1. Money allows a business to thrive.
Must have a personal financial plan. Determine how much you have to invest, how much you’re willing to risk, and how much you will need to live on during your expansion phase. Consult with a CPA, financial advisor or anyone that helps you w/finances. Be really clear about your commitment and the effort involved.
2. Develop and implement clear systems so you remain consistent in all transactions.
Have a plan for everything. Clear, concise directions in written form for how the business operates is imperative for 1. when you are not in the business (away) and 2. so that anyone can step in to any store and handle what needs to be done. Consider this to be a roadmap to be followed at every turn. Eliminate confusion by creating specific guidelines.
3. Balance business and family life.
As women we think we can do it all. Let’s get real. We need to ask for support, understanding, etc. Choose between burnout and lasting relationships. Be prepared AND prepare your family for long hours, sacrifice, and conflict. Set aside family time. Take time for you as well.
4. Be enthusiastic and positive — speak well of your staff, customers, and colleagues.
It’s a safe bet that the success of any business is linked to the level of enthusiasm individuals bring to the job. Enthusiasm is contagious. It brings a level of excitement and energy to the business everyone can feel including your customers. It motivates staff by making your location a better place to work.
5. Hire the best employees.
Good help is hard to find; great help is essential. It’s one thing to hire. It’s another to retain. Tips on keeping employees: rotate responsibility, cooperate in developing schedules, work with split schedules if necessary, treat employees like gold “which they are”, change conditions that are unfavorable. Keep employees informed of new marketing and other promotions. Get input. Use rewards, incentives to retain valuable help.
6. Provide proper training and allow opportunities for leaders to develop.
Dissatisfied employees can ruin a business. Implement an employee handbook, job descriptions, and training. Regularly train and retrain employees. Hold refresher and advanced classes periodically. Go over procedures. Do reviews. Give opportunities for employees to be challenged, to grow professionally, and to assume more responsibility. Empower seasoned employees with decision making capability.
7. Always give outstanding service to customers.
You are NOT in business to make money. You ARE in business to acquire and maintain customers. Your employees are the front line. Happy employees make for happy customers. Unhappy employees will significantly impact the success or lack of success with your business. Demand excellence. Expect excellence. Your employees are a reflection of you. Customers know when their business is appreciated. (Candy, surprises to customers now and then, decorations, etc . . . . . . anything that speaks “Glad you’re here!”)
8. Get involved in your community.
Membership in a local chamber of commerce is an absolute. People shop businesses that support their community. Provide door prizes or contributions when asked. Be seen as a businesswoman who is committed to her community. This is not an arena in which to be cheap. Participation both physically and monetarily will be returned to you. You can count on it. It’s time and effort well spent to build & sustain good will.
Sponsor a team, participate in a civic group, set aside a day to give a portion of proceeds to charity, offer discounts, etc.
9. Solicit ideas from colleagues. Offer ideas as well.
Network with other business women. Attend seminars, conferences, etc. to gain fresh ideas, to see what other businesses are doing to promote, to sustain employees, to market their products and services. Ask for help. Offer assistance. Be known for being generous with your ideas. Build and sustain professional relationships. 10.Stay focused on your main business.
Minimize costs and maximize sales. Be diligent and observant of how your business operates day to day. Watch out for shrinkage. Shrinkage is merchandise that is missing and unaccounted for due to employee theft, customer theft, vendor theft, or maybe simple bad management, inventory, and ordering procedures. Keep a watchful eye on shipment deliveries, storage, product handling, and store theft. Consider “secret shoppers” once or twice/yearly to analyze customer service and transactions.
10. Plan your labor. Look at your business. Some days are busier than others and some hours during the day are busier than others. Learn how to schedule to meet your need.
The success of your business ultimately rests with you. Pay attention. Becoming and staying successful in business is much more than opening your door. If it is your intention to expand or if you have already consider what you can do to improve your bottom line. Efficiency is key. Focus is key. Your time and effort will pay off IF you choose and act wisely as you build your long term goals.