Twitter is rarely out of the headlines at the moment, with many tech publications even predicting the demise of the micro blogging social network if it fails to become fully self-sustaining.

Few of us run businesses as large as Twitter, but their reported inability to find reliable ways of raising revenue does serve as a timely reminder for us all. Which things are we neglecting in our own businesses? Are there tiny cracks through which productivity and revenue is falling?

It’s a scary thought, but the ability to take a step back and ensure every area within an organisation is fully accounted for is a key skill every business owner must learn.

Sometimes, it’s the obvious stuff – falling sales or a lack of new leads are clear metrics that present themselves daily, but what about the stuff that isn’t exactly at the top of the to-do list?

In this post, we’ve picked out five essential elements of success. At first glance, they may seem obvious, or not specifically linked to a successful business, but without a clear focus on them, your business stands little chance of achieving its goals.

Time to grab a pen and paper!

1. Flexible work for employees

We live in a very different world these days where traditional ‘9-5’ working environments are being mixed with flexitime initiatives and stay-at-home freelancers. The office environment, therefore, is rather dynamic.

Because of this, it’s essential that modern businesses offer flexible working arrangement for employees. In fact, there’s a legal requirement to offer any employee who has worked for the business for more than twenty-six weeks to request flexible working times (even if they’re not parents).

Flexible staff are happy, productive workers.

2. Limited company corporation tax

Ok, time for an obvious one, but the age in which we now find ourselves is both noisy and distracting. That means business essential such as paying the corporation tax bill are easily overlooked. And, if you don’t pay your tax, there’s absolutely zero chance of being successful!

If you run a limited company which is making a profit, you’ll need to pay tax on those profits. The current tax year (from 1st April 2016) is set at 20%, but will be lowered to 19% for the year beginning 1st April 2017.

Make sure you employ the services of a good accountant to avoid missing this vital business task.

3. Public liability

While not obliged by law to have public liability insurance, it’s highly advisable. After all, what happens if a member of the public is injured because of something to do with your social enterprise?

Such instances don’t bear thinking about, not least because of the human impact, but also the significant damage it can do to the brand and the company’s overheads in the event of an insurance payout.

Public liability insurance isn’t as expensive as you may think, and it provides ultimate peace of mind.

4. Developing a persona on social media

So, you set up those Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts last year, posted a few updates while the novelty remained and then… life quickly took over. That probably means they’re now lying dormant, unloved and entirely incapable of providing your business with an incredibly valuable digital persona.

Social media marketing is something in which every business should invest time. By developing an approachable, knowledgeable persona online, you can attract more leads and establish yourself as a trusted thought leader within the industry.

It’ll also give you plenty of opportunities to connect directly with customers and partners. This wasn’t possible before the dawn of social media, therefore if you’re not jumping at the chance already, social media posting and engagement should be regular entries on your to-do list.

5. Mobile search optimisation for you website

Google loves mobile websites. In fact, it loves them so much that the majority of the search giant’s recent algorithm updates have been centred on promoting websites that work well on devices of all sizes and penalising those that don’t.

It’s time to conduct a simple test. Grab your smartphone and load up your business website. How does it look? Is there any content missing? Do you have to pinch and zoom to see the detail on each page? Are there crucial call-to-action buttons missing?

If your website isn’t optimised for the mobile generation, you simply won’t cut through the noise online. Thankfully, building such websites doesn’t have to hit your marketing budget hard. Simply find a good web designer or have a go yourself by utilising platforms such as WordPress.

Wrap up

Ok, we’ve added a bit to your to-do list above, but we promise it’ll be some of the best and most productive time you spend as a business owner. Keep this list by your side at all times and you’ll be able to build a profitable business for the digital economy.

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