by Alex Sebuliba, digital marketing strategist for STA International
Starting a business is an undoubted risk at any time – you’re pouring your time and finances into a venture that might easily fail. In fact, it’s much more likely to fail than it is to succeed, so you need to do everything you can to maximise its chances of becoming a viable proposition in your chosen industry.
You should have already done things like identify your target market, find premises and figure out the logistics of how the business is going to work and expand in your business plan, so they won’t be covered here. These are, in the main, the aspects of running a business that you might not necessarily think about, even though they’re just as important as the parts listed above.
1. Cash flow management.
Poor cash flow management is one of the main reasons for the death of a company – if you cannot afford to pay suppliers or employees, things will go downhill very quickly.
You should always attempt to ensure you have more money coming in than going out, and forecast the times when this might not be the case. This will allow you to plan the company’s activities in advance because you should always have a good idea of how much cash you will have to invest or save for a rainy day. Additionally, always look to cut costs and improve your margins in any way you can.
2. Company culture matters.
Your company’s culture will be a big factor when it comes to the hiring and retaining of key employees. Keeping them engaged by offering a fun, focused place to work where they have autonomy and the power to make changes to the way things are done if they feel they are necessary will ensure that the company grows in a positive way. It will also ensure that the core group stays together through that process, because they feel valued and want to remain where they are.
3. With new employees, character is vital.
With the company culture aspect in mind, you should only new employees who will fit in with the mind-set you have cultivated at work. Emotional intelligence is an incredibly important virtue to prize and search for, because those are the employees that you will be able to promote to leadership positions as the company grows. Additionally, good communication and the ability to take charge and assert oneself in a situation should also be sought after as far as desirable skills are concerned.
4. Learn to delegate and trust others.
As the founder of a business, you cannot take care of every little detail as the organisation grows and becomes healthier – there aren’t enough hours in the day for every decision to be run past you. You have to learn to trust and delegate tasks and decisions to senior members of the team. If they have the right kind of character and have truly bought into the company culture that you have developed, there should be no problems – they will put the same level of heart and dedication into their work that you do.
5. Learn to manage.
You may also have to learn to manage effectively in the first place – in many cases people don’t possess the skills needed to become a solid and respected leader, capable of inspiring those they work with. This leads to raised levels of workplace stress and decreased productivity. However, management skills can be picked up and developed to ensure that employees feel as though they can take ownership of their tasks and remain engaged with and focused on their work by following your example.
6. Learn how to fail effectively.
You should never be afraid to fail – no-one can be perfect all the time, and businesses of all shapes and sizes make mistakes from time to time. A lot of companies now say that it’s okay to fail as long as you learn from the experience and don’t make the same mistake again, and that should be the attitude you take as well. You might not want to be a risk-taker ordinarily, but as many positives as negatives tend to come out of taking risks, so it’s worth trying different things to see if you can find a better way of performing tasks and meeting your customers’ needs.
Alex Sebuliba is the digital marketing strategist for STA International (International Credit Control Specialists). Alex is passionate about all things business and loves to read write and share anything to do with start-up growth and personal development within the business environment.