By Lisa Nielsen, Demand Media
Small business owners and managers need a way of gauging their success, but the benchmarks for one business type may be different from another type of business. Still, critical success factors are common to most businesses that assist management in measuring whether they are on track toward reaching profit and market share goals.
Employee Attitudes Drive Growth And Change
Attitudes drive behaviors that result in change. If your employees do not take initiative, make suggestions, happily stay late when necessary and strive to do their best work all the time, your business will certainly stagnate. A key business success factor is a motivated and committed workforce. Without that, no amount of vision and planning will provide the framework for growth and prosperity.
Avoid keeping up-to-date with technology at your own peril. The company that utilizes technology to open up new markets, serve customers, increase efficiency and new product and service development has the better chance of besting competition. This success factor, along with your motivated workforce, can also help you weather business downturns.
Financial Success Factors
Most business owners will first measure success in terms of financial factors. But, while a business needs to make a profit to survive, if the right technology and workforce are not in place, profits will be more elusive. Profits, though, are a key measure of success along with positive cash flow, a manageable debt load and a drive toward efficiency in holding down variable costs, among others. Financial success indicators may also be different from one industry to the next.
Even if your business is strictly local, the size of your global footprint is important to your future and is a measure of your success. In today’s world of instant communication, you have the ability to share information, develop new products and open new markets more easily than ever before. Examine ways to expand globally and make it a part of your plan that is continually reviewed and graded.
Many firms make the mistake of not carefully overseeing their marketing message. They have different messages going out to the same audience at the same time which confuses potential and current prospects. Companies with a consistent message across all media platforms, such as websites, paid media and other forms of marketing collateral, are the more successful marketers. Marketing consistency is a success factor that any company should not overlook.
Lisa Nielsen is a marketing consultant for small businesses and start-ups. As part of her consultancy, she writes advertising copy, newsletters, speeches, website content and marketing collateral for small and medium-sized businesses. She has been writing for more than 20 years. She is also a business strategist, trainer and executive coach. Nielsen holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Miami.