You most probably found this blog because your business is currently not doing very well. That’s completely normal for many small businesses.
As humans, we make mistakes. We tend to repeat them and fall into patterns. It’s part of being human. It’s unfortunate, and you may have already figured it out by now, but no matter how prepared you are, running a business can always surprise you with challenges.
9 Questions to Help You Make a New Plan for Your Business
1. Communication is key, but do I make good use of it?
Communication is a habitual part of us that we rarely think about. Business communication, however, is a whole different story. It affects efficiency, productivity, and every layer of a company.
What we are trying to say is you should spend an extra amount of your time solely to perfect the communication within your company.
Employees that communicate well together have a 25% better productivity rate.
A 25% better productivity rate can improve the speed with which an employee does their job, the quality of their work, and their overall performance. Through better communication, you can expect:
- Faster company growth
- Increase in revenue
- Improved customer service
The end result — happier customers and higher profits!
That being said, we can see communication really is an essential part of running a successful business. If that is one of the current problems you have in your company, there are ways to strengthen it. Here is how:
- Improve your writing skills
- Enhance your listening skills
- Ask questions for better understanding
- Be as accurate as possible
- Ask for honest feedback
Another tip we would like to share is to lend your ears to those who need to talk. Identifying the situation of a client and sympathizing with what they are going through will help you make sound decisions as far as your own business is concerned.
2. Are my employees underperforming?
Throughout work, you are likely to encounter an employee whose performance is not up to par. And the worst thing to do is to ignore the problem and hope it goes away.
Doing that can cause more damage than there already is. The underperforming employee can create a negative domino effect on the rest of the team, and that is the last problem you would want to deal with.
The right thing to do is to work on a solution together. Give your employee a chance to take responsibility in their own hands. This will provide extra motivation for them to improve. While working on a solution, make sure you outline the clear objectives and the necessary actions.
In time, if the employee starts doing better, recognize and reward their improvement. Show them that constant efforts aren’t left unnoticed. Gift cards are a great way to express your gratitude for their hard work and dedication.
This is the best-case scenario. Unfortunately, it won’t be like that with every employee. For some, it may be time to let them go. Holding on could lead to a toxic effect on your business.
3. Is my time-management not distributed well?
As your business grows bigger and bigger, so does your workload. With more tasks comes greater responsibility and the need to sharpen your focus. The trick is to use your time effectively and organize your tasks day by day so you can get more things done.
Time management is far from simple and takes time to develop. It’s different for each person, so you need to find what works best for you.
Here are 3 ways to improve your time-management:
- Delegate tasks — We tend to take more tasks than we can realistically complete, but this can lead to burnout and stress. Delegate work to your coworkers based on their skills and abilities, and get more things done.
- Prioritize work — Don’t just rush into work, take a few minutes to distribute your tasks based on urgency. Your time must be focused on tasks that need immediate attention.
- Set up deadlines — Challenge yourself, but don’t set impossible deadlines, keep them as realistic as possible. Also, don’t forget to reward yourself for meeting your expectations.
Daily practice is a must to gain experience in managing your time better. The 3 strategies above can help you, but there are many more things to consider when it comes to proper time management.
4. Is my business at the right location?
The location of your company is one of the most important elements that can both positively and negatively impact your business.
If your business is at a convenient location, you may expect faster growth, an increase in sales, and better brand visibility. But if the location is inconvenient, it may affect the price of your product or service, as well as the message you use to promote your business.
Think about your suppliers, the easier it is for them to reach your premises on time and deliver goods, the better. The accessibility of your business is an important element, especially if you are a direct seller of goods and services.
Speed of delivery has a huge impact on productivity, therefore, the closer you are to your suppliers, the faster your product can be put out on the market.
Here is a great article about whether location is one of the things that is dragging your business down.
5. Does my value proposition meet customer expectations?
Effective value propositions on their own can give you a huge advantage over your competitors. Although there is a problem. Very few businesses have a great value proposition. As a matter of fact, only 2.2% of companies have useful value propositions.
You have to figure out whether your value proposition is effective enough. The last thing you want is your ideal customers to turn to your competitors because they don’t understand how your product or service can help them.
Trying to distill your company’s services into one sentence is extremely challenging. The things you should focus on when creating your value proposition are:
- What you offer
- Who you serve
- What differentiates you from your competitors
After you have gone through these, find out what your competitors are lacking. Figure out what you do better than them and why these differences matter to your customers.
6. Am I charging enough to grow my business?
It can get really difficult to determine the perfect price for your product or service. If you undercharge, you may be at risk of being overloaded with work and not making the money you need to sustain your business.
On the other hand, if you overcharge, you might not get any work at all.
Also, if you charge as much as your competitors, then comes the question, why should clients choose you over your competitor. That is especially relevant if you have just started your business, and your competitors have been on the market for way more time than you.
It’s a never-ending cycle of questions and choices.
To calculate the perfect price for your product, you must calculate :
- Your hourly overhead costs
- Your hourly wage
- Your total hourly rate
- How long it takes you to produce your product
- How much materials cost you
7. Is the company cash flow distributed well?
One of the main reasons most small businesses fail is lack of cash.
The most difficult period to deal with cash flow is when you are starting your business. That’s when you have many expenses and not many options to optimize your spending.
Start keeping track of your cash flow with monthly reports. How much money is going for marketing your business, salaries for your employees, business improvement, product resources, etc.?
Based on the first 3 monthly reports, make a plan for maximum profit without reducing the quality of your product and the salaries of your employees.
8. Are leads too expensive?
If you are using Facebook ads to generate leads for your business, but their cost is way higher than you expected, there are many factors you need to look into.
Bad targeting can lead to expensive leads. Therefore, you need to nail down your target audience to reduce the cost of your leads. Narrow down your target audience based on specific demographics, geographical area, and set of interests. If everything is set up correctly, getting clicks and generating action will be a piece of cake.
Audience overlapping is when the target groups you have set are not very different from one another which can lead to your ads competing against each other. Exclude those audiences to avoid bidding against yourself. Make sure your audiences are completely different before running your ads.
Another thing to do to reduce your cost per lead is to test different creatives. Facebook ad sets give you the option to run multiple ads with the same budget. By using texts and visuals that differ from one another, you can see what works best for your target audience, and use that particular ad to get cheaper leads.
9. Are my business plans clear?
Every business needs to have clear goals and, for that, it needs a written business plan. Essentially, this is a visualization of how the road to success of the company will look like.
There are four components of a business plan:
- Executive summary — The overview of your business and your goals.
- Opportunity — What are you selling? What problems does your product solve for your market? What is your target market?
- Execution — How are you going to turn opportunities into a business.
- Financial Plan — No business plan can be complete without a financial forecast. You need to know the sales forecast, cash flow, profit and loss, and your balance sheet.
If your business is struggling, the last thing you need to do is to give up.
Don’t give up!
Business growth can slow down, and it’s completely normal for every business. Instead of panicking, here is what you should do:
- Make your business plan clear and follow it
- Help improve the communication between your employees to increase productivity
- Follow our tips on how to reduce your leads cost
- Control your cash flow
- Provide value to your clients
Running a business is one of the most challenging things you can clash with. Nobody ever said it was going to be easy, but what fun is easy anyway?
Chin up, be passionate about what you have started, and grind to the top.