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Five Crucial Steps for Taking Your Small Business to the Next Level

1. Know Your Customers

Just like any good writer will be mindful of his or her audience, a business owner should have a thorough understanding of their core customer base. Knowing your demographic is key to not only acquiring and retaining your customer demographic, but will also provide valuable insight in how to tailor and fuel successful marketing campaigns.

2. Make Time for Careful Planning

Planning may not help your business that day or even that week, but it can have a powerful impact on the future of your business. Try to set aside time for the purpose of planning, allowing for this at least a half-day per workweek. How can you go about finding time if you’re the primary component of your company’s day to day operations? By empowering others within your organization and delegating responsibilities where possible you can free up some of your own time for careful planning concerning your company’s future. To achieve this, maybe instead of completing sales tasks or performing one of the more tedious, albeit essential, duties that are at the core of your daily business operations, you can recruit and train a potential VP of sales, or design a compensation plan that will attract and retain talent.

3. Create a Culture of Creativity

By utilizing talent from diverse backgrounds you’ll create the ideal environment for creativity and collaboration and will benefit from a wide range of perspectives. Make sure your employees understand your customers as well as you and that they stay on top of market trends as well as technological advancements that can help your business succeed. Teamwork amongst employees is paramount to success, provides a path for game-changing ideas, and allows for the strengths of some to compensate for the weakness of others.

Paper jams often occur because of paper misalignment. To prevent this, make sure to square off the stack of paper before inserting it into the tray, making sure it’s properly aligned with the guides located on the paper tray. Also, be careful not to over-fill the paper tray. If paper jams continue to pester you despite careful paper loading, reference your printer’s manual and contact tech support.

4. Network, Network, Network!

Accept that your success isn’t dependent solely on yourself, but others as well. This includes your employees, but also includes others outside of your business. Seek out those who are in a unique position to help you succeed. Make sure you’re taking the time to attend conferences and events where you can not only receive fresh ideas and insights from an accomplished speaker but, perhaps more importantly, can meet people that can possibly lead to a mutually beneficial relationship.

You should also confirm that your printer isn’t using an ink-saving setting, which would cause prints to be faint. If your printer is currently in draft mode, switch to a higher quality mode and you should receive the results you expect.

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Fail

Failing is an inevitable byproduct of trying. Accept it – some things will work, and some won’t. Don’t expect success all the time, for yourself and for your employees. If you’re always afraid to fail you’ll never take the risks necessary for advancing out of the small business rut. And remember – failure isn’t the problem. The problem lies in being unable to learn from your failed attempts. Rather than let an unrealized goal discourage you, look at it as a learning experience and a mistake you won’t make twice.