15 Dec Small business thinking big: 6 tips from our network
Small business thinking big
What makes a smart small to medium sized business?
We asked people in our network about the characteristics they see as key factors of success in the sector – and here’s what they had to say.
1. Clear proposition
In a market like New Zealand, it’s easy to want to be everything to everyone. There is a tendency to think that because the market is smaller than our international cousins, we need to spread the net wide. Of course a business has to have a market to sell to – and one that is large enough to support existing revenue and growth plans – but focussing in on a clear proposition and defined target audience (customer set) is the fastest way to get the market to sit up and listen to what you have to offer.
2. Resource savvy
The right resources in the right place – it might seem like an easy thing to achieve, but time and time again it proves to be one of the toughest things to master. Recruiting the right people; making a call between resourcing in-house or outsourcing to companies or contractors, all takes some thorough planning. In a sector short on time, it can be very easy to throw a solution at an issue without thoroughly thinking through the alternatives. While it is a short-term solve; it can lead to long-term pain.
3. The human factor
Leadership might seem like a worn out business phrase these days, but regardless, it’s what gets everyone working on the same page and engaged in what the business is trying to achieve. The ‘soft’ stuff like business culture, internal communication and team dynamics all play a vital role in business success.
We asked people in our network about the characteristics they see as key factors of success in the sector. Here’s what they had to say.
4. Finger on the pulse
Data, data, data – whether it is about how the business is performing across sales and fulfilment functions, or what the marketplace is doing, having a finger on the data means the difference between making informed decisions or working on guesswork. Of course, some great success stories have come from educated guesswork, but on the whole having timely information to hand enables business to capitalise on opportunities as they arise; refine business operations; respond to market changes quickly and generally make smart decisions.
5. Smart systems
Whether it is IT or the processes established to run efficiently, being systems smart enables business to focus on the task of ‘doing business’ rather than ‘running the business’. Mapping out processes implementing systems or automating functions, frees up the business to focus on customers and market opportunities instead of operational needs and issues.
6. Planning for success
Usually, success doesn’t just happen. It has been planned for and thought through – what is achieved in a year began months before. Looking ahead to assess market changes against planned growth and defining the steps that need to be achieved in sequence is what ultimately delivers on goals.
What are your thoughts? If you have a characteristic of smart small to medium business you’d like to add to the list, please get in touch.