8 Steps of a Successful Business

Looking to start a business, or want some ideas as to how to improve your current business? Here are 8 very simple ideas based from Roger Hamilton’s Wealth Dynamics. If you’re serious about moving your business or idea forwards, then consider SDL Business Development Consulting.

Step 1) Creating a great product or service – proven concept

  • Is there value in your product or service? How do you know? Does the market want it? How can you measure the value?
  • Is the product / service already available elsewhere?
  • Do people know what it is your business does?
  • Do you have an elevator speal? Can you describe what your business does and why it’s so good in 15 seconds?
  • Business cards (clarity) – say what you do clearly.
  • Patents, ensure (if necessary) you retain ownership of the idea. Lose that and you lose the value.

Step 2) Creating a unique brand

  • If other businesses are doing what you are doing – how are you different?
  • USP – What is your Unique Selling Proposition?
  • Branding – Is it consistent? Does everything (advertising, stationary etc) have your branding? Is it recognisable? Memorable?
  • Easy ways for free / cheap media attention
  • Promotion – who on your team does this? Do they like it? Sales? Are they responsible for looking after your customers also?
  • Control of what advertising says about you, along with strategic alliances

Step 3) Leading your team

  • Do you know your team? Do you know what they enjoy doing at work / least enjoy? Do you socialise with them, know their family?
  • Who is running your team? Leading by example and inspiring the “troops”
  • Happy staff = outstanding customer service
  • Do you need someone to take some of the jobs you hate doing away to free you up to further your business? (Depending on who you are it can be both good or bad to withdraw from your business; eg working in the business vs. on the business)
  • Do you have the best people in place as your “front line”? (i.e. the customers 1st contact with your business)

Step 4) Strategic Alliances

  • Who / what are the best / most successful complimentary businesses you can add value to?
  • How can you include some / all of their services along with your own to nearly double your own businesses value?
  • How many other businesses could compliment your own? (Microsoft and IBM for eg)
  • Blocking potential competitors from your alliances
  • Affiliation programmes
  • Loyalty schemes

Step 5) What value is your business, and customer retention

  • What do your customers think of your business? Your service? Your staff? Your advertising? Your branding? Are your customers happy?
  • How often do you get repeat business (if applicable) compared to new customers? How are you measuring this?
  • Who do you have looking after your current customers? Do they enjoy phoning them? Are they happy?
  • What could your business be valued at? Conservative / Average / Optimistic
  • Is there resale value? How much is the stock / plant worth?
  • Are you receiving an income from your business, or are you feeding your business?

Step 6) Potential investments and investors

  • What value can you add to an investor – i.e. return on their investment, are you looking to pay them back or cut them into part ownership? How much can your business afford to give up, and how much are you willing to give up?
  • What value would having an investor come on board do for your business? Do you really need the money? Are you looking to expand, or just pay off bills? Is having the extra money inputted going to increase the size / output of your business?
  • Are there any investments that your business could safely invest extra funds into (from purchasing the commercial building your business is in through to finding the best bank interest rate…)

Step 7) Cashflow, cashflow, cashflow

  • What does each new customer cost
  • Do you know every single expense that your business has? What are your bank fees like?
  • Are there any expenses that can be reduced? Are there any suppliers who can offer bulk discounts – or can you become part of a bulk discount purchasing organization? What are some smart ways to minimalise the current expenses?
  • Are your prices in line with the market? Are the more? If so, what extra value are you adding? If not, why are they lower? Is your product or service less valuable? Where are the best areas to increase your prices? Can you increase your prices by including an additional product or service that costs less?

Step 8) Systemise

  • List all possible processes your business has, and have the relevant systems and procedures available for staff to follow.
  • Testing and measuring everything; brand recognition, advertising methods, team satisfaction, business provided to and received from alliances, customer satisfaction etc.
  •  Ensure that your business is a well oiled machine, and each of these steps has in some way been recognised, and therefore been systemised in some way so that none are forgotten or neglected

About Stu Dunn

With a background in sales and behavioural science, I enjoy learning more about people, behaviour, psychology - which led into motivation - and more recently - sales again. Having started my own real estate company with my wife, it's time to merge interests.
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