Running your business, no matter what kind — service, retail, large or small — shares the very same steps to success as other businesses. If your equation for success results in cash-flow freedom (and what business owner doesn’t desire that?), then here are the most important steps to achieve it.
Every business owner needs to be efficient. We’ve all got the same 24 hours in a day, but if you don’t use them efficiently, you’ll never see the success (or the cash flow) you want. Entrepreneur contributor and author of “No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs,” Dan Kennedy, boils time management down to five key techniques anybody can use for efficiency:
- Make lists and use them. Your schedule, things-to-do and people-to-call are just a few to keep you on track.
- Use tickler files. Whether you prefer digital or paper, assign things to memory by using daily files for the current and next two months in order to keep things prioritized but out of mind until you need them.
- Minimize those meetings. If you can’t get out of them, at least keep them focused and short.
- Block your time to include appointments with yourself and your work.
- Use “odd lot” time like waiting in line or in a reception room for catching up on industry news and small tasks.
Productivity is like the knot you tie with the ropes of efficiency. Nike might have said it best with the catch phrase “Just do it,” but productivity at work takes some planning and focus. That isn’t to say you have to be perfect, but being productive means being proactive. Manage distractions and get things done by:
- Turning off notifications, or at least keeping them to a minimum.
- Setting deadlines that give you just enough stress that you’ll manage your time well.
- Taking regular breaks to avoid burnout.
- Making one of your regular breaks an exercise break. Even a short walk will clear your head and help you regain focus.
Marketing is crucial for cash flow, because let’s face it, if you don’t get the word out about your product or service, who will ever know your business exists? The good news, though, is that marketing is easier and more accessible today than ever before.
With social channels like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, you can post, tweet and share videos in a matter of seconds. You’ll build awareness of your brand, trust with your customers and be able to measure your impact and optimise your conversion rates, which will increase your cash flow.
So the word’s out and your brand is a household name because of your marketing. Time to spend some time making the sale. You can choose to do it yourself, pay a team of salespeople to do it for you, let technology make the sale for you or combine the best of all worlds.
Affiliate marketers can help you make the sale by acting as a virtual sales team. And with business payment solutions like IntegraPay, you don’t have to worry about accepting credit or debit cards online, or dealing with automated and recurring payments. This is a business payment solution that takes care of both ends — taking payments from customers and also paying the people that help you make the sale.
But don’t just limit your income to a landing page or website. Your social networking channels (the same ones you use for marketing) can act as a sales outlet, too. You can accept credit cards and direct debit payments right from your Facebook page and through your videos, especially with the right business payment solution.
Now that you’ve got customers, you want to take care of them. Customers remember service, whether it’s good or bad, so if you want to keep building your customer base, you need to take the time to treat your customers right.
- Interact with them in person, especially if you operate a service business.
- Engage with them on social media and get to know them.
- Show customers that you care by taking an interest in them and giving them the right impression from start to finish.
You’ve worked hard up to this point to build your business and build a relationship with your customers. Now it’s time to retain them for the long run. A one-time sale might pay the bills today, but it certainly won’t keep paying them. Develop what you offer to customers so that it will fit their continuing needs. Take all the research, all the metrics and, most importantly, all the information they’ve shared through the relationships you’ve built and keep them coming back for more.
If you’ve followed all the steps up to this point, there should be no doubt that you’ll have lasting cash flow. But just to make sure, you can explore multiple ways to expand your business model and keep the cash flowing. Memberships, subscription services and even just providing your loyal (and potential) customers with monthly payment options can ensure a future of reliable, recurring income without the peaks and troughs of one-time sales. Take care of customers with plenty of options and they’ll keep returning the favor through their loyalty.
A part of taking care of your employees, affiliates and customers for the long run is providing seamless payments. You can’t just know how to take direct debit payments and credit card payments, you’ve got to use a seamless card payment solution that works for the size your business is now and one that will grow with you. IntegraPayoffers small business payment solutions as well as payment solutions for larger companies that take the extra step of providing seamless transactions for your customers and all your other needs.
Don’t leave out a single step if you want to continue down the road to success. From start to finish, each step will flow from the previous one for lasting success.