Running a small business is hard work. Countless complex factors can dictate your success as a small business owner. Even a small mistake can send you broke and running for the hills. Thanks to the internet, anyone can start a small business, and many do, unfortunately, the success rate is abysmally low. The pitfalls of running a small business are brutal and many, but sticking to basics can save a lot of heartache and cash.
Have a long term plan
You have a product or service you want to bring to the market? Great! So, what’s next? Short-term success is essential, but a long-term future for your business should be your number one priority. A long-term plan doesn’t involve sales targets or quotas; it means building a brand that not only performs well but inspires loyalty.
Who are you, and what are you doing? These are long term questions that you should be asking yourself. Where do you hope you are in five years’ time? Businesses that help people survive longer and enrich people’s lives, something that chasing sales figures won’t.
Manage your cash
Lack of profits can kill a business, but what’s kills them faster is a lack of cash. Understanding exactly how your cash flows will save you from going under and its relatively simple to get on top of. Assess your financial situation, take note of any debts or repayments you have to make as well as ongoing payments like rent or subscription services. Sit down, be honest, and see the bigger picture.
Do you have business banking? If you already own a small business and answered ‘no,’ stop reading this and go research financial institutions that offer a business account. Managing your cash reserves is very important and can be made a whole lot easier by opening a business account. These accounts will keep your personal and business accounts separated and offer better features aimed squarely at you, the business owner.
It might be tempting to put your plan into motion, sit back, and hope the profits pile in. The reality though is the marketplace is wild and chaotic; you must learn to engage and adapt. Ask for feedback, talk with your customers or potential customers. Ask your community what it wants and take this on board.
Build an online presence. Just do it. Even if you intend to sell mangoes on the side of the highway and have no need for fancy business banking, an online presence spreads the word for you, for free. As a small business owner, you must appreciate the reach that social media gives you; embrace its power and use the tools provided to better understand your market.
Engage with other businesses and always stay online. Research your competition, what they are doing well, and what they are not. Again, social media and review platforms like google reviews are a great way to gain this information, all without costing you or your business a cent.
By far, the most precious resource to a small business is its staff. It can be hard to bring someone new aboard, especially to something as personal as a small business. Once you find someone that ‘clicks’ be sure to keep them happy. By prioritizing people over profit, you inspire loyalty and massively boost productivity. Give people not just a job, but something they want to work and you will have almost cracked the code to a successful small business.
From social media to online business banking, the tools available to small business owners are not just impressive, but game-changing. The ability to track your cash flow and keep a finger on the pulse of the market evens the playing field and enables anyone to start a small business. By sticking to the basics, you can stay on track and hopefully become a successful small business owner.