International researchers who have studied many small businesses have found that these eight characteristics consistently play a part in the success of small companies:
- Owners leading by example
- Simple business structure
- Information sharing among employees
- Carefully chosen staff
- Staff commitment and loyalty
- A unique product or service
- A specific customer focus
- Prompt follow-up
1. Owners leading by example
The owner or manager of a successful small business…
- is usually the first to arrive and last to leave.
- knows everyone by name, and their presence is obvious.
- shows a strong commitment, setting the standard where they work. This commitment should be easy to understand; after all, if they don’t work hard in their own company, how can they expect anyone else to take their business seriously?
2. Simple business structure
A simple and open business structure encourages easy access to the owner for every employee. Successful business owners value the contribution of each employee, many of whom are given the opportunity to influence aspects of the business that would ordinarily be denied them in a larger, hierarchical company.
3. Information sharing among employees
In a successful small business, staff receive information as soon as the owner does. Goals, problems, and concerns are discussed openly. Feedback on issues is encouraged and staff are asked to contribute their own ideas for making improvements and overcoming difficulties. It is this level of open communication possible in a small business that staff often appreciate the most.
4. Carefully chosen staff
Every staff member in a successful small business is recruited very carefully, because the owner recognizes they are the lifeblood of any business. Staff are hired on the basis that their knowledge, skills, and abilities will be beneficial to the organization, rather than because of friendships or family relations. Staff are not only carefully chosen, but are also nurtured and trained so that each staff member and the organization get the maximum benefit out of the relationship.
5. Staff commitment and loyalty
Successful business owners reward good performance with praise, extra responsibility, and money. Consistently poor workers, on the other hand, are removed, as they upset the rest of the team. Organizations whose staff show optimum commitment and loyalty have a source of competitive advantage that is hard to copy or beat.
6. A unique product or service
Most successful businesses have unique products or services, such as their own designs, products, systems, or some other aspect that sets them apart. This uniqueness is an important source of competitive advantage and one that many companies work hard to sustain, adapting and innovating their products or services as their competition catches up to them.
7. A specific customer focus
Successful small businesses have a specific focus on their customers and clients and are geared to supplying them with exactly what they want. This focus means adopting a market led approach, with the owners and their managers consistently looking for ways to solve their customer’s problems and improve their products to match their customer’s requirements.
8. Prompt follow-up
On occasions when an enquiry or complaint is received, successful small companies actively follow up and solve them as quickly as possible. The results are promptly reported back to the client or customer; in the case of complaints, measures are put in place to reduce the likelihood of similar issues reoccurring. Successful small businesses view complaints and problems as opportunities for growth and improvement in their businesses.
How many of these characteristics does your small business have? Which one will you work on implementing next?
To ensure your cash flow is in order as you seek to elevate your small business structure, ask GuYDanS Consulting & Bookkeeping for help.
In your corner,
The Team at GuYDanS Consulting & Bookkeeping