1. Become an expert on your customers
Reaching new customers is always more challenging than getting in touch with the ones you already have. If you connect in new ways with your current customers, you will quickly discover why they do business with you and potentially, what would lead them to doing more business with you.
2. Systemize your business
Create manuals that document all the procedures involved in your operations including hiring employees, employee job descriptions, production procedures, production work-flow, sales and marketing, accounting and customer service. As you create these documents, you will develop a clearer picture of what you should be doing to ensure your business is running efficiently. Building accountability into your procedures will motivate employees, and develop a culture of effectiveness needed to take your business to the next level.
3. Empower your employees
No matter how hard you work, you simply can't do it all yourself. Quit being such a "control freak" (yes, you) and start empowering the team around you to be responsible for the day-to-day tasks involved in managing your company. You will be amazed at what they can do without you.
4. Retain great people by not taking them for granted
If you have invested time into building a valuable team of employees, learn to appreciate them and acknowledge their efforts often. Say “thank you”, and mean it. It’s a little thing that goes a long way towards turning a group of individuals into a loyal and motivated team.
5. Create a “word picture” of what your business will look like in 3 – 5 years time
If you don’t know where you’re going, how can you tell if you’re heading in the right direction? It’s impossible, of course. The solution is to write a detailed description of the future of your company so that you know what you’re working towards. Next, regularly sharing your vision with the team who will help take you there. This will engage them in the dream and help make the journey significantly smoother.
6. Measure your marketing results
You know you need to invest in marketing, but how can you be sure it’s “working”? There are many different ways to approach marketing, including online social networking, advertising, blogging, and media relations. Whichever you use, you should install measurable strategic indicators so that you stay focused on your goals and retain a picture of which marketing strategies you should focus on.
7. Hire the best business professionals you can afford
Getting your business to the next level will require a team of leaders with a proven track record and excellent reputation: a more expensive team. When you hire the best you can afford, you can rest assured their higher salaries will be more than worth it.
8. Give regular, honest feedback to your employees
If you are involved enough in your business to be able to give your employees regular, useful feedback, you’ll go a long way toward fostering a more productive environment. I’m not saying become a micromanager, but you need be aware of the key projects underway, the lead roles and responsibilities, and the potential challenges your staff is facing, in order to keep your team focused on achieving the goals of your business as effectively as possible.
9. Solve problems rather than alleviate symptoms
It doesn’t take long to recognize problematic pattern – they are inherent in every growing business. Avoid the costly mistake of slapping a Band-Aid on a surface issue and instead address the source from which the problem is stemming. For example, don’t just resolve a customer’s complaint with a refund, do something to ensure it can’t happen again. This approach will save you time, money and morale in the end.
10. Use a gatekeeper
As a business owner, there is never enough time in the day to accomplish everything you need to do. If you install an assistant to manage your schedule, you’ll double your productivity, which means you’ll have more valuable hours for more purposeful work. It more economical to get help than trying to do it all yourself.