Small businesses have to overcome a lot of hurdles to succeed. In addition to building a reputation and a clientele, you have to get the word out, keep your staff organized, and continue to grow and make enough money to pay your workers, your investors, your overhead, and still make a profit.
Every little bit counts, so here are some habits to develop that will help your business make and keep more money:
1. Get out of your comfort zone.
Of course, it's easier to do what you're used to. It feels safe and comfortable. But if you don't push yourself, you'll never grow, and neither will your business.
How do you know what your business is capable of achieving if you don't push the boundaries? Stretch yourself daily in your business, and do something different that will set you apart. Remember that action can propel a business to profit.
2. Watch your competitors and learn their secrets.
Study your competitors and your contemporaries to see how they operate their own businesses. Make time to do this--it's research for your job. You won't be able to learn all of your competitors' trade secrets, but you can watch and learn some tactics that you can modify to suit your own business.
Make Google your best friend and check out what's being said about your competitors. What are they doing well? What can you improve? Incorporate these tips into your daily work routines.
I used this method to determine what areas I could improve on within my own business and saw great success. Don't be afraid to consider the "big dogs" as your competitors, comparing yourself to someone at the same level as you won't get you very far.
3. Focus on what you are good at and delegate everything else.
Your time is precious. As an entrepreneur and a business owner, you should be spending time coming up with new ideas, testing plans, and fine tuning what works to make it work even better.
Give some of the work to your staff. It's tempting to do all the work yourself (especially if you are a hands-on person by nature and you love your job, as most entrepreneurs do) but take it from me--you won't have time.
Overworking yourself is not an option. Foregoing sleep will catch up with you, likely setting you back in your business. I have made these mistakes over the years and let me tell you, it's not worth it. Delegate responsibilities to others and focus on what you are good at. It will save you time, energy and money.
If you are having trouble remembering this, do yourself a favor next time you sit down to stuff mailers or answer a customer service email. Write yourself a note to delegate and hand that work over to an employee while you do work that only you can do for your business.
4. Be frugal.
Have you heard that age-old saying that a penny saved is a penny earned? It's a truism for a reason. The more money you can save, the more money you can keep--it's that's simple.
Always ask yourself if you can possibly get an item or a service cheaper elsewhere. Ask yourself what you can do without. If you always ask yourself this question every time you need to buy something, frugality will become a core business habit.
5. But don't be afraid to spend when necessary.
If you need something, and your business with suffer without it, or it will make your life easier, buy it. Consider it an investment. After all, your time is worth money.
6. Treat your staff and contract workers well.
Treat the people who work for you well, and pay them well if you can. These are the people who you rely onto make your business tick.
If you've found workers that you like and trust, show your appreciation, pay them on time, and keep them on your side. Create a space that they want to grow within.
7. Track one major business metric daily.
It's hard to keep on top of metrics, especially if you are doing it all yourself. You may find that it is so overwhelming that you will procrastinate doing it, and then you will start falling behind. It's a lot easier to keep on top of if you focus on just one metric every day.
It's not so hard, or so scary then, and you can do it first thing in the morning after checking your email and having your morning coffee. If you start doing it daily, it will become a habit over time, and checking your metrics will become just like checking your email or social media.