Big Advice For Small-Business Success

Salesforce’s ANZ CEO, Pip Marlow, shares her top tips

Starting a small business is no small feat. Every experience is unique, and all perspectives are important. Growing your small business is a constant journey, equally full of challenges and wins. Mistakes are inevitable but they can be avoided with a little sage advice. So, with that in mind, here are my tips for getting your business off the ground on the right foot.

The three Ps: purpose, passion and people

I firmly believe that at the heart of every successful small business is a deep belief in the purpose of the business; this is why you do what you do, not what you do. When this is coupled with the passion to bring that purpose to life, this then becomes contagious – across your employees, your business partners and your customers. Ensuring that you can share that clarity of purpose allows you to create a North Star for all your decision-making – from hiring people, to bringing it to life, to where you invest your time and money. It is also to remind yourself why you are doing what you do when the going gets tough.

“Technology can be one of your most powerful tools” – Pip Marlow, CEO, Salesforce ANZ

Hiring people and building a team will be the most important decisions you make. Hire those who share your passion and believe in the purpose of the company. Your customers are diverse, so ensure you pick a diverse team that mirrors the market you serve. Have the courage to hire people who see the world differently from you and challenge your thinking. Be deliberate about the culture you want to create, because leaders cast a long shadow and your actions will speak louder than your words.

Technology can be one the most powerful tools in running a small business
(Credit: Getty)

Know your customers – and love them

No matter your industry, your focus or what kinds of products or services you offer, your customers (and their feedback!) are the most valuable part of your organisation. Customers give your company a sense of purpose and direction. Listening to their input serves as a springboard for new concepts and ideas. Only then, when you truly take the time to understand your customers, can you begin to innovate and delight them in ways that keep them coming back for more. Customer satisfaction should be the number-one focus of any business. This means more than simply appreciating your customers – it means understanding them. Every business, regardless of size, should invest in a high-quality customer relationship management (CRM) tool.  The right CRM can help you identify, understand and support your customers. It can give you that full 360-degree view into who they are and what they care about. Look for something specifically tailored to small business, such as the Salesforce Essentials product, so you know it’s going to work for you.

Growing is good. Planning for growth is better

Many small businesses are so focused on ensuring growth happens that they fail to adequately plan for it. The goal should be to grow and scale over time, so what tools are going to get you in the right spot from the beginning? The challenges at the start are all about identifying your future growth path and then figuring out which tools support those steps in order to scale over time. Invest in technology that will grow with your business. Technology can be one of your most powerful tools for driving growth while maintaining a connection to your customers.

Growing a business is good. Planning for growth is better
(Credit: Getty)

Read, read, read

From industry trends to legal and financial news, following the right blogs and influencers can be an incredibly effective – and efficient – way to stay up-to-date and inspired on all things small business. I might be biased, but I like our Salesforce blog and I also like Flying Solo and SmartCompany.

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