One fact about success in business is universal: whether you’re a sole contractor, a medium-sized firm with a few employees, or the CEO of a big company, standing still is not an option.
In business, standing still rapidly turns into sliding backwards. You can be sure that your competitors are constantly devising new ways of making progress in the market you’re fighting your corner in.
Improving the performance of your business doesn’t mean re-inventing the wheel every few months. There are some solid principles which can breathe life into your business and generate desirable improvements. Get the principles right and the necessary innovations follow.
Employ mature staff
Don’t be fooled by the folklore that says older employees, like old dogs, can’t learn new tricks. There’s no evidence whatsoever for that. If anything, the opposite is true – they bring a wealth of experience and maturity with them and can probably teach you and your younger staff plenty of new things, despite the old wives tales.
Know when to expand
If demand is rising healthily, it makes sense to hire extra staff to drive your business forward. You might even consider making a foray into a new area, especially if it’s closely related to yours: pay close attention to any new niche markets opening up locally. But do some market research first to get a handle on how expanding into the new area is likely to work out – never over-stretch your firm on the basis of dubious demand.
Consider the public sector
In the midst of heavy public sector funding cuts, this might sound counter-intuitive. But the Government is working hard to make public sector contracts more accessible to small and medium sized enterprises. Moreover, as the numbers of permanent employees fall, the public sector will still need to fulfil essential obligations and may be much more inclined to bring in private sector help in the form of time-limited contracts.
Explore the umbrella company option
It’s sometimes forgotten that individual contractors are actually small entrepreneurs. Using umbrella companies brings many advantages for this type of business: the expense and time of keeping on top of all the paperwork necessary for tax and National Insurance Contributions will be swept away. Umbrella companies take care of all of that, and protect contractors from the vagaries of IR35 legislation as well (the law prohibiting disguised employment). Not only that, but for other businesses, umbrella companies can supply skilled personnel exactly when you need them and precisely for how long you need them. None of the overheads associated with permanent staff (sick pay, holiday pay, etc) apply.
Embrace the Internet
Invest in a little search engine optimization (SEO) for advertising your product or service on the Net. The Pay upon Performance model of internet search engine marketing is relatively risk free for business owners – you won’t pay the SEO specialist anything unless your agreed targets and objectives are met. You can choose between three main types of Pay upon Performance marketing – payment based on traffic to your site, on revenue generated by sales or on search engine ranking. A good SEO specialist can advise which is best for your business.