Ask any entrepreneur about starting their small business and odds are you’re going to hear about the good, the bad and the ugly. That’s because starting a small business can be difficult. It comes with ups and downs, highs and lows, peaks and valleys. You get the picture. One thing it absolutely requires is hard work and perseverance. And these are not just buzz words or motivational mantras to be glossed over. These are the hard facts of getting a small business launched; meaning, it is probably not for the faint of heart.
A few stats to think about: 1 in 3 small businesses will fail. Less than fifty percent of small businesses make it to the five-year mark. As for the ten-year mark, the number gets even more disheartening. This is precisely why you have to go into starting a small business with your determination on your sleeve and your drive in high gear.
What can you do to beat the odds and actually create an endeavor that is successful and sustainable? While there is no magic formula to “making it” and seeing your small business ultimately grow into something notable, there are steps you can take and advice you should definitely heed that can help. In this article, we take a look at some critical advice for would-be small business owners, advice that may just help you realize your dreams!
Tips for Getting Your Small Business Up and Running!
Many entrepreneurs will be quick to tell you that in starting a small business, it is very much a learn-on-the-job process. You’re not going to launch your company knowing everything there is to know about what it takes to succeed. This simply is not feasible. There will be mistakes made, learning curves to overcome, and processes that will take some time to perfect. It is the “stick-to-it” attitude even during times of turmoil that will mean the difference between whether or not you actually make it beyond a year or two.
1) Listen to those who’ve “been there, done that”
Yes, you have an idea, a passion and a drive to see it all come together, and that is great. But you also need to heed the advice and lessons of others. In other words, don’t be so fixated on one idea or one goal that you block out the words of those around you. Entrepreneurship is difficult, but it can be made a bit easier just by listening to the experiences of those business owners who’ve already been in the trenches. Absorb what they say, take to heart the lessons they’ve learned and really try to implement some of their tips and advice.
2) Keep things simple at first
It is a tale as old as time: a business owner launches their company and then tries to do way too much way too soon. The end result is that they are inundated and consequently cannot keep up. Be it introducing too many products to start, hiring on a team you don’t need or spending a ton of money on an office space, furnishings and equipment, you just take on much more than you should, and the idea suffers. That is to say, the initial idea is at the core of the company, keeping it simple and staying true to that idea is hugely important.
3) Be mindful of the budget
Hand in hand with trying to do too much too soon, is not paying enough attention to the numbers. Yes, starting a small business is exciting and you may be inclined to spend a great deal of money to make it “perfect.” This, however, will only lead to financial worries and economic anxiety. Create a budget and stick to it—especially in the early phases of the company. Cash flow issues are the leading cause of why some businesses have to shut their doors. Don’t let this be the downfall of your endeavor.
4) Promote your business by any means necessary
By the same token, however, avoid spending an inordinate amount of money doing so. Keep in mind, we live in a digital and social media driven world. This means that advertising and self-promotion come pretty cheap. Get a Facebook page. Tweet about your company. Or, stay old-school and spread the word via speaking to people in your community about what you do and what value your small business brings to the table.
5) Don’t let your passion take the reins
Your passion is important to your business—it is likely why you got into business for yourself in the first place, right? However, you cannot be guided by passion alone. Think of passion as the dreamer portion of the equation. Your passion has big plans for your business, and this is great. Your common sense and wisdom though also need to play a big role. They need to be the guiding forces you use to run your business, make practical choices and create an actionable game plan so that your passion can eventually see its dreams come to light.
6) Don’t discount your instincts
As mentioned, common sense is very important to the success of any new endeavor. However, there are times when your gut instincts do play a role, sometimes a pretty pivotal role. Especially when things seem a bit rocky, this is when you have to trust yourself to steer the company through. You know what you’re capable of, you know what the business is capable of, trust yourself to get there.
7) Know who you’re hiring
As exciting as it is to build a team, you need to ensure that every member of that team is the right fit. Just going out and hiring people for the sake of hiring people is not going to help you. In fact, it can prove catastrophic. Take your time. Assess the candidate’s skills, education and experience very carefully. Make sure that there is a good rapport between you and the applicants you’re interviewing. And perhaps most importantly, make sure that their vision aligns with yours as far as the future of the company goes.
8) Never underestimate the importance of customer service
Customers after all are the reason you’re in business. Devaluing the customer relationship is going to sink your company. You need to put time and effort into ensuring that customer service processes are in place and run smoothly. Train your team. And always be attentive to your customers’ needs and concerns. The faster you respond to a client, the likelier they will be to purchase from you again.
First Union Works With Small Business Owners
We want to see our clients thrive and grow. This is why we offer a variety of fast and flexible loan programs custom-tailored to each individual business. Call today!Published in