Running a business is a lot like sticking to a workout routine: you need dedication, focus, and grit. There may be times when you don't even know where to begin or how you'll ever reach your goals, but fear not! Our easy, one-of-a-kind management routine focuses on five critical business fundamentals to get your company in shape and fit to thrive in no time.
The StellaPop Business Fundamentals Routine
STRETCHING: The cash vinyasa
Why do it: Cash flow is king. All those outstanding invoices you have might be exciting, but if you can't pay your rent next week, they mean nothing. Accountants, while important, give you more of a look in the rearview than into the future. It's up to you to take control of your growth and be ready for the road ahead.
How to do it:
- Look beyond profit and loss. Make sure you (and your controller, if you have one) are recording transactions as they happen — not two months later.
- Prepare for the future by creating projections for each cash flow component. Forecast and then re-forecast.
- Grab a buddy. You can't do it all yourself (and math is hard), so make sure you're working with a team to budget and manage cash flow.
ENDURANCE: Leadership is a marathon
Why do it: You may be a natural-born leader, but that doesn't mean there's no room for improvement. Great leaders have to master people management, clear communication, solid decision-making, steadfast accountability, and so much more — all while pushing their company forward. Leadership is a skill that you should always seek to improve.
How to do it:
- Check your ego at the door. Running a business means surrounding yourself with the best employees you can find — and that means admitting that you don't know it all. Because who does?
- Build a strong team. Share your company vision with your employees and make sure they're as driven and inspired by it as you are. Then lead by example and make sure that passion lives on.
- Focus on the big picture. It's your job to be driving the ship and ensuring your company is heading where you want it to. Leave the details up to your very capable team members.
JAZZERCISE: The happy team dance
Why do it: They say you can't please all of the people all of the time. But as a business leader, you have to try. Employee satisfaction is critical to your company's success and should be taken seriously. While it may seem daunting when you consider every possible factor — from benefits to flexibility to perks — putting some time and energy toward ensuring your team's happiness will be worth it every time.
How to do it:
- Treat them as you would want to be treated. You weren't always the boss, so reflect upon the things that made you happy in your past positions and consider applying them to your company.
- Trust your team. You hired your employees because you knew they would do the job well — so let them. Give them ownership over their work and resist every urge to micromanage.
- Cultivate a good culture. A positive environment can go a long way in making a company successful. Consider how your team members interact: Are they respectful? Willing to jump in and help? Do they have fun? Create a culture that inspires your people to stick around.
STRENGTH TRAINING: Flex those customer service muscles
Why do it: It's hard to acquire new business, but it can be even harder to retain it. Providing good customer service brings customers in the door, keeps them there, and leads to valuable referrals. And once a company has a bad reputation for customer service, they will likely have trouble reversing it.
How to do it:
- Train your team. Make sure everyone who interacts with customers or clients exudes outstanding customer service. Empower them to always be proactive and personable.
- Ask for feedback. Don't be afraid to ask your customers how you're doing and what you could improve. Fixing specific pain points can go a long way in retaining business — and it will likely set you apart from your competitors.
- Get your hands dirty. To truly understand how to deliver great customer experiences, you may want to spend some time being on the front lines. Get back in touch with customer service and lead by example. Plus, what customer wouldn't be impressed by a business leader fixing a problem themselves?
STABILITY: Create a solid brand
Why do it: A strong brand is essential. It represents the essence of your company to the world. It's what reels people in and keeps them around. People are loyal to solid brands they trust, and you want to be that brand.
How to do it:
- Put in the time to develop your brand. How do you want your company to be perceived? What sets you apart from the rest? If you don't have an in-house marketing/branding department, consider hiring an agency that can bring your vision to life.
- Spread your brand far and wide. It's no longer enough to have a good company website. You should be active on social media — showing the world what your company represents and how you interact with the world through your brand.
- Be a brand steward. Live and breathe your company's vision and purpose every day — especially in the public eye. Be it on social media, in videos, or when speaking with customers, you should embody what your business stands for.
I hope this routine will serve you well and help you get back to basics. And of course, if you need any help along the way, StellaPop is always here to help.