Write a comprehensive business plan before starting your business. Determine which markets you will serve locally, regionally or nationally. Stay on top of the situation by always knowing the areas in which you plan to expand. Conduct marketing research among customers to determine which products, features, styles, flavours and sizes they want. That way you can match their needs with the right product line. Also, establish budgets for all departments to operate at maximum efficiency.
Choose the Right Structure
Small companies might start out with flatter organizational structures, but they eventually need to add management layers as the number of customers and workload increase. Your optimal corporate structure is contingent on the type of business you run. You can start with a more functional structure if you sell highly related products in limited markets. A functional structure is one where departments are centered around specific functions, such as marketing, finance and production, according to Quick MBA, a business reference site. Companies using functional structures place all like expertise in one department for maximum effectiveness. You can use a product structure if you sell a diverse group of products. Department stores often use this structure. In product structures, managers run hardware, sporting goods or women’s clothing departments. The expertise is focused on the product for maximum effectiveness.
Select the Right Employees
No organization can be effective without skilled employees. Hence, you need to select employees with the right experience to perform various functions. Start by writing a job description for each employee you plan to hire. Determine the minimum education your marketing manager needs, for example. Decide how much experience she needs in project management, computer usage, managing employees and working with outside vendors. Have selected job candidates spend the day with your company to determine whether the job fit is right for them. Hire people who want to work with your company, because they are generally more productive.
Watch the Competition
Keep a constant watch on your competition. Competitors often counter your business strategies, which can greatly impact your sales and profits. One tool companies use for monitoring competitors is the SWOT Analysis. SWOT is an anagram for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Make a list of all your company’s strengths and weaknesses, and match them against the strengths and weaknesses of key competitors. Look for opportunities in the market by matching your strengths against your competitors’ weaknesses. For example, you can exploit your strong customer service against your competitors’ marginal customer service. Include details about your superior customer service in your advertising and brochures. Similarly, be aware when competitors match their strengths against your weaknesses. One way to counter such a strategy is diversifying your product. Add more features and uses for your products. Take a lead in developing the next technology.