Starting your own business is never an easy task and even with all the information and technology available to us now (that would make someone from 20 years ago exclaim with glee had they had access to these things in order to create a business back then), it’s still not enough to keep you competitive without a solid plan. Of course, you’d want your company to be the best place to work in the world but that’s easier said than done. Building a reputation online is not only necessary to have a fan base, but it’s also like a double-edged sword where online users on social media can criticize you for any reason and you have to protect yourself from defamation.
As if that’s not complicated enough, the need to constantly increase the value of your sales will definitely challenge your knowledge and skills, as you seek to ensure that you can accumulate the funds needed to expand your business and go global in the next 5 years or so. This may seem overwhelming to you, but there’s always a silver lining in your grey skies and here are some tips to start a small business successfully.
Table of Contents
• Start with a Solid Plan
• Begin Networking as Soon as Possible
• Surround Yourself with the Right People
• Stay Ahead of Everyone Else
• Maintain a Balance Between Work and Life
• How to Avoid Startup Failure
1. Start with a Solid Plan
Nobody goes into war without a plan and starting a business and war is similar according to the author of The Art of War, Sun Tzu. You have to craft a business strategy and write it down to something called a business plan. It basically details how you’re going to run the business and make a profit in a given amount of time. You need to lay out the short and longterm goals for your business and it involves how you’ll start the business (i.e. who will be in your team, where you’ll borrow capital, what will your product/service be, your target demographics, how you’re going to get sales – the short term goals).
On the other hand, your longterm goals will include how you’re going to grow, expand and scale up your business. For example, if you started out in Liverpool, then make sure that 5 years later you’re ready to do business worldwide! Keep in mind that you can always make adjustments with the business plan in order to keep up with the trend.
2. Begin Networking as Soon as Possible
Today it’s business suicide to not build a professional network. There’s hardly a modern business that doesn’t do networking. Networking enables your business reach new heights unlike companies that have existed prior to the internet and social media (with a few exceptions like the Dutch East India Company). Word-of-mouth marketing has never been stronger.
With former company insiders and very diligent researchers exposing some scandalous work of companies over the years, 88% of people today trust reviews from online consumers more than official statements from companies or the government. It is the same when family and friends recommend to them which brands to buy or news media to watch. You have all the right reasons to start networking now.
Networking will also increase your chances to connect with highly talented individuals, which can be very beneficial to you in the long run. Large corporations tend to have the best inhouse talent and that’s because they jealously guard it like a big secret or something. Often times these talent never see the light of day in the open market, because the big companies only headhunt them, then keep them shelved until they have some use for them.
So where do you actually begin?
Well, LinkedIn would be the best place to start networking with professionals and join groups there. In case there are some local dedicated networking events happening, then that’s also a good chance to do networking.
3. Surround Yourself with the Right People
In battle it is the general who commands his army and the same is true for you and your company. Your role is to lead and you need smart and competent people around you to translate your orders into actionable goals. You’ll also need mentors and strategic partners as you grow in the first 5 years in the business (this is why many companies fail, because their leaders didn’t undergo mentorship training). Gather your lieutenants (supervisors) and make sure each soldier (employee) are competent enough to complete basic tasks.
Hire the right people, fire people who do not contribute, reshuffle your organization to achieve better results and learn the art of shifting your business strategy to meet new challenges.
4. Stay Ahead of Everyone Else
The second best always tries hard to catch up with the winner, so do not be the second best guy in the business. Watch out for and keep up with the latest trends in order to stay in the lead. If necessary, appoint a special team to do this specific task and then have them meet with you and your marketing team to plan your next move to leverage from the new trend. This way you will always outpace your competitors and leave them chasing you and not the other way around.
5. Maintain a Balance Between Work and Life
Never kill yourself for profits, if you still don’t get why it’s very important to have a work-life balance, then you haven’t been paying attention on how some people lost the love of their loved ones because they preferred to make money than spent time with them. It’s good to see your dreams come true when it comes to personal success and financial security, but do not forego your family, friends and co-workers – they are an essential part of your life and you need them. So build meaningful relationships and be a leader with a heart to them.
How to Avoid Startup Failure
It’s a known fact that 90% of startups fail within the first 5 years of their business operation, so it may be a good thing to plan ahead and anticipate hurdles that would lead you to failure in order to avoid them promptly. While you can use these tips we’ve presented here in this article as your guide to success, remember that there are no guarantees to success. In fact, you may wish, pray or hope to get lucky because that’s some form of guarantee; however, the best thing that you can do is to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. With time you will also gain experience plus the mentorship you’re receiving will be a big help in your business’ survival.
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