How many times have you asked yourself: what is a successful small business meant to look like?

Sure, some days will feel more about surviving than succeeding, but having a goal in mind is important to keep you inspired.

Success is more than just chasing the big dollars; for a small business it can come in many other accomplishments. In this article we walk you through some of the other goals that you should be working towards as measures of true success.

Customer service & repeat customers

Repeat customers is part of the nature of small business, especially in the construction and trucking industry.

In order to create a loyal base of repeat clients, you need to maintain a high level of customer service. This means accuracy, consistency, and a warm and professional manner. Excellent customer service can lead to word-of-mouth recommendations, which is essentially free advertising!

Happy customers are also likely to leave positive online reviews, which will in turn generate interest and trust in your company.

Keeping up with competition

A successful business doesn’t just focus on their own trajectory; they are always keeping an eye on their competition. Think of your competitors as helpful insights into what’s happening in the market. How are they advertising? What are their prices? Are they utilising social media?

Sending out a ‘mystery shopper’ is a tried-and-true method of gaining some behind-the-scenes understanding of your competition, in a non-aggressive and subtle undertaking. Whilst it’s important to always respect their business and not steal ideas directly, you may find yourself inspired to try new things.

Embracing technology

There can be a slight resistance to embracing new technology and why would you, when the current system is working well? A successful business, however, always knows that there’s a new, better, and faster process for just about anything.

Automation of tasks such as payments, billing, rosters, and staff communication will save you time and probably increase your accuracy. New technology is also focused heavily on opening up new avenues to sell and market your services, as well as connecting you with new business partnerships and customers.

If you’re looking for an edge over your competition, then experimenting with technology is the way to go. Your customers will enjoy the innovation and convenience it will bring.

Ask questions & keep learning

In the early days of business, everything feels like a steep learning curve. You’re making mistakes, trialling new systems, and generally letting the various cogs of your business fall into place. Within a year or so, you have the hang of it, and start to settle.

Whilst this is a relief to finally have stability in your business, it’s also imperative that you still push yourself to try new things, become more knowledgeable, and give yourself room for trial and error – even as an established business. It’s the only way you will continue to grow and innovate.

Not sure where to start? Why not engage your customers for feedback: it’s a great way to know more about your business and find out what is working and what is not.

Plan for the future

A small business is only as good as its ability to bounce back from adversity. Whether it’s a quiet period, a staff drama, new competition, or an accident; your work will be affected by a rough patch at some stage of your business career. Success is measured in how prepared you are for it.

So, always have a solid business plan – where will your business be in 5 years? If things go wrong, what’s your ‘plan B’ – and always have capital on hand so that you are prepared for setbacks. You can plan ahead by always staying across your finances in great detail, and keeping untouched money in reserve.

Stay passionate, positive and realistic

As you well know as a manager, feeling panicked or negative about your progress eventually ends up affecting your staff and your business. Maintaining a positive outlook is crucial to your growth and your ability to think clearly and creatively.

So, be passionate about your business – make sure you’re working in a field that you truly have a passion for. Have confidence in your offering, and never negotiate on quality when it comes to your suppliers or your offering. Having genuine self-belief will be contagious to those working for you, and be obvious to your customers, too.

There’s more to success in small business than just turning over high profits. Having a happy and dedicated team, satisfied customers, and a constant yearning to try bigger and better things are better measures of your success than money alone.

Always keep your true goals in mind – print them out, and stick them to your office wall, so on the tough days you can remember what you’re working towards.

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