As a new entrepreneur who just launched a new business and operated it for a while, you soon get to the point where you start asking yourself, ‘What next?’
I can bet that if you go into entrepreneurship thinking it ends after you create a business, you will be disappointed. The entrepreneurship journey is an unending one.
One of the things I learnt from all my years at business school and work is that the process of building a business is a continuous one. Of which, this is often necessitated by the fact that businesses need to adapt to changes in their environment on an ongoing basis. So creating a business is never the end of the road.
Most successful businesses you see around today started small. If you look closely at each one, you will realise that what got them so far and big can just be coined in one simple word: improvement.
Dearest entrepreneur, what is next is improvement
The art of improvement has to do with making incremental development, making step-by-step transformations towards a state of better quality. As Ron Caroll, a business systems coach, puts it in his blog post ‘12 principles of business improvement‘, ‘Improvement activities focus on providing the customer the best value by removing waste from the organization—defects, delay, and the resulting higher costs.’
Once you are done creating a business, my best advice for you is to start queueing up necessary improvement tasks. The best way to go about this is to start with tasks having the highest priority and significance to the immediate business concern. If you have little capital for your business, it would be better you also start with tasks that require less cost as well.
For example, you are a new entrepreneur who just created a food delivery business. From your little capital, you have managed to get a office space, a laptop, a desktop printer, a few pieces of office furniture, a power generating set and two delivery bikes. You have also employed an office assistant to assist with paperwork and office front desk. Your food delivery operations already started out four weeks ago, customers have been calling in gradually and revenue is beginning to stream in.
So, what next? Improvements of course. In this case, you could start with less costly, customer-facing aspects of your business, things like your business logo (and your business name, if your current business name does not fit your type of business well). You could seek expert advice or read blog articles about this, if you know only little about graphic design and business naming, to make sure you get this right once and for all and not end up wasting time, money and efforts.
Then, you could move on to your website. If you already have a website, you should improve your website SEO to ensure that people can easily find your business on the internet when they search. If you do not have one, you need to get one as quick as possible to enable your business to fully tap into the digital economy.
Now, your business logo and business name have been improved to top quality, and your website is also looking more compelling and responsive. You can now think of improving your marketing strategy. All your previous marketing efforts may have been traditional, outdated and non-interactive. This is the right time to improve your marketing strategy. It is time to seek out modern marketing strategies, to go digital. Go after your customers via social media, email, mobile phone. Offer new and existing customers a gift to take an action that is very likely to translate to more sales and revenue for your business in the long run. Develop products and services that satisfies and delights them.
Then you can go on at that pace into other important aspects of your business. Improve everything from staff capability, to product and service quality, overhead costs, etc.
After completing this improvement cycle, you should evaluate how all aspects are doing since improvement was made. If you ever find any aspect lacking again you should start another improvement cycle to fix it. There is no limit to improvement. When changes occur in the environment, remember you have to make improvements to your business too.
The advice I have laid in this example is tailored to the case I illustrated in it. If you are in a different kind of business or have large capital, the priorities and concerns may vary and the costs may not be a very significant constraint for decision making.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post. I would be happy to hear from you if you would like to share some remarks.