There are many moving parts to the machine that is a small business. You may have successfully started your business, but keeping it going and growing is a challenge in itself. According to Fundera.com “20% of small businesses fail in their first year, 30% of small business fail in their second year, and 50% of small businesses fail after five years in business. Finally, 70% of small business owners fail in their 10th year in business.” So with such daunting statistics, how are you and your small business supposed to beat the odds? Read on for tips to help make your business successful.
Establishing Your Value – Each and every business is started to fulfill a need a consumer has. What value does your business have? Is there a specific market of people you serve? Determining what niche your business fills is the first step to building longevity and standing the test of time. Take time to consider the ever-changing social and technological norms in our society. Will your products or services always be needed? Can you be easily replaced by a more convenient option? If the answer is yes, you may need to re-evaluate ways to make you and your business more valuable.
Your Marketing Strategy – Marketing your business and attracting customers is one of the most important facets of any successful business’ plan. Without a steady stream of repeat and new customers, the risk of your business failing increases more and more as time passes. Social media marketing has become the most mainstream way to market to potential customers. This may be done by utilizing SEO (search engine optimization), targeted advertising on social media platforms like Facebook or even placing advertisements on popular apps potential customers use on their phones. Print advertising and marketing is less effective in today’s business world. However, I would not totally rule it out. Different age demographics respond to different types of advertising. An advertisement in a newspaper may have greater reach to an older customer base, whereas social media marketing may help you reach a younger crowd. What age demographic are you wanting you advertising to reach? If you don’t have a specific age group in mind; make sure your marketing plan is diverse enough to reach people in all age groups.
Sales Strategy – So you have established a stellar marketing plan, and now you have so many potential new customers! How do you turn these prospects into paying customers? This sales strategy varies with the type of business you own and the products or services you are selling. What sales model would you have your team follow? Are you using the best sales practices for your consumer market? If you are unfamiliar with sales strategies that are most commonly used, check out this thorough breakdown of sales models and the types of situations you would use them in here.
Delivering on Your Value – Now that you have established your customer base, it’s time to figure out how to make sure they are happy with your products and services. Customer service is how you build your reputation and what keeps current customers coming back and referring you to their friends and family for new business. Staffing your business with people who will truly care about the customers is one way to ensure a successful future for your business. You can find more examples of strong customer service practices here. Creating strict procedures for customer service helps your team know how to handle certain situations and helps avoid negative situations to get out of hand or tarnish your business’ name. Having customers complete surveys after interacting with your customer service team is another tool you can use to improve how your team interacts with customers.
Financial Planning – Maintaining your business’ finances is the most important part of running a business. What are your targeted goals for profits in your first year? How about your goals for the fifth year of operation? These may not be questions you have answers to straight out of the gate. Tracking profit and spending margins help you to better understand how your business is doing. Having someone on staff to handle bookkeeping or manage spending for your business can help eliminate stress and help avoid future financial struggles. There are also many software programs available to help small business owner’s track and meet their financial goals. Here is a list of the best accounting software in 2019.
Starting your own business can feel like a massive task in itself. However, with a strong team and an even stronger plan, the sky is the limit. Don’t lose sight of why you originally started your business. If you truly love what you do going to work every day won’t feel like a chore.
“Spend time upfront to invest in systems and processes to make long-term growth sustainable.” – Jeff Platt