Leaving a well paying job to start one’s own enterprise requires a lot of determination and zeal. Although starting a business to many seems like the best alternative to employment, it is actually the hardest. Recent surveys have shown that most small businesses never live to celebrate their fifth birthdays. This however should not be a reason for not trying because among the failures, there was a small group of businessmen who took the leap of faith and are now reaping the fruits of their labor in abundance.
Below are a few tips to making your small business succeed even in the hardest of financial times.
1. Do your homework
Even before you start the process of registering your business, sit down with a pen and paper and write down a plan for it. This will help you identify your potential customers giving you a crystal clear picture of how to target them. You don’t want a situation where you find yourself marketing shaving cream to kids who only know ice-cream.
2. To make money, you need to spend money
They say a brand without advertising is dead. The world needs to know that there is a new player in town and the only way that can happen is through advertising. Advertising may at first seem like a waste of much needed finances but once people discover your brand and like it, you will be smiling all the way to the bank.
3. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer
Carry out extensive research on other businesses offering the same product or service and layout your game plan. Entrepreneurship is a war of sorts and knowledge is your ammunition.
A few things you should get out of your research are:
i) Demand versus supply
If the demand is more than supply, your odds of succeeding are very high. If it’s the other way way round, you should reconsider your business idea.
ii) After sales services offered
The key to beating your competition is offering something unique. If for example you want to sell car insurance, you could offer car towing services as an after sales service to entice potential clients to choose you over the rest.
4. Keep your house in order
A good small business is one that has a well laid out structure. If you are a designer, stick to designing and find someone else to handle the finance. Specialization in one area of expertise improves efficiency and promotes professionalism.
5. Take baby steps
Courteously decline jobs that are beyond your capability to avoid doing shoddy work. Small businesses depend on word of mouth for most of their advertising and you don’t want unsatisfied clients bad mouthing you.
Every job you get should be handled like a baby with love and care. A job well done means return business and more money to handle bigger projects.
6. Your present failure is your next success
Not every business pitch you make will be accepted with open arms. Brace yourself for rejection and use it to improve your marketing plan for future prospects.
7. Social media campaign
Twitter is a gold mine that few people are yet to discover. Create a hash tag for your brand and tweet it until it becomes a trending topic. You’ll need a bigger office and staff to handle the jobs that will come your way afterwards.
Once you’ve done all the above, it is now time to evaluate your business. A few things need to be done at the end of each financial year.
1. Profit and loss calculation
These two entities are mainly what a business is all about. A few losses are to be expected when starting out and is why it is important to put as much profit back into the business to cushion it.
2. Audit the business
Ensure that everything is running efficiently in readiness for a new financial year of prosperity. Any under performing employee or equipment should be replaced at this juncture.
Best performing staff should be congratulated and encouraged to continue in the same spirit. If the business is doing great, a raise should be in order for motivational purposes.
3. Appreciate loyal clients/customers
Send out simple gifts like cards or hampers to let them know that they hold a special place in your small business. It’s the thought that counts and not the amount spent.
At this juncture, you should pat yourself on the back for taking that first step and proving critics wrong. Congratulations!