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How to keep your business moving forward

4 business owners talking_detail

Taking simple steps can lay the foundations that will enable your firm to thrive

Many small businesses will be looking to grow, and there are a number of essential ingredients to establish a strong root system that will support your business as it expands.

Have integrity

My first ground rule is that a business should be founded upon a principle of integrity. You and your business will require the cooperation of many other parties during its lifetime and the surest way of building firm relationships is to establish a reputation for trustworthiness. 

I mean here that you will not demand of others something that you will not deliver yourself. That is true for both internal and external aspects to your business. I’m not suggesting that you become naïve in your outlook. To be successful you will need to be shrewd but do not confuse that with being devious.

Communicate

Communicate positively to all around you. It’s when others know what your direction is, and what the environment is, that they can react to situations in support of your goals. This breeds confidence and you will find that you will be spending less time correcting mis-aligned actions, or directing even the smallest activities. 

Motivate

Motivate all around you. Set your business objectives as aspirational and not just safe. You might fall a little short of where you set the objective but you will be much further ahead than the safe target. Reward yourself and your team for success, and recognise contributions being made towards that. This doesn’t have to cost anything if done honestly and openly, but it will encourage efforts towards greater achievements.

Measure progress

How do you know that your business is “on track”? The answer is: measure everything. At the business level you will know the numbers that are important but encourage your team to measure themselves. Everyone should have some personal measures that continuously tell them where they are against targets. Actions can be taken early to correct under-achievement.



Encourage a no-blame culture

When things go awry, and they will, do not look to blame as a first response. The first priority is to keep the business on course. Analyse the situation and take the right corrective action. When the business is back on track take a breath, consider the circumstances and then take the necessary actions to ensure that the event that caused the problem is never repeated. Part of that is to make sure that everyone in your business learns from it. 

Take action

Inertia is a hard thing to break and get moving. Avoid prevaricating over decisions that need to be taken. Things very rarely heal themselves in business. Catch them early and act decisively. 

Garry Smith is a business coach at Advantage Business Partnerships and the co-author of Creating Business Advantage: Setting Up and Running A Successful Business