Defining your goals
Running a small business can be an all-consuming task. Sometimes you can be so involved in day-to-day operations that it’s difficult to see the bigger picture. Do you have an end goal? Are you running the business in a way that aligns with your own personal values and aspirations? These are good places to start. What should happen next is a period of reflection to help you define what matters to you in life. Consider the following three-point plan.
1) Work-life balance. How much time are you prepared to dedicate to your business? In an ideal world, how much time would you be able to devote to friends and family and how much time would be spent on the business? What aspirations do you have in your personal life that are currently unfulfilled because of your working schedule?
2) Values. Think about the kind of values you hold, as a person and a leader. What are the qualities you most admire and aspire to? Punctuality? Compassion? Creativity? Mentorship? Consider how you can bring these into the workplace to influence the culture of your business, and how you interact with staff and the local community.
3) Financial security. One personal goal that all small business owners will surely hope to meet is achieving financial security for themselves and their family.
Growing the business
There’s no guaranteed formula for business success. But there are a few common best practices which could help.
They start with understanding your business performance and planning carefully for the year ahead. According to the government, a good business plan will enable you to clarify your business idea, spot any problems, set out your goals and measure progress on an ongoing basis [ii]. Online technology platforms can help with business strategy and planning by providing that all-important visibility into financial performance through recording business data such as payments and transactions in real-time.
People are at the heart of any successful business. That means firstly ensuring you hire the right individuals to staff your business. Make sure they don’t just meet your requirements on paper but are the right cultural fit for your business. Train them thoroughly and check in regularly to ensure staff feel motivated and have enough support.
Customer relationships are another key dynamic to get right. Are you reaching the right consumers? Are you producing products or services they genuinely want? Is the shopping experience meeting their expectations? These are all important questions to answer. Digital initiatives can help you to reach new customers — for example, via social media and email marketing and an e-commerce website. With the UK market for mobile commerce set to experience double-digit growth to reach £88bn by 2022, it’s important that any website also works seamlessly on consumers’ smartphones [iii].
Get payments right
The payments experience is an important part of the shopping journey that could have a major impact on business performance. Take time to ensure you partner with a provider with a proven track record of helping its customers drive growth and success. Customer choice is important in payments, so look for platforms that accept all leading cards, mobile wallets and contactless capabilities.
At Worldpay, we’re passionate about small businesses. Our success is intrinsically tied to the success of our small business customers, so we’re always looking for ways to improve the customer payment experience to help drive success. Setting goals is a great first step on the journey towards running a successful business, but remember to be realistic about growth. What’s right for one small business owner, is not necessarily right for another.
i Parliament.uk business statistics, researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/
ii Gov.uk, www.gov.uk/write-business-plan
iii Worldpay, www.worldpay.com/global/about/media-centre/2018-11/global-m-commerce-to-take-over-desktop-shopping-by-2023