joint marketing and sales opportunities. For example, if you are selling furniture, join forces with an interior designer.
3. Cut Your Workday by 30 Minutes
It sounds counter-intuitive to cut back on your workday, but the truth is, work tends to fill the time that you allot for it. Deliberatly shortening the workday will force you to be more efficient and will provide additional time for creative thinking or problem solving.
4. Define an Objective for Every Meeting
Get to the point. People have a tendency to fill the silence with unnecessary talking. That’s not what meetings are for. They’re for solving problems.
Enter every meeting with an agenda and desired objectives, and then once you’ve achieved one objective, move on to the next item.
5. Identify and Re-Direct Conflicts
Conflict is inevitable, but fighting is a choice.
As a leader, your job is to identify tension between individuals or teams and turn that tension into something positive. Tell your team how it works: a degree of tension is positive as it shows everyone is working with intensity, but you should nurture a “we’re all in this together” ethos. Make it clear that conflict will distract from your goals.
6. When Planning for Change, Don’t Look Back
We use the past to inform our thinking, but to be successful we must always look 6, 12 or 24 months into the future.
Don’t look back – the environment and trends on which you should be focused don’t even exist yet. But as an entrepreneur, you will create them. Move forward.
7. Kill Your Presentation Anxiety
Public speaking consistently ranks as people’s biggest fear, even worse than death.
As a business leader, you should overcome your anxiety and become a dynamic public speaker. The good news is you can learn to overcome the fear and become a fabulous presenter. Even addressing your fear out loud goes a long way towards putting it behind you.
8. Know What it Takes to be Successful in Your Organization
Identify the traits, characteristics and factors that help to realize the organization’s goals. Empower your people to embrace success by creating a “Success Committee” – have people input their concepts of what it takes to be successful. They will own those traits.
9. Schedule Time with Your Communications Devices, then Turn Them Off
Face it – people could spend all day staring at a computer or smartphone.
This includes the boss. Your time is better served talking to staff, phoning clients or talking about your business. Put the computer on hold for now. It was meant for communications, not to suck up your whole day.
10. Provide Tools for Visual Collaboration
Are you searching for answers to your company’s problems? Of course you are. Everyone is. Here’s a secret – your people have the answer, they just don’t know it yet. Provide them the opportunity and tools for addressing problems and brainstorming solutions. Give them impromptu meeting areas, whiteboards and flipcharts, then display their results to show others that collaborative work is ongoing.
11. Require Customer Deposits
Getting deposits at the beginning of the customer relationship reduces strain on cash flow, secures commitment to the project and initiates the relationship properly.
12. Use an Effective Financial Reporting System
Once you have grown beyond the startup phase, it’s time to ditch the spreadsheets and adopt a more sophisticated financial reporting system.
Financial reports track revenues; expenses, profit margins, cash flow and operating expenses, and they are essential for long-term decision-making.
13. Make Feedback a Constructive Discussion
We’ve all seen this feedback cycle: managers only give feedback when something goes wrong, employees associate feedback with negative criticism, they shy away from having discussions with their managers, and nobody gets any closer to realizing their goals.
Turn that situation around. Let employees and managers know that every interaction is a chance to get closer to the company’s goals. Everything – whether positive or negative – should be construed as a collaborative step towards team success.
14. Mentor Your Employees
Stop putting your people through “training.” Stop helping them “learn the ropes.” When people are in training they have limited expectations for what’s expected from them or what they’re being asked to do. Mentor your people. They’ll know they are being groomed for greater things, which they are.
15. Thank Your People
Here is an understatement: humans respond positively to increased self-esteem.
Let your employees know they are appreciated by saying “thank you.” It’s okay if you don’t even know what you’re thanking them for. They’ll know.
Tips for Entrepreneurs — Your Turn
Have any of these tips helped you grow as an entrepreneur or help your company grow?
Which tactics were the most effective?