Once a business is in operation and generating both a profit and healthy cashflow, it must turn its attention to business development. Business development is the process of creating and implementing growth opportunities through new partnerships, business relationships and revenue streams. The focus of this process is to create long-term value for the organisation by reaching new markets and an increased customer-base, while cutting down waste and minimising expenses to maximise the business's bottom line.
Once a business is established, what should its priorities be?
Before anything else, a relatively young business needs to ensure it has processes in place to stay competitive and to increase its hold on the marketplace. This means continuing to improve its products and services by evaluating how well they are meeting customer needs. A large part of this is market research, which looks at the attitudes and beliefs of existing customers, potential customers and the public as a whole. By understanding the current mindset of the market, a business can ensure it is moving in a direction which is consistent with market trends.
It is imperative that the business owner eventually reaches a position where they can work on their business, rather than in it, so once the organisation is profitable and has healthy cashflow they should look at ways to delegate responsibilities to employees or contractors. This frees up the business owners' time to chase new opportunities and build the business relationships which will spell long term success.
What are the ongoing considerations once a business is profitable?
There are many things a business needs to focus on once it is established. The exact goals of an organisation will be defined by its position and its organisational purpose, but the following are very common long term aims for most companies:
Ongoing product development
Acquiring and developing human resources
Customer acquisition and retention
Networking and building business relationships
Building foolproof business processes
Developing a comprehensive marketing strategy
Refining the sales funnel
Seeking external investment for growth
Acquiring new assets
Streamlining the business by reducing costs
Measuring success with analytics
Broadly speaking, once a business has established a relationship with the public and with its customers, it must turn its focus to improving that relationship. This can be done by offering better services or by lowering fees, or by improving the customer service experience. It can also be done by making relationships with other businesses to offer more value or to create a comprehensive ‘one-stop-shop' in their area.
All businesses should be seeking ways to eliminate waste and unnecessary costs, and most businesses can benefit from engaging with their community and making a positive social contribution. Community engagement and social work is valuable for its own sake and can also have positive public relations and tax implications.
It's equally important for a business owner to focus on developing themselves and enhancing their own skill set through ongoing training and education. This allows them to recognise new opportunities to grow and advance their business.