Everyone dreams of quitting their job and starting their own business so that they don’t have to answer to anybody. However, what most people don’t realize even have they start their own they do have to answer to somebody, whether it is their investors, their bottom line, or just themselves. They have to justify to themselves that they are doing the right thing and that they didn’t make a mistake by quitting their job and that they can do this.
They also have to make sure that their bottom line is in the black, that the business is making a profit and prove to their investors and the naysayers that this is a viable business plan and that it does have a future.
Thinking about all of these details are enough to put one off from starting their own business, and is also the reason why there are so few success stories out there even though nearly everyone dreams of it. Still, it does not mean that it is the end of that dream or that you should give up, it just means that you should plan a little in advance. So, how do you ensure that you are one of those success stories? How can you prove to those naysayers that you can dream big and make your dream a reality? By ensuring that your small business sees the success that it deserves. Here is how to set up your small business for success:
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Have a business plan
The first step for any business is to have a business plan. This is just a piece of paper that describes what your business is, what it does, and what it plans to do. If nothing else, a business plan gives you a direction to where you want to go. It also serves as a reminder of what your dream was and why you started the business in the first place. So that whenever you lose your way or things seem bleak, you can always pull out the business plan and it will remind you of what you wanted to do and where you want to go.
Have a great product
The number one priority for any business is to have a great product. The company is only as good at the product it is selling. If the product is not that great, then chances that no matter how wonderful everything else, people still won’t be happy, because at the end of the day, all the customer is left with is the product. Similarly, the opposite is true, if the product is great, then people are willing to forget the little things, just as long as they are happy with the product. In the long run if the product does what it is supposed to, then people will be happy with it, and if they are happy with then they will be repeat customers and they will even recommend the product to their family and friends.
Focus on Customer Service
Customers are the whole and sole of a business. They can literally make or break the business, especially a small business. Having a small base of loyal customers can give you a great base to build up on. You can afford to take some risks if you know that you can still meet sales goals. However, alienating clients is the worst thing a small business can do. According to a survey conducted by American Express, 78% of consumers have canceled or not made an intended purchase due to poor customer service. It’s just not something a business can risk. How can a business make a profit, if it doesn’t have any sales?
Have a business website and social media
It today’s day and age, it is essential that a business have an official website and active social media pages. It may not seem like a big deal but a website and social media pages lend a business credibility. The first thing that anyone these days does when they come across something new like a new product, or a new business is to Google it. They will check out their website, and if the website does not look professional or credible, they will write it off as a scam or unworthy. Plus a number of people shop online these days, so for them to make a transaction, the website should look credible and professional, not to mention safe. Surveys by Ipsos MediaCT and Accenture indicate that more than 70% of consumers research purchases online. That is not the amount of audience that a business can afford to alienate.
Utilize social media
Another thing that most people do is check out the product’s or business’s social media pages, such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, and check out how they interact with their clients and what the clients are saying about the products. There is nothing like honest opinions from customers to convince others to buy the products. Also seeing good photos or interactions on social media accounts lets prospective customers know that the company cares about their customers and is trying to make a good impression. In fact, many companies actually even make sales on their social media account pages themselves.
Each business is different and each business has different clienteles, try to figure out your own as much as possible. Different types of clientele react to different types of advertisements and enticements. For example, if a company sells makeup, they will target their audience through Instagram, Makeup Bloggers, or Magazine Ads, etc. Similarly a tech company might relate to their audience through Twitter, Tech Blogs, Reddit, Forums, etc. Knowing your audience is half the battle, knowing how to get them to do what you want, the rest of it.
Rely on your gut and pay attention
Decisions are hard to make. Decisions regarding a business which will affect the future of the business and people’s livelihoods are even harder. How do you know that you are making the right decision? There is really no way of knowing in advance, and it is much too easier to lament in hindsight. However, the best one can really do is rely on what you know and believe in yourself. Trust yourself and your gut and do what feels right. You will soon find out if that was a good decision or not. If it was, then great, remember it for the future. If not, too bad, it’s already done, face the consequence, learn from it, and remember not to do it again. After all there is nothing else you can do, just pay attention and learn for the next time, because you did just figure one of the thousand ways not to make a light bulb. Next time, you’ll figure out how to make one.
These are just a few steps that might help gear up a small business for success, however, it is essential to note that each business is different. It is not necessary that what works for one business will work for another. In the end you know your business, the product, and your audience, the best. Do what feels right, and hopefully things will turn out well.