A lot of businesses run on pretty similar rules. That’s fairly obvious. There are certain aspects of running any business that apply across the board no matter what they are. Let’s face it, the basics of bookkeeping and accounting apply to a coffee shop in much the same way that they apply to an online media firm. Sure, the particulars will be different and will require dedicated research to fully understand them. But at the core, the accounting of a company will be pretty similar for any business. This can be incredibly useful, especially for a startup that’s looking for advice on the most effective ways to run their business. There are endless amounts of blog posts and articles written about things that every business needs. This is undeniably a good thing. If you want to understand some of the most important elements of running a business, of course, it’s useful to find general information.
The problem arises when business owners start to act as though the same advice applies to every aspect of their company. As much information there is for any business, no matter what it’s like, there’s just as much that changes from one to the other.
Think of your business as a car. Plenty of cars use the same fuel. But that doesn’t mean that you’d use the same fuel for every single car on the road would you? By treating all businesses as the same thing, and following the same rules for how they should be run, you’re setting yourself up for a nasty shock. The key to success is being fully aware of the type of business that you’re running and knowing which things can be run on a general level and which need a more specific touch. Again, this doesn’t apply to everything, plenty of things can be used no matter what your business is. But here are a few aspects of your business that you should be tailoring to the sort of company that you run.
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Business are run by people. All the statistics, forecasts and finances in the world aren’t going to change the fact that people are at the heart of every successful business. If there’s one thing that you can’t do when you’re dealing with people is to treat them as a single entity. There might be a lot of advice available for how to support and handle your employees available. But the problem there is that you can never guarantee that every strategy will work for every employee. Each person is unique and operates in a different way so you can’t behave as though they will all respond to certain conditions in the same way. The best thing that you can do is to create an environment where your employees feel safe and comfortable. Of course, it’s not that likely that you’ll have the time to tailor everything to each employee’s specific needs. The most effective employees are ones who can work as a team. If you can create a healthy group dynamic, then you’ll be able to tailor your approach to that team. The way that you respond to your employees will vary based on your business as well.
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Do you employ various people working separately or remotely, never directly interacting with each other? Then it’s a good idea to set up online spaces where they can directly communicate. You need to foster that sense of teamwork even when they’re never in the same room. On the other hand, if you have a team to are working together in the same space, then you’ll have to adjust your strategy to accommodate that. Create a space where you employees can communicate but don’t allow that to take over and create a disruptive environment. The same goes for the type of work they are doing. A creative business will need a creative approach from its employees. While a more high intensity, manufacturing business will need a more focussed atmosphere. The key is to figure out what it is you really need from your employees. Then creating the ideal environment to achieve it.
Just like how no two business should be run the same way. No two businesses should be sold the same way either. Regardless of whatever marketing strategies are most popular right now, your product should dictate the way you market it. If you’re running a medical business, then you’re going to use different style and avenues of marketing than you would if you were, say, running a carpentry business. A carpenter will be less keyed into the world of technology and social media, relying more heavily on traditional marketing. On the other hand plastic surgery marketing will benefit far more from modern marketing techniques like Facebook. Of course, it goes even deeper than just basing your marketing around your business. The type of business that you run will make a huge amount of difference to the audience and customers that you engage with. Different audiences respond to different styles of marketing. If your business is geared towards an older demographic, then you probably won’t want to base your marketing exclusively around social media. The same applies in the opposite direction. Make sure that you’re thinking about your target demographic carefully. Analyse their consumer history and try to figure out which marketing strategies will be most effective.
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The business plan
There are plenty of things that every business plan needs to successfully lay out the aims of a company. It needs to be clear, direct, realistic and detailed. But the more detailed you get into it, the more you’ll need to tailor it to your specific business. This means that you’ll need to have the clearest possible idea of what the aims of your business are. Aside from the desire to function successfully and profitably, no two business has the same aims. Look into what you truly want your business to be and to represent. What do you want to bring to the market? What service are you providing that customers can’t get anywhere else? What is the central motivation for your business in the first place? Being able to answer these questions is your first step in creating a business plan that is specifically tailored towards your business and your business alone. If you try to copy and paste a business plan that you’ve seen work for a different company, then you’re guaranteed to fall at the first hurdle. In the same way that no two companies are alike, no two companies can work from the same plan.
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All business require investment. Whether you need it to get the business of the ground or as a way for it to expand and diversify, investment is crucial. But that doesn’t mean you can rely on the same investment strategies that other businesses have used. Investors can be a picky bunch, and they aren’t interested in throwing their money at any business regardless of what it is. The type of business that you run will make all the difference to what sort of investment you try to find.
If you’re running a small, simple business, then you’re not going to need as much investment as a multi-national company. By the same token, an investor is far more likely to be interested in a business that aligns more strongly with their principles. When looking for investment, try to find investors that have a history of getting involved with companies that are similar to your own. Research is the key to this. Just like employees, you can’t treat investors like a single entity. They have individual preferences and biases. You should be ready and willing to take advantage of these to achieve the highest chance of securing investment in your business.
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There are still elements of these things which will carry across various businesses. But, as with anything, the changes become more obvious the closer you look. The devil is in the details and, while your business might just about be able to get by doing things in the broadest strokes. If you really want to achieve success, then you need to tailor everything you do around your business itself to the tiniest detail. Any new strategies that you attempt with your business should be broken down into the elements that will be most effective for your company.
Before you push forward, pause and ask yourself “how does this align with and complement my business?” If you can’t find the answer to that question, then pause and think again. You may find that the strategy is simply wrong for your business. If that’s the case, then the best possible thing you can do is go back to the drawing board. Your business is unique; there’s no other business like it in the world. So why would you settle someone else’s business tactics when they will end up as a terrible fit.