http://www.clarionledger.com/story/business/2016/09/27/secrets-success-small-business-becky-vaughn-furlow/91122346/

 

There are many startups of new small businesses every year in all cities. More and more women and younger people are starting them up each year. As we hear about thousands of small business startups closing, moving or failing, there is still a large percentage that are successful.

 

What does it take to survive in the intense competition and become a successful enterprise? Here are some of the traits common in thriving businesses:

  1. Sound financial plan — A financial plan with the discipline to follow it is crucial.  Financial stability and backing with the staying power needed to get off the ground is essential. A commitment to reinvest any profits back in the business is needed for a successful long-term business. It takes time to develop a customer base and begin to turn a profit. People who go into business for themselves with the misconception of a quick turnaround to a profitable business are the ones who don’t make if for the long haul.
  2. Business processes and operations — Having clearly defined business processes to increase productivity while at the same time reducing costs will produce better outcomes. A continuous focus on becoming more efficient and responding to market demands faster while delivering better customer service will cement the foundation of the business.
  3. Hiring the best people — No matter how great operations are or how high tech the business is, without outstanding employees it will not succeed. The owner/manager/entrepreneur has to be dedicated and committed to do whatever it takes to succeed. The saying that “No one takes care of your business (as owner) like you do” is very true. Hiring top-notch employees is very important, for IT, operations, sales snd marketing. Once hiring is completed, ensuring you pay competitive wages, offer good benefits, provide training and development will ensure your retention rate is above average.
  4. Marketing plan — Your overall marketing plan should include advertising, public relations, product development, sales and promotions. A strategic marketing plan identifies potential customers, introducing and promoting products and services. Location is important for retail businesses to succeed. So many various kinds of businesses now offer their products/services on their websites with shipping to homes or businesses. Higher sales will result from customers who are satisfied with products and service. Word of mouth and testimonials are very effective in promoting sales but don’t overlook advertising, including signage. Find your niche and exploit it. Stick to your knitting.
  5. Be passionate about your business — Loving what you do cannot be replaced by any amount of efforts or investment. There are no magic shortcuts to success.  Getting to do what you want, liking what you do and doing it your way make for an amazing adventure. It takes a lot of work over an extended period of time. Utilize your skills and hire top-notch people with the other skills needed in your business. You can’t punch a time clock and make it on a 40-hour work week. It takes total commitment and sticking with what you know and are good at. Too much expansion too soon can doom a business. Do what you do best and focus on primary products that turn a profit.
  6. Be creative and flexible — Times are hard. Many people have cut back and curbed their spending. To be successful you have to attract new customers and keep them coming back. Creativity by you and your employees will keep your business fresh and up to date. Being flexible and listening and responding to your customers’ needs and wants will keep you front of mind. Find your niche and become the “go to” place for customers. Trends change rapidly as do customer demands. Have fun in your business, keep it fresh and make shopping with you a rewarding experience for customers.

Some business owners have told me it is the challenge of owning a business and doing well that keeps them going, taking the risks. They choose to work long hours, to live it, breathe it, taking very little time off. The stress never goes away.  It is a 24/7 commitment. However, when you’re successful, the payback is over the top in fulfillment as well as financial rewards.

There are many ways aspiring entrepreneurs can capitalize on business ideas and strategies for success. Keep close to the customer. Stay on budget by watching expenses very closely. Utilize all avenues including social media and become opportunistic by always being open to new ideas. Now is a great time for innovative business ideas and practical solutions resulting in success for those with a true entrepreneurial spirit who are committed.