Small businesses and start-ups can learn a lot from corporate strategy and practice. From how to treat customers, to the best way to focus on data, the corporate world is full of good advice on how to run a business, and many of these ideas are scalable. Use big corporate ideas to run your small business more effectively.
Put the Customer First
You do not have a business without your customers. Those customers may be other businesses, people looking to buy a cup of coffee, or individuals seeking complicated services like legal help. Put your customers first. Use social media to communicate with them, provide great customer service, and figure out what they want and how you can deliver. Give them a reason to return to your business, and give them a reason to tell their friends about the great service they received from you and your employees.
Work With Measurable Data
So much measurable data is at your fingertips: how many people visit your website, how much customers spend on different items, what region of the world sends the most traffic to your online store, and more. Learn your data and know the facts about your business. When you’re running a small business or a start-up, you need to know your overhead and how much it costs your company every time a customer wants to use a credit card. You also need to know what other kinds of data you’re collecting, how you’re analyzing it, and what you can do with that information.
To run a successful business you have to take risks. One way to decrease those risks is to be prepared. Do you have an innovative idea? Research that idea, figure out if it’s viable, and calculate exactly how much it will cost you. Develop a strategy for how you’re going to implement a new plan, how you’re going to invest your money, or how you’re going to spend the money you receive from your investors. Take risks, but decrease the chances that those risks won’t work out by doing your research first.
If you’ve ever worked in a marketing position, you know how important it is to plan effectively. Knowing how long it will take to create one ad, from approval to creative execution, requires correct timelines, significant planning, and an understanding of how departments collaborate. An experienced marketing manager knows the more people involved in a project, the more potential for something to go off the rails. The better you plan, the better your outcome. When you and the team know what needs to be done and when, everyone stays on the same page, and coming back from problems becomes easier.
When you start a company or run a small business, you’re always going to be facing some element of the unknown. Engaging in smart business practices and learning from the wisdom of business leaders who have come before is one great way to head into that unknown with the confidence you need to keep your business booming.