Running your own business is never easy, but it is rewarding. If you are in the planning stages and could use a little guidance, then here are my Top 10 tips for business success.
Do something you love
Many people spend years doing a job that they don’t care about. When you go into business and the pressure is on to make it work, it is going to be a whole lot easier to push through the tough times if you are doing something that makes you truly happy.
Research your idea thoroughly
This seems like an obvious one to me, but you would be surprised how many successful businesses were launched “on a hunch”. Seriously though, I don’t recommend it, because more often than not, it doesn’t work out!
The key areas that you will need to know inside out are:
- Your customer – Who, where, how old, what they want. The more specific the detail, the better.
- Your product – Every little nitty-gritty detail and how to develop it further, but most importantly – Price vs profit!
- Your capacity – How many of something you can make, in how much time and with a cost of how much? Can you grow? Can you continue to create even when you don’t feel like it/are ill/are bored? What areas of business are you good at and what areas will you need help with?
The more you know about yourself, your venture, your support network and your industry the greater your chances of success and the less likely you are going to have to learn “the hard way”.
Given that you have all this research knowledge it is only right that you do something with it! By harnessing what you know, you can plan for any eventuality. If you prefer to just “go with the flow” you are maximising the likelihood of failure, and paying cold hard cash for the pleasure.
I hate to be blunt, but what makes you special? In a sea of marketing noise, how are you going to stand out from the crowd? Your brand identity is essential no matter how “small” your business.
Know your ethics and values, and what your mission statement says; get a versatile logo and splash your identity everywhere. You don’t have to pay thousands for advertising, but a core identity that is consistently exposed, is essential.
Establish a strong support system
Your mum, your best friend, your suppliers, the chap you met at the Chamber of Commerce meeting last week; these people are going to be essential for the success of your business. Forget going solo, you are going to need help at some point and if you have any sense you will ask for help at every point! Spread the love and tap into your network for business knowledge, guidance and advice. It is priceless.
Shout about it
I know, I said that defining your brand would save advertising costs, but it doesn’t get you out of marketing altogether! However, you will very often find that you are marketing your brand all day long in various ways that you don’t think about. So it is really not that intimidating. Make sure you have a clear marketing strategy so that you don’t run round in circles, and make the most of every FREE opportunity to get the message out there about your product. If you don’t know how or can’t – then hire someone. Seriously.
Up the communication
This is vital to ensure that you understand what your customers want, that you are aware of how your staff are operating and most importantly, if your business is succeeding. It is also useful for gaining advice and guidance from your peers and for ensuring that someone is making dinner for when you get home!
Give it time
Patience and strategic thinking don’t always go hand in hand, but when it comes to your business, you will need to both. Hopefully, your financial forecasts, market research and sound business planning have given you an indication of the likely obstacles and opportunities that may present along the way, but most businesses need time to establish firm foundations.
We live in a fast paced, trend focused society. Learn to spot opportunities as well as threats so that you can make quick decisions that will help growth your business. Watch the figures, listen to the experts and trust your instinct; most importantly be ready to change accordingly.
It is natural to work 18 hour days in the beginning, to turn down invitations from friends, to put any profits straight back into the business but just remember to take time to reward yourself for your hard work. You are your own biggest asset and whilst hard work is essential in start-up phase, so is maintaining your excitement and passion, not to mention your health.
So there you have it, my Top 10 for today.
What points do you think are essential for business success?