Small business lessons from successful business owners: Part 4 – Get the basics right

You can set up a social media account on the latest platform, add new widgets to your website and refresh your branding, but if you do not get the basics right, your business will not succeed.

We asked successful small business owners to share their advice with us based on their own experiences of running businesses that are growing and profitable. The result is this series of posts that contain valuable lessons for your SME:

Part 1: Small business lessons: Taking care of your team and customer

Part 2: Small business lessons: How your business comes down to you

Part 3: Small business lessons: I’ve got the (people’s) power!

This post contains timeless success principles and critical basics that you must get right in order for your business to thrive.

Emma Blomfield from Nest Designs says to never stop learning:

Invest in your website – it’s what people see first and make their judgements about you from this;

2) Find a business mentor – you won’t regret this;

3) Never stop learning – attend trade fairs, industry events, seminars and educational days. When you close your mind to new learnings you may as well stop running your business. There’s always a better, faster, more efficient way of doing everything.

Emma is an interior stylist specialising in online decorating across Australia. She is passionate about making stylish interiors affordable and accessible to everyone, no matter their budget or their location, at


Steve Rohan-Jones from O2C brings it back to the basics:

1) When engaging people to work with you, you need to make sure they know what they want and need from you.

2) Know the difference between what you are good at and what you like doing.

3) Work with people that are better than you at other things.

O2C has been working with organisations since 2003 to improve workplace performance by building skills in leadership, communication and resilience. They are about relationships, experiences and outcomes by building effective and collaborative partnerships. See

Andrew Laurie at ActionCOACH Sydney says to plan meticulously:

1) Every day, block off time to spend on income generating activities such as sales and marketing. Sale cycles and marketing campaigns take time, so even though business may be good today you need to keep at it to make sure future sales remain strong.

2) The vast majority of small businesses fail because of cash flow issues, so it is important to keep a close eye on your cash flow. Small businesses should be forecasting their cash flow on a weekly or even daily basis to avoid unpleasant surprises.

3) Have a detailed timeline plan. Establish why you started your business in the first place (i.e. your end goal) and deduce where you need to be in the next five years, and then within the next year. From this, work out a detailed 90 day plan outlining concretely what you want to achieve over the next three months, and what needs to be done each week to get there.

Andrew is the managing director of ACTIONCoach Sydney and is ranked amongst the top business and executive coaches in the country. He uses his experience in business coaching to help business owners run their businesses through guidance, support and accountability.

Fletcher Tax Accountants’ Janna Fikh agrees that detailed planning, and budget monitoring are crucial to sustainable business growth:

1) Plan your week in advance. Set specific time aside for social media updates, emails, admin, meetings and core work. And don’t forget to allow for your own lunch!

2) Review your debtors regularly. You carried out the service so don’t forget to ensure your clients carry through with payment within your terms of trade. This also ensures that a healthy cash flow is intact.

3) Put money aside for tax. While most of us wish otherwise, we can’t escape the ATO and they tend to spring up on you when least expected. Staying on top of your tax obligations and having a savings plan in place will save you from getting in deep water!

Janna started Fletcher Tax Accountants in 2009 and continues to be a highly sought after chartered accountant specialising in all things tax. In fact, she is Good Business Consulting’s accountant!

We’d love to hear from you: what timeless success principle would you share with other small businesses?

Watch this space for the next instalment of this blog series!

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