Your business does not necessarily need to be the best at everything but it must be the best at something. In order to succeed over the long-term you need to offer something that is superior when compared to your competition.
2. Motivate your employees
Rather than threatening your employees with punishment for failure focus on positive reinforcement and praise them when they succeed. Motivation is a powerful management tool and one which should be used effectively to increase productivity amongst employees.
3. Align individual, group and business objectives
Your overall strategic business objectives should guide the personal and group objectives within your business. Your employees should be setting personal developmental objectives that directly relate to your business objectives. Everyone and everything needs to be pulling in the same direction for optimal success.
4. Find a balance between fixed and flexible strategies
Successful businesses operate well established fixed strategies to maintain their core function while allowing flexible innovative strategies to adapt to changing market needs. Finding a sustainable balance between fixed and flexible strategic management is crucial for long-term business survival.
5. Allocate your resources sensibly
Resources and budgets are often limited and ensuring the right resource, is in the right place, at the right time is critical. Businesses must utilise staff effectively and ensure employees have the physical resources they need to maximise productivity and safety within the workplace.
6. Identify your competitive advantage
To survive as a business you must have a competitive advantage over your rivals. This is often referred to as your unique selling point (USP). Identify your competitive advantage and tell the world about it.
7. Align short-term and long-term plans
Your short-term business objectives must act as stepping stones in achieving your long-term objectives. You need to strike a balance between short-term gains and long-term plans.
8. Find out what your customers want
Research your market, find out what they want and give it to them. If your customers want a specific product, presented in a specific way and customised to meet a specific requirement, do everything in your power to offer it to them exactly how they want it in a more effective and efficient way than anyone else.
9. Test subjectivity with objectivity
Subjective assumptions are commonly branded about in business by so-called experts and it is far too easy to draw inaccurate conclusions about your own business and customers. Where possible try to confirm or deny subjective assumptions with objective data. Market research and operational data will help you test and confirm the accuracy of your assumptions.
10. Automate your processes
As your business develops you should continually review your processes and automate wherever possible. This will result in efficiency savings and free you and your staff up to work on other aspects of your business.
11. Incorporate social objectives
A recent study which focused on 16-25 year olds overwhelmingly reported a desire to work for, work with and buy from businesses who have a social responsibility. If you incorporate aspects of social enterprise into your business operations, supporting the local and global community your business will be much more attractive to potential staff and customers alike.
This is by no means a definitive list and I would love to hear what advice you think I have missed off. These are my tips and I would love to hear yours. Please post a comment below to spark discussion.