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8 key questions you need to ask yourself today as a business owner

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1. Do you have an elevator pitch?

How would you describe what your business does in 60 seconds?

Practice a simple consistent explanation. This first impression will set the scene in the mind of the person listening to you. This simple task will help you and those around you truly understand your business. Plus, who knows when you could have a run-in with a venture capitalist?

2. Are you always improving?

Always look for ways to improve your business. Listen, learn and watch.

Never become complacent even when your business is doing well, set aside regular time in your weekly schedule and dedicate it specifically to thinking up ways to improve.

3. Are you keeping your stress levels in check?

Have a stress management plan in place, be it as simple as a notepad beside your bed, as sweaty as a jog through your neighbourhood or as exotic as a Thai massage.

Whatever works for you, make sure it is regular. Stress will freeze your brain, affect your productivity and in turn hurt your business’ bottom line, so don’t ignore it.

4. Do you multi-task?

Don’t multi-task. Research has proven time and again that multi-tasking (regardless of gender) is ineffective. Focus on one task at a time, no matter how cool and suave you may look talking on the phone and balancing your books at the same time.

5. Are your social media accounts active?

If you have decided to have a social media presence, don’t ignore your accounts! There is no turnoff for a consumer like a brand’s social media account that was last active months ago.

Many customers nowadays use social media to make comments (both good and bad) about your business so make it a point to be there to engage them on a regular basis.

6. Do you like the people you work with?

You will have way more fun and do much better work if you’re working with people you like, so make sure that when putting your team together, you bring in people you get along with.

How will you know? Well, like they always say: trust your gut.

7. Are you reeling in new customers?

The easiest and cheapest way to attract new customers is through your current customers. Make them happy and they will take it upon themselves to bring their friends along.

8. Do you follow up all your leads?

Research by Forbes in 2012 found that over 70 per cent of leads are not followed up! Make sure that all the ones your business gets fall in the 30 per cent that do get followed up.

Jacki Mitchell is the host of Taking Care of Business 98.7FM and a brand management consultant.

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