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Starting a small business can be one of the most exciting and terrifying experiences of your life. On one hand, you have the complete freedom to make your own decisions and set your own schedule. And on the other, endless stress, long hours, total liability (depending), and the possibility that your business might fail. As scary as it sounds, about 20% of new businesses in America don’t make it past their first 2 years in operation. According to market intelligence platform, CBInsights, among the top three main causes are low market demand, cash flow issues, and poor chemistry between employees.
Whenever you’re trying something new like starting a business, not everything goes as planned and sometimes mistakes can happen. What’s important is what you learn from those mistakes and how you can use that experience to make better decisions. While experience is key, not every owner has years of firsthand knowledge under their belt. Luckily there are plenty of tools, resources, and people you can turn to for help. To get you started, here are a few tips you could use when it comes to starting a new business.
Have A Business Plan
Before you even plan on starting a small business, it’s important that you create a business plan first. They are the detailed blueprints that contain your business’s goals and the methods you’re going to use to achieve them. They typically include a marketing plan, financial projections, a collection of analyses, and more. A business plan can help determine how viable your business idea is which can come in handy when raising money. To be effective, a business plan must be reviewed and updated regularly. If you need help writing one, you can click here for assistance.
Staying focused can be hard but when you’re starting a small business, a lack of focus can be a huge detriment. In order to reach your goals and objectives, you must remove all distractions. One way you can start is by creating a work calendar of important tasks that need to be done daily. Whatever you don’t get done today can be placed at the top of your list tomorrow. Next, create a short-term business strategy and reasonable weekly goals to go along with it. Once you’ve determined what your main goal is, you can work your way back from it. The key is to focus on one thing at a time in order to complete your main objective. When it comes to running a business, there are many ways you can stay focused.
Being organized means more than just stacking documents neatly and keeping your desk clutter-free. In the world of business, it also means implementing systems and using procedures to make sure everything runs efficiently. If you have a bunch of papers lying around, use a filing system or digital archiving system to organize them. You can create a document management system to keep the documents you do need or use online tools to create a paperless office. Technology is your friend so use it to your advantage when managing your projects, bookkeeping, emails, and other important activities. You should also organize your computer by updating your software, scanning it for viruses or other performance issues. And of course, never forget to back up your data.
Build A Network
Building relationships is always important no matter what career path you’re on. Build new connections by joining industry associations, attending chamber meetings, and by networking with your peers online. The people you’ll meet in these groups can help you develop personally and grow your business through shared experiences. Not only are you building new connections but you are also gaining more exposure for yourself and your business. Consider joining a mastermind group or meeting with a business coach to discuss solutions to problems in your business. Investing in these types of relationships can yield dividends for you in the future.
As a new business owner, chances are that you’ll be handling pretty much everything on your own. While being able to wear different hats can come in handy, not every owner can do everything nor should they. Juggling every task on your can overwhelm you and keep you from doing the things that need to get done. If you can’t afford to hire workers now, you can always hire interns or freelance workers to take the load off. Aside from saving costs, you’ll have the benefit of people who are better at doing certain tasks working under you. What’s more, now you’ll have more time to handle your main responsibilities allowing you to grow your business. You can find these workers on websites like Fiverr and Upwork until you’re finally able to hire full-time staff.
Monitor Your Progress
It’s important as a business owner that you constantly measure your business’s performance. If you want to know for example how well your business has been doing financially, check out your financial statements. With all three, you can measure your business’s profitability, check its financial health, and keep track of your expenses. Other things you should monitor include your business’s customer satisfaction rate, performance review, market performance, and customer acquisition rate. By analyzing your current goals with these performance indicators, you’ll be able to see what works and what needs improvement.
Create A Potential Customer List
Need help figuring out where to get new customers for your business? Why don’t you create a potential customer list? Start by identifying your ideal key client and find out where you’re most likely to find them. Marketing on social media, joining a chamber of commerce, and being active in community events are great ways to start locally. Once you’ve started to gain some traction, you can then build an email list to keep your customers updated on new events and products. Email marketing is one of the most effective marketing strategies out there to acquire new customers. The best part is that with an email list, you can market to retain customers who are much more likely to buy from you than new customers. Of course, to work, you have to keep growing your list and provide something of value to your customers. Trying to get customers to do referrals also helps a lot.
Promote Your Business
When it comes to promoting your business, there’s a number of places where you can start. Registering your business through online directories is a free and very convenient way to market your business. Sites like Google My Business, Bing Places, and Yahoo can help connect your business to services that are searched by millions of people online. Social media is another platform that has now become pervasive in the world of digital marketing. Not only can you interact with people who follow your business but you can also advertise and network with others too. Aside from these two options, you can also promote your business through blogs, YouTube, press releases, and joining relevant online communities.
Manage Your Finances
Proper financial management is an essential skill for all businesses, big and small, to have. Manage your cash flow by keeping your expenses low and having reserves for slow seasons. Never spend money on personal expenses and consider outsourcing responsibility for tasks such as bookkeeping to freelance professionals. Co-working spaces and internet-based phone systems are two affordable options you can choose to keep your rent and phone expenses low. Cutting your overhead will not only give you peace of mind but also help you make better pricing decisions that weren’t optional before.
Know When To Give Up
And finally, know when to give up when something is not working. Not everyone succeeds the first time around and sometimes knowing when to call it quits can be more beneficial than pushing ahead. There is no standard on when you should quit your business, though it’s important that you reflect on some truths before you do. Remember, just because you failed once it doesn’t have to mean that it’s the end of the road. There have been many entrepreneurs that have failed multiple times before they’ve achieved success. If things don’t work out the first time, take a while to access what went wrong so that you can learn from that experience. If you want some tips on how to lower your risk of failing, check out this podcast video from successharbour.
These are some of the ways that you can be prepared to run a business if you’re a new owner. Starting a small business can be a pretty overwhelming experience especially if you don’t know what to do. But you’re not alone. There are plenty of people that have been in your shoes and others more willing to help you. If you follow these tips, stay motivated and learn from your mistakes, you just might make it.