Business owners have a unique responsibility not only to keep their business running, but to lead their employees well. If you’re hoping to get your business working like a well-oiled machine, know this: it’s possible. But it will take constant introspection on your part to ensure that you’re doing right by yourself, your business, and your team.
But don’t think that digging deep is a one-time deal that will lock in success. Keeping your business running smoothly takes ongoing evaluations and introspection. We all change throughout life. So do businesses. And for a business to survive and thrive, it (and you) must evolve with the changing needs of customers.
As you head into the new year, perhaps making resolutions for improved health and a balanced life, it’s a great time to start asking yourself the right questions that could amplify your business, team and your own success in the next year.
Here are 5 questions you should be asking yourself.
Question 1: Can your business keep running without you?
The best businesses maintain profitability even if the owner takes a much-needed vacation or steps away for a spell. If your business and employees can’t get anything done without you, it may be time to instill a sense of ownership into them. Train your team right by giving them the power to make decisions and keep their part of the train moving. If you’re hiring, make sure to hire those who share your vision and who are eager to know that they really are making a difference within your company.
Question 2: What is your customers’ perception of you?
Branding and reputation management is a vital aspect to running a business. After all, no good business can come from customers thinking poorly of your brand, Create surveys or customer satisfaction feedback cards. Find out what they think of your company and take the necessary steps to ensure they smile when they think of your brand.
Question 3: What is your team’s perception of you?
For an employer, it’s quite disheartening to see poor reviews about themselves or their management of the company online. Unhappy employees means lagging productivity, high turnover rates and a generally mundane culture. They also serve as a warning to potential new hires to look elsewhere for a job. But you can be proactive about understanding and changing perceptions. Launch an Employee Attitude (or Engagement) Survey or an Employee Focus Group to find out why your team is doing certain things, what they think of the mission of your company, etc. This will give you much-needed insights. Then it’s up to you to take steps to improve things.
Question 4: What changes do you need to make to start the next year strong?
Whether business has been sluggish, or you’re just ready to take it to the next level, it’s vital to look back on the last quarter or last year to see what you could do differently and shift course accordingly. Figure out where you could improve so you could create some objectives, then outline the tactics and strategies you’ll use to get there.
Question 5: How can you deliver more value to your customers?
Every business has a value proposition that gives customers a reason to buy your product or service over the competitor’s. But if you’ve never fully defined your value proposition, or it’s falling sluggishly behind the times, it could be time to re-evaluate and create more value for your customers. Adding value doesn’t always come at a high cost. Once you understand your customers, who they are, what they like, and what they need, it could be as simple as creating an online community of fans with contests and giveaways, some fun loyalty program, a newsletter full of useful life tips, or an online chat system for instant responses to their questions.
Putting a bit of time in now to figure out how you can amplify your business may just be the thing that sends you skyrocketing in the new year.