As a small-business owner, you probably wear a dozen or more hats, and keeping track of everything can become an even greater challenge as you grow and become more successful. Some things undeniably have a greater impact on your success than others, and it’s important not to lose sight of them when things get busy. Here’s a quick look at five things that should always be at the forefront of your mind.

1. Competition

It seems like everywhere you look online, someone is touting the idea that you don’t need to or shouldn’t worry about what the competition is doing. That can be dangerous, according to data presented by Business Insider. Nearly 20 percent of small businesses that fold do so because they were outcompeted. While it may not pay to obsess over what the other guys are doing, you should still be aware of what your direct and indirect competitors are doing. For example, if you’re in the transportation industry, you should have a good idea of what other transportation companies similar to yours are doing. If they’re adding to their fleet, lowering their rates, increasing their rates, or doing something new, that will have an impact on your business, and you may need to adjust your strategy.

Equally, indirect competitors will impact you as well, and that could be something as simple as an area you frequently deliver to getting a local supplier. You’d need to pick up business elsewhere to make up the difference for the loss in volume.

2. Financing

Roughly 62 percent of all small businesses faced financial challenges last year, according to the 2017 Small Business Credit Survey. Naturally, most turn to banks for help first, but 23 percent are outright denied, and 54 percent aren’t given the cash they need. It’s not surprising, then, that about one-third of small businesses fail because they out of cash. Even if your business is doing well, it’s important to know what your financing options are and have a way to tap into cash before your organization has a problem.

3. Disruptive Technology

Disruptive tech can be good if you’re the one behind it, but it can be disastrous if you’re the one lagging behind. One of the latest terms coined to describe the phenomenon is “Uberization.” Think for a moment about how Uber changed everything for the taxi industry, or how Airbnb impacted hotels. We saw it with video rental stores as iTunes and Netflix rolled out as well. New tech, including self-serve platforms, peer-to-peer marketplaces and artificial intelligence, will continue to grow. Keep an eye on what’s emerging, so you can adopt it or pivot as needed.

4. Innovation

Innovation is what keeps your company driving forward and helps your brand stay relevant in changing times. While many think innovation is only related to technology or to new products, it’s so much deeper than that. Innovation is about examining your processes, business models, logistics, and functions, and experimenting with new ways of thinking or doing things. When innovation is at the core of your organization, you run at peak efficiency and provide better service. To adopt a culture of innovation, make a list of functions your business carries out and brainstorm ideas that might improve each area. Run with what works, discard what doesn’t, and revisit your options regularly.

5. Profitability

You’re probably well aware of whether your business is profitable or not, and likely by how great of a margin. However, when was the last time you sat down and considered methods to make your business more profitable? Oftentimes, we fall into routines and settle on what’s “good enough,” leaving money on the table. It’s important to review everything that impacts your bottom line regularly, including everything from overhead to labor, and see what changes can be made that either reduce your expenses or increase your earnings.

Move Forward with Interstate Capital

Interstate Capital is North America’s leading factoring company. We help companies solve some of their biggest financial challenges, so they can move forward and thrive. By leveraging the power of factoring and getting instant payment for invoices, small-business owners can have steadier cash inflows and collect with greater ease. At Interstate Capital, we also offer a myriad of innovative services designed to improve the bottom lines of the businesses we serve. Curious to know more? Download our comprehensive guide to invoice factoring today.