Back-to-School Business Basics

Remembering the fundamentals of success

Written for SPAN Enterprises

It’s easy to get caught up in the hype of the times. No matter what’s trending, there are always fundamental mainstays guaranteed to keep your business stay afloat. We’ve narrowed down 12 essential practices to help you build or continue to grow your business.

  1. Name and own your values and vision.

Every entrepreneur has a unique view of the world and a firm hold on how they want to create success —whether it’s based on personal ideology or past business experiences of what not to do. It’s important to make sure those values ring loud in your mission or vision statement. Millennials are the most influential group of consumers and authenticity is a top priority when trusting and remaining loyal to a brand, so take the time to name your values and vision, and share it with customers and employees.

  1. Invest time and talent in research and development.

To remain on top, you have to stay fresh. Your best employees should allot a substantial amount of time to reviewing product features and user interface as well as the latest technological advances — related or not. Creativity inspires creativity.

  1. Economics 101: Supply and Demand.

Success in business is equivalent to the needs of consumers. No one will buy a product that doesn’t meet their needs — at least, not for long. The product must match the customer’s desired impact and ingratiate them to you.

  1. Know your niche.

Whatever your product represents — whether it’s sports or business software — it’s imperative to know the industry. Stay informed on the latest related news, products, customer habits and needs that demonstrate and affect demand. Especially know the competition. You should always know your competitor’s products as well as your own.

  1. Nailing a sale, keeping the customer.

Following through on No. 4 means you and your team already understand what customers are up against (industry challenges) and how your product presents a solution (meets demand). Use this niche knowledge to do two things: 1) create a commonality with customers and 2) combat the customer’s reluctance with honest evidence of how the product’s benefits outweigh the cost. Putting industry intelligence into action by understanding and meeting customer needs will keep them loyal and create brand envy among competitors.

  1. Make marketing a priority.

Most businesses include marketing as an afterthought to continue building on sales; however, great businesses and entrepreneurs include it early on in the development phase. Marketing professionals are phenomenal researchers and bring a deeper understanding of customers and human-product connection right into the drawing room. Get ahead of the game by molding your brand during development.

  1. Production should be productive — creating quality products efficiently and effectively.

A cheaply-made, easily-broken product will be quickly dismissed by consumers and it’s hard to come back from that. In the business world, you are what you create and if you don’t consistently create high-quality products, your brand will be regarded as an unacceptable option.

8. Distribution

Like production, pay attention to consistency and quality in distribution efforts. Every product should reach the customer in the same way, in a relatively convenient amount of time.

  1. Meeting legal regulations means you stay in business.

Take the government and professional governing bodies very seriously or you won’t be in business for long. Make an effort to excel at safety, employee and quality assurance standards. Set the precedence and increase customer loyalty simultaneously.

  1. Show appeal to gain a better workforce.

Building your business often equates to hiring others. Obviously, you want the best employees out there, but how do you find them? First, stay true to your mission, invest in company culture, quality production and worthy employee benefits. Second, use your research skills (developed from R & D and knowing your niche) to target employees that meet your needs. Last, go out a find them where they are versus waiting for them to come to you. You can do this by directly proposing to individuals or listing with certain universities and job boards.

  1. Management style can make or break innovation and productivity.

Once you have star-quality employees, you have to manage them in a way that shows respect and motivates creative problem solving and critical thinking. They need to be able to see you as a thought leader and seasoned businessperson while also a humble human being — just like everyone else. Maintaining this balance isn’t easy but valuable to create a welcoming and enterprising environment.

  1. Being a stickler for financial conservatism in business matters.

Leave the micromanagement out of managing employees and include it in managing your finances. All budget items need to have a short-term or valuable long-term return on investment.

This list highlights the most important strategies for success. Whether you’re just starting out or need a refresher to get back on track, these points make good business sense. Remember to stay true to these fundamentals and you will pave your way to the bank.


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