One of the realities of running your own business is the need to nurture it every day.
When you're not an employee who can punch the clock at 5 p.m. and then walk out the door, the responsibilities are non-stop. If you quit moving, the business can grind to a halt.
That doesn't mean you have to work all the time, but it definitely means keeping the pedal to the metal.
Here are some important, if not fundamental, things that should be part of your daily to-do list:
1. Keep the sales machine humming
Whether business is strong or struggling, you have to keep on selling. You can work on sales calls, cold calls, the creation of sales and marketing material, social media activity, or presentations. Whether it's a hard sell or a soft sell, the funnel needs to be kept as full as possible.
2. Network, network and network some more
A strong network is among the most valuable assets that a business can have. It is the people and the companies within your network that can drive sales, generate new customers and opportunities.
3. Keep your books up to date
Too many business, particularly small ones, stuff receipts and invoices in a shoe box, and then spend hours wading through it every few weeks or months. A better approach is to spend time on your books every day. Even if it is only a few minutes, it can be enough to maintain control of your finances and, as important, avoid the dreaded shoebox pile.
4. Love your customers
While it is important to attract new customers, your existing customers should get a lot of TLC because they have already made the commitment to do business with you. If you meet their needs, there is a better chance they will give you more business.
5. Keep exploring ways to do business better or differently
Your business will change and evolve, customers will come and go, and the economy will rise and fall. All that means that you can't be complacent or stick with the status quo, or your business could become stagnant.
Instead, you need to explore new tools, services and approaches to keep things in your business fresh and current.
Special to The Globe and Mail
Mark Evans is the principal with ME Consulting, a communications and marketing strategic consultancy that works with startups and fast-growing companies to create compelling and effective messaging to drive their sales and marketing activities. Mark has worked with four startups – Blanketware, b5Media, PlanetEye and Sysomos. He was a technology reporter for more than a decade with The Globe and Mail, Bloomberg News and the Financial Post. Mark is also one of the co-organizers of the mesh, meshmarketing and meshwest conferences.
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