Picture courtesy of Helena Eriksson
Picture courtesy of Helena Eriksson

Many people think that to run a successful business you just have to think about the profits. Although running a business at a loss is not a good idea, there are other things to think about which will in the end help the profits but that are important as well.

Customer Support
It is really important to be aware that it is your customers that will have the biggest influence on your business. If they like the business and want to buy more from it or recommend it to others then it will grow. In order to do this it is important to look after them. Not only providing items that they want, but of a good quality, providing good value for money and good support when it is needed. This is not as easy as it may seem, particularly with the Internet meaning that every negative comment can potentially reach all of your potential market. Negative comments are unlikely to be completely avoidable, but if you can do your best to look after your customers then it will be appreciated.

It is important that you run your business n a fair way. Meaning that you set your prices and quality in a place which is fair to your customers. You give them what they deserve in accordance to how much they are paying. You also need to respect them and their points of view so if you do get feedback you respond to it. Obviously you will not be able to act on all feedback but at least acknowledging some of it and doing what you can will earn your respect.

Good Employee Relations
If you employee people it is really important to have good relations with them as well. Consider that you employees will be representatives of your company and you want them to give the impression of the company that you want. Therefore it is really important that you not only pick the right people but that you train them well so that they have the right attitude and skills necessary. It can sometimes be difficult, especially when you are starting out, to choose the right people and know how to motivate them to work to your standards, but  it is possible.

Good accounting practice
It is really important to make sure that you keep your books properly. Make sure that you are completely aware of the money that is going in and out of your business so that you can make decisions based on it. Do not leave receipts in a pile for the accountant at the end of the year, but keep your books up together so that you have an idea of how much profit or loss you are making on a monthly basis. You will then know whether you can afford to spend more money or need to be careful.

Good cash flow
Having a good cash flow is related to accounts. Make sure that you chase payments so that you do not have lots of money owing to you. Draw up fair but realistic payment terms so that you can get paid for work at a speed that will enable you to move forward with the business. Have money in reserve so that if customers are late paying you, you can top up the business for a while.