4 Steps to Becoming a Better Business Owner

By Stefanie Neyland, Small Business Content Developer at BizLaunch.com

Your business is up and running. You have sales and employees, and you’re well on your way to running a successful business. But if you think its smooth sailing from here, you’re in for a big surprise. Growing a business takes a lot of hard work—it takes time to establish yourself in the market, and after operating for a few years, many businesses experience slow or stagnant growth. To ensure your business is thriving well into the future you need to start planning now.

Today we share four tips to help you break beyond the slow and steady game and learn to build the strategies, tactics and resources you need to become a better business owner.


1. Analyze your business

Before creating big plans for the future, you need to analyze the present to discover what’s working and what isn’t. You need to know where your greatest prospect for more success lies, and the most effective way of finding that out is by doing a S.W.O.T analysis. You likely address S.W.O.T (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) issues every day; it’s just the nature of business. However, it is worth taking the time to sit down and do a comprehensive analysis. By going through the process of identifying your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats you will expand your understanding of your position in the marketplace and organize the information in a way that’s useful. This reflection also show financial backers that you’ve done your research and helps identify your competitive advantage. For a free S.W.O.T Analysis template, visit the Free Tools section of the BizLaunch website.


2. Know thy customer

There are four basic ways to increase sales: attract new customers, keep your existing customers, help your customers buy more, or help your customers buy more often. Current customers are critical to sales because it’s easier to sell more to a loyal customer than it is to find a new one. The 80/20 rule states that 80 percent of your sales will come from approximately 20 percent of your customers—so be sure to keep that 20 percent happy.

You can also turbo charge your marketing efforts by profiling your ideal customer and finding their commonalities—are they located in the same geographic area? Are there any patterns in terms of how and when they buy?  Look for the details to clearly define who will be your best prospects so you can focus your sales efforts in the right direction.


3. The numbers don’t lie

Accounting is the bane of many entrepreneurs’ lives, but once you realize that it provides an invaluable insight into the overall health of your business, it can be hard to stop looking at the numbers. Ensure you regularly set budgets to keep your business’s spending on track. You should also update your cash flow forecast once per quarter, ensure you know your break-even point, and regularly analyze your financial statements.


4. Educate yourself

Books, blogs, magazines—there’s so much content out there that’s geared specifically towards entrepreneurs and small business owners. Find content that speaks to you; for instance, if you’re currently trying to figure out the best way to market your business, download an eBook on marketing. Or if you want to read general small business content, check out the Inc magazine website, Small Biz Trends or the BizLaunch blog. Webinars can also give you insight into new skills, technologies, and trends that may give you an edge against your competition.


Remember: you hold the power to become a better business owner. It’s simply a matter of investing a little time and energy towards learning and growing.

By Andrew Patricio

October 07, 2014