Starting a business is always a risky decision, as there’s the potential to put more money into the business than you’ll receive from it. Add to this risk the low success rate of small businesses in their first few years, and you’ll find that many people choose not to start a business. However, if you’re a first-time business owner, here are some tips on how you can become successful.
Stay on Top of Market Research
Research is constant when you’re an entrepreneur. Market research is how you gather information about the needs of your target market, and also how you determine who your target market is. Whether you’re providing a product or a service, it’s important to understand how that product or service is performing with your consumers.
Another group of people to study in your market research would be your competitors within your market. You share a target audience, so to have a competitive edge you’ll need to determine what they’re doing right and where their weaknesses lie.
In some cases, it’s possible to run a business alone. However, if your business starts to grow and you receive more customers/clients than you can handle, that’s a sign that you may need to hire help. It can be pretty nerve-wracking hiring your first employee, so this isn’t something that you’ll want to rush into.
Some business owners look to hire family and friends— and this can work for some people. However, if you choose to go this route it’s important to establish a professional employer-employee relationship.
Establish a Strong Online Presence
Digital marketing (marketing done online) is the most successful way to market— even if you don’t sell products online. Traditional marketing techniques such as flyers and newspaper ads still work, but you’ll be able to reach more people with digital marketing. The first thing you need to do is create a business website. Again, even if you don’t sell products online, this will be a good resource for your website visitors to find out what you sell (or what services you provide), and also your physical location so that they can find you.
The other part of a strong online presence is having a presence on social media. More than half of those with internet access use social media regularly, gigging access to a wider audience. All of the popular social media platforms (i.e., Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) have tools to help business owners get the most out of their pages.
Don’t Neglect Customer Service
When you’ve just started a business, your focus may be centered on promoting your business to create brand awareness. While this is certainly important, you don’t want to forget about those who are already supporting your business. Your current customers can be great advertisers— whether you provide good customer service or not. People love spreading the word about the good service they’ve received, but they are also quick to tell everyone they know about bad service as well.
Part of providing good customer service is having good communication. Not only do you want to be able to effectively communicate with your customers, but you must also make sure that your customers can get into contact with someone that can help.
Cut Costs as Needed
It can cost a lot of money to start a new business, but running a business is an ongoing cost. This will vary depending on your industry and what type of business you operate, but all business owners should create a baseline to measure actual expenses vs. planned expenses. Just as you would do in your personal life, you should create a budget and look for more affordable options— without sacrificing quality.
Automate as Many Tasks as Possible
Automation is the process of having a machine do repetitive tasks in the place of humans, saving both time and money. In business, there are software systems that automate tasks such as:
- Human Resources
Look into getting a service provider that will automate all or most of your business tasks. It’s also important to make sure you update your software regularly to ensure you’ll get the most out of it.
Finally, you’ll need to be consistent, stay organized, and become flexible as a business owner. Patience is also key because very few businesses become successful overnight. Also, don’t forget the reason you started your business. The driving force behind why you started your business will give you the perseverance to continue and grow your business.