Whilst many factors of a business are common regardless of the size of the company, some behaviours are common in big businesses and absent in small businesses – to the determinant of the small business. Here are 3 Big Business Things Every Small Business Should do.
Here are 3 things that big business does and small business doesn’t but really should, especially if they want to break out of owner dependence (where a small business is a more self-employed job than a business due to it being dependent on the owner working in the industry to survive)
3 Things Every Small Business Should do
1. Build in Accountability
Big business has layers of management, and this creates accountability. Small business generally has one owner-manager, and there is rarely anyone there to hold that person to account.
Every idea is a good idea, every excuse valid, and every justification right on the money. The lack of accountability is a major contributor to mediocre results in many small businesses but fortunately, it has an easy fix.
You need to get people around you that will remind you of what you commit to doing and tell you that being too busy is no excuse for not making the sales calls you to know you need to do, for example. It can be a peer, a group, a coach or a mentor but that person must be comfortable telling you the truth.
Top Tips for building accountability in business
- Set clear and specific goals – The more clarity you have around a goal, the easier it will be to measure performance against it.
- Monitor individual performance – Regular feedback is key in creating an environment of accountability and continual improvement.
- Reward success and learn from failure – Make sure that successes are celebrated, while failure is seen not as a negative but a learning opportunity.
- Ensure transparency – Make sure that everyone has access to the same information and data to ensure there is no room for confusion or misinterpretation.
- Introduce positive peer pressure – When working in groups, try to create an atmosphere of friendly competition which can be used as motivation for improvement.
- Make use of technology – Utilize technology to its fullest potential with automated data collection, tracking tools and analytics to help streamline the process of goal setting and performance measurement.
- Encourage collaboration – Ensure that everyone is working together on the same page and that they feel comfortable enough to voice their ideas and concerns.
- Take the time to reflect – After a task or project has been completed, take the time to look back at what worked and what didn’t, so that lessons can be learnt for future projects.
- Celebrate successes – It is important to recognize achievements and celebrate them with those who have contributed
2. Segment & Discriminate against less-than-ideal target clients
Many small business owners are reluctant to focus on segments in the market and are opposed to discriminating against clients who are not core.
This dramatically increases the workload and reduces the value provided to the clients and, in turn, the business’s profitability. Big business does this very well, and in fact, they would not survive if they didn’t.
Singapore Airlines is very comfortable discriminating in favour of the people at the front of the plane, and BMW with the 7 Series buyer.
Your top clients deserve more / better / more prominent, which unfortunately means the bottom clients will get less. In many cases, they expect this anyway. The top ones certainly do. Not all clients are created equal and it is a mistake to try and treat them equally. The other aspect of this point is where clients enter your business.
Small businesses often buy the ‘promise of lots of work ‘ and start new clients off as A clients, only to move some of them down to B and C later when the promised work does not materialise. Big business does this much less. Take the Qantas club – you can’t ‘talk’ your way into the Platinum Club. You have to earn it through flying.
Why? Not because it is full but because it would piss off the current members who have earned their spots and privileges, and they (the current A clients) would likely move to another airline.
Tips on how to work out which clients to target
- Identify the needs of each type of client and ensure you have a system in place to measure how well you deliver on those needs.
- Do not assume that all clients can be treated equally, tailor your approach to each one.
- Measure success by looking at repeat business, referrals, customer loyalty and satisfaction scores.
- Develop relationships with each client and build trust – use methods like phone calls, check-ins, customer surveys and feedback.
- Keep a record of your conversations and interactions with different clients, make sure that you are targeting the right ones.
3. Work on the Business
Whilst big business is known for unnecessary meetings and communication, amongst all the meetings, they actually do a better job at allocating time to work on the company.
Small business owners struggle to find the time and prioritise this activity; as a result, their business grows/develops much slower than it could. Again an easy solution but one that takes discipline. Booking time and location to ensure that you spend weekly working on your business is a key to short and long-term success.
If you are not working on your business, then who is?
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