Checklist: Is Your Business on Track for Success?

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How far into the future have you thought about your business? One year? Five years? Fifty years? While every business owner enjoys the start up phase, maintaining a growing business is often a different matter altogether. If you haven’t thought about the future of your business, it’s time to start.

The best way to start thinking about the future is to look at what you’re doing right now. Is the path you’re on now leading to a better future for you? To help you figure this out, we’ve made a checklist. If you can check all of these off, then chances are you’re well on your way to glory

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I know where my money goes.

Do you track every single cent both going in and coming out of your business? If not, then it’s time to get started. Your budget is extremely important to the length of your business, and if it gets away from you you’re less likely to get it under control. Being in business for years involves careful consideration of everything you buy or otherwise spend money on. You just may be surprised how much you’re wasting. This is especially true if you’ve been in business for awhile. As more small businesses get started online, there are lots of free alternatives to common business processes – like online invoicing – that you might not be aware of.

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I know my customers.

Another big surprise you’ll likely encounter is finding out who really likes your business the most. You may think suburban housewives are your biggest audience, but after further inspection you may be shocked to find city youths are your biggest fans. Until you really dig deep into the numbers and do some market research and analysis you’ll be in the dark. This can be problematic as your business could grow in the wrong direction. Use social media or surveys to tap into your core audience.

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I know what I want from my business.

Every business owner gets into the game for a different reason. It can be to free up more time for family, to sell a great product or service, or just for the joy of working boss-free. In the end, it doesn’t matter why you got into business – except to you. Try to keep in the back of your mind why you started your company as it can affect your decisions. For example, growing your business into a multi-million dollar empire may not exactly gel with a goal of spending more time with family.

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I understand why I’m awesome.

Why do people love you? Why did you get a big influx of fans on Facebook or sales last month? Figuring this out can make or break your company as it can completely change your marketing and PR techniques. For instance, a marketing campaign for a freelance designer who is super-fast is different than one with tons of experience but might take a little longer to get the job done.

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I give my customers options.

No consumer likes to be too constricted with their money, so make sure you’re not stifling growth by limiting your business. One way you can expand your potential immediately is by opening up different avenues for payment. You may have the usual cash/check/credit card options, but some people only deal with payment processors like WePay. If you don’t offer this as a way to pay, they may think twice before calling you in the first place. Widening your horizons can give you many more sales in the future.

How many of these items did you check off?
Which one do you need to work on most? 

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Jennifer Dunn
Jennifer Dunn owns Social Street Media, where she writes about freelancing and small business for various online publications. She is the community manager at GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping, and her long-standing life goal is to learn something new every day.

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