After the first year of business, what are the biggest priorities of small business owners?
I have been publishing children's books for just over a year. I am interested to hear what small business owners shift their focus to once they have worked through a lot of tasks that come with starting a business in the first year. After starting, what is important to you?
Hi Caitlin, congratulations on making it past yr 1 - most don't make it this far.
Your question is somewhat vague and I believe it will depend on your business type, management strategies and business assumptions. And to answer it subjectively, i believe it will depend, highly on where you are with your business.
While there is no one size fits all model, most business owners I work with will be taking stock of their last years performance against projections. A number of scenarios come to mind...
1. Performance - How has the business performed against assumptions ( ie,; operations, management, customer base, budgets and revenue.
2. Innovation - What have you learnt in the first year about your business ( processes, delivery, customer engagement and sector insights) and how you can do it differently or better to increase your bottom line.
3. Growth - Examining your business strategies to look for any problems and bottlenecks that would inhibit growth. Planning improvements and understanding the timings (how and when) to execute your growth strategies (customer acquisitions, product and pricing variations, branding, marketing and sales etc.)
Hope this helps and feel free to connect if I can be of further help.
Good luck and wish you success.
I found a quote I'm using in my client, legal and law school presentations:
"Half the battle is being able to take the punishment."
Sorry to report on focus but it may be the same. Just clearer. Still looking for sales and looking out for competition.
You're just going to be better and faster at making decisions.
Gaining customers; improving the product or service; establishing costs and pricing; better sales presentations; Promotion for sure (there are eight components under Promotion, one of the 9P's of marketing (http://www.londremarketing.com/documents/LondreMarketingConsulting-NinePs.pdf), and the most important Place or Distribution, under the 9P's.
Hope that helps. Here to help. All the best on focus.
First, I would try to see what activities of your business you can automate. Any customer servicer responses, social media postings, payroll and bookkeeping if necessary, etc. Now that your business is up and running, it is time to focus on growing your business, rather than running it. Any administrative task that takes up a huge chunk of your day, try to minimize the workload if possible without hurting the overall efficiency of your business.
After that you will have more time to focus on the fun stuff! Like marketing, boosting sales, and building a brand. Good luck!
Cynthia and Roland have provided most of what is needed.
What is also necessary is establishing standard operating procedures for the administrative tasks as well as accounts receivable.
Make sure you have all the terms in your contracts, new account /credit applications and invoices to protect yourself.
Make sure the companies you sell on credit /terms are credit worthy.
Cash flow is very important for all businesses especially young ones.
Make sure you or someone is on top of all past due invoices.
All invoices that are 90 days past due should be sent to a collection agency.
At 90 days past due you are 30% less probable of getting paid.
It's all depend on the type of business, industries. After the first year, you can see your last year strategies and find how much it effective for you or not. You can plan new strategies if last year strategies did not work well. Find the fact why last year business strategies don't give proper output, look for any problems that you see on it and find the best solution how to remove then. Create a business plan & start to promote your business. Discuss with your business head & create a marketing plan and building your brand. Follow new marketing trends, join social channel etc.
Target the next year goal that you want to achieve like increase the all over turnover and how it will become the big brand etc.
I concur with Cynthia Bellgan that automation is super helpful. I also concur that job #1 for a small business owner is always getting the next profitable sale. Without profitable sales, you don't have a business. Driving your business forward should always be first on your list whether you are in year 1 or year 21. If you ever stop focusing on that you will quickly find your business going backward.
I agree with the comment that it has nothing to do with the years but rather the phase of the business. The first phase is a focus on breaking even cash-wise, getting any funding required, and sharpening up your market dominating position. In the next phase you focus on a solid marketing and sales plan, as well as laying out a 'budget' of your sales, expense and profit targets going forward
Your focus should always be generating leads, converting those leads to clients, generating revenue and managing your cash flow.
Small business are like yachts shorter than 30ft: extremely sensitive to waves when leaving inner waters. The biggest priority for the first year is to leave harbor behind without water flooding into...
Caitlin, Great question. It's not really a function of time as much as it is a function of what stage of growth your business is at. Most business owners don't really understand that a business matures through a predictable process. The stage dictates what you do. You can find a better explanation of the growth cycle https://vimeo.com/146524494 or via my book title Business Growth Simplified available on Amazon http://amzn.to/1Oe21zF
Surviving to the next year, developing a business plan with a Score counselor, developing a mission, vision, and tag line,,,, Learning zero based budgeting, and selling and positioning your organization
1. To continue to find new customers, and 2. develop new products for existing and new customers.
The 2nd year of the new business should always to remain the reorganizing and evaluating your business plans and execution, whether it is HR, Administration, Marketing, Production and New Scopes of Business operation.