No two businesses are the same; each has a unique imprint on the business world as they are often a result of the people behind them. Having said that though, no matter the size of the business, they all have similar goals and interests in mind.
Here are just a few rules almost any business should live by.
Survival Before Growth
Though the word ‘survival’ might seem strong, it’s important to hammer home how vital surviving is for businesses. So many businesses just don’t make it, and focussing too much on growth may be one of the issues causing this.
If you put all your time and energy into your business, it’s natural to want to see it grow as much as possible and as quickly as possible. This isn’t just the desire of small businesses as most big businesses put so much of their resources into growth alone.
Having ambition is a great attribute. It keeps you motivated and allows you to set goals and slowly achieve them. This can turn negative, however, when growth is put before the business’ survival. It’s perfectly fine for a business to be doing well for years without really growing.
After all, the bottom line of a business is to make money. If it’s doing that for you, you’re already doing better than most.
Spend Within Your Means
This is a piece of financial advice that is often thrown around as it is good advice for anyone to live by, whether you own your own business or not. Living within your means is about spending the money you have, not the money you don’t.
This can be difficult to implement as a business sometimes, especially as a new one. Many businesses are started through the use of a business loan, so you are already living above your means by default.
Having said that though, living within your means is less about never being in debt and more about not spending more than you should in that given time. It can be so tempting to spend as much as possible, especially in the early days, as you feel that it will benefit you in the long run.
There is so much that you can do without in your business, though, and knowing the difference between what you need and what you don’t need is a vital skill to pick up early on. When you live within your means as a business, you are decreasing the risk of being financially unstable
Spend On What Matters
In the same vein as living within your means, it’s important to know when to spend. Living frugally doesn’t work in every aspect and it can take time to see when is a good time to spend and when isn’t. There are times in which you can spend a lot of money without any guilt, though. For example, if you’ve just opened your own coffee shop, spending a bit of money on a couple of high-quality coffee machines can make a real difference to your quality of business. While you may be able to get by with a couple of cheaper machines, you might really notice the difference after a while.
It’s also important to understand when you need to buy something to ensure that your business avoids any trouble going forward. Something like hiring an accountant to do your taxes or getting the best tools for online security are two examples of something that may be vital to your business.
Put the Customer or Client First
Though sayings like “the customer is always right’’ may be a little outdated, it’s crucial for businesses to put their customers and clients first. These individuals, or sometimes groups like other businesses, are the source of your income and should be treated that way. When businesses put those who buy their product or services first, the customers can really tell and will be much more likely to come back.
The old adage that ‘when you do a good job for someone, they tell a friend, but when you do a bad job they tell ten’ certainly has some truth to it. If you want to do well as a business, you must know how to conduct yourself and acting in a manner that puts the people buying your product or service first is truly a great place to start.
So, whether you own a store that physically deals with customers every day, own a remote business that handles customer queries over the phone, or regularly find yourself in meetings with other businesses, putting them first is often a good idea.
Greener is better
As more and more consumers become more eco-conscious, it’s vital that businesses follow suit and reflect this. As news of the climate crisis makes more and more headlines, it’s hard not to feel the urge to do better in your own life.
Customers want to know that the businesses they are shopping with share their ethics and it’s usually always safer to go with the greener option when buying something or making any changes to your business.
On a more personal note, is it right for any business owner to make a profit when they are contributing to damaging the planet? This is certainly a hot topic when it comes to big companies, as not all of them have the most eco-friendly practices.
Running a business is difficult and, like a lot of hard things in life, it sometimes feels like you just want someone to tell you how it should be done. This has to be learnt the hard way in most cases, though if you can learn how to navigate it all, it can certainly pay off.
These five rules are just some of the practices and habits businesses should get into and doing so can really make a difference. While it’s natural to want to take the easy route now and again, this can really come back to bite you eventually.