Keeping a small business upright isn’t easy. Around two thirds of new businesses will go under within three years, and a third of those will have collapsed within just twelve months. If your business is to stay standing for the long term, it’ll need to have the right underlying structure in place. We’re not just talking about procedures, buildings and the sorts of things that can be written down on a flow-chart, but more diffuse cultural practices that will inform decisions throughout the organisation, and make the difference between success and failure.

Let’s take a look at what the most important pillars of a small business’s success might be.

Keep Records

If you’re running an especially small business (perhaps out of your spare room), then you’ll need to take record-keeping seriously. Fortunately, there are services like QuickBooks which can simplify your billing and make those tax returns a great deal less stressful.

Aim for Generous Margins

If you aren’t making enough money, you won’t be able to grow and sustain your business. Many new businesses make the mistake of pricing too aggressively, because they fear weak sales. But if you set your prices low initially, it’s hard to adjust them upwards without alienating customers and undermining the trust you’ve built. If you find that your cash flow isn’t sufficient, you might have to resort to short-term financing from a reputable lender like Liberis.

Forge Lasting Relationships

In the long term, it’s much easier to keep existing clients, customers and suppliers than it is to attract new ones. For this reason, your interactions with outside parties should be as positive as possible. That means never exaggerating the benefits of what you’re providing, and going the extra mile wherever possible. Using tools like a virtual address for home business can help keep you organized and keep giving your clients a positive experience. As a small business, you’ll be relying to a large extent on word-of-mouth; don’t undermine your success by annoying your customers. If you attract negative reviews on websites like Trustpilot and Google’s own listings, you can expect a fall in custom.

Manage Your Expectations

Some businesses grow exponentially, exceeding even the wildest dreams of the people who set them up. But these are the exceptions rather than the rules. Furthermore, they tend to collapse just as quickly as they emerge, because they lack the supporting structures that will keep a steadily-growing business upright.

Think Long-Term

If you’re racing every day to keep up with the short-term demands on your business, then you might not spot those long-term opportunities and dangers until it’s too late. Set aside a few minutes every week to meet with your staff and consider where you’ll be in a year’s time – or even further away than that!

Invest in Technology

Regardless of what industry you’re in, you will be needing software and project management tools that will help you or your employees get the job done. For instance, staff rota software helps hospitals, restaurants and even gym owners manage their staff more efficiently and ensure that there are no oversight or absences caused by failure to provide employees their schedules ahead of time. Another investment you can make is Live Chat outsourcing, this will ensure the customers you do have remain satisfied with around the clock support at no additional effort from you.

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