The world is full of advice on what small business owners need to know, but with so much information it’s difficult to know which things to take the most notice of. Not all things are created equal!
So, in an attempt to cut through some of the information and deliver some focus, we’re looking at the 5 things that all small business owners need to understand, regardless of their industry, length of operation, or skillsets.
Vision – The Oxford Dictionary definition of vision is “the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom’, and this ability to think of the future, not just in practical terms but in imaginative terms is key to ensuring that your business is the one that is in a position to make a success of what’s to come. Once the thinking has been done this vision will help you deliver on your goals, and help those you work with to do the same. It doesn’t need to be an earth shattering idea, but it needs to be based upon your knowledge of the situation and be something that you can help others see.
Agility – Your imaginative thinking puts you in good stead to be agile when the world gets in the way of the greatest of plans. If you believe that your plan will be executed down to the letter then you’ll be thrown off course as soon as the first bump in the road occurs. An agile business knows the vision but leaves some of the detail until more information is available before finalising the actions, because this enables you to be nimble and respond when you need to, rather than fixed on an unfruitful path.
Network – ‘A group of people who exchange information and contacts for professional purposes’, isn’t just the definition which means you need to get our there and talk to people about your business, but it’s also the collection of people within your business who can help drive you in the right direction. Everyone you come in contact with will wear different hats in different parts of their lives, so the administrator who helps with the filing, will also be a potential introduction to a new customer, the person who can make you more efficient, or the person who can inspire the team with some timely words of wisdom. Find opportunities for your networks to flourish and you’ll reap the benefits.
Insight – In an age of increasing data it is very easy to drown in information, facts, and figures. But data won’t drive your business forward. What will is insight. That understanding of what the data means and how it can be used to make meaningful decisions on the next steps for your business. What does the fact that your key customer has just started paying you late mean to your finances today, and potentially in six months time? Surround yourself with systems and people who can not just tell you facts, but which can advise you on what to do with it.
Cashflow – Without it you’ll simply not be around long to get the most out of the other four words. Your cashflow isn’t just something that happens as a result of invoices going out and payments coming in. It can be shaped by choosing the right type of customer. It can be adjusted by monitoring the finances of your key trading partners. And it can be made to work in your favour by developing the right kind of business model. Just ask Amazon!