As a small business owner you are first of all an entrepreneur. Regardless of how success is defined in your particular niche, it is beyond doubt that successful businesspeople share some common traits.
There are also traits that can never be used to describe successful entrepreneurs.
Don’t worry if some of these can be used to describe you presently. You can gradually shake them off by developing a winning attitude.
Setting goals and coming up with strategic plans on how to achieve them is perhaps the best way to do this. Simply put, you must become a winner.
Here are some of the things you can’t afford to be as a small business owner.
The effort you put into your business will be directly proportional to the amount of personal fulfillment, financial reward, stability and delight you’ll receive in return. If you therefore don’t find enjoyment in what you are doing, it’s obvious that this will be evidenced in your business’ success…or lack of it. Plainly, if you are not upbeat about what you’re doing, chances of you succeeding are highly unlikely.
One of the primary rules of finding success in business is that you must truly believe in the products/services you sell. Sadly, a lot of startup owners are guilty of not investing all their seriousness into the running of their business ventures.
This sort of absentmindedness is what leads to sidetracked focus and diminished motivation. Such a business owner is sooner or later likely to start getting swayed by the opinions of naysayers and thwarters.
Why let such people get to you? You know that many of today’s business icons started off extremely humbly. Create your own success story.
Benjamin Franklin said that failing to plan is planning to fail. This is sound advice that you simply can’t ignore.
Running a business needs active planning; don’t be disorganized.
Every business situation confronting you needs to be soundly analyzed and researched about. You should then compile the data you have managed to gather and use it to make informed, factual conclusions.
It therefore makes much sense to have a business plan. This document basically helps to map the path from startup to success, and provides the benchmarks against which you will measure your success for the individual components of your business operations.
Cash flow is the lifeblood of any business enterprise. Cash is required for purposes of purchasing inventory, procuring services, marketing and promotion of the business, purchasing, repairing and replacing equipment and tools, etc. You also need cash to give yourself a salary.
As a small business owner you can’t afford to have squanderer tendencies; this is the swiftest way to stall operations and sound the death knell for your startup.
Sound financial management is all about keeping business income (what you are paid after selling goods/services) and business expenses (what you pay when buying inventory and supplies, wages, and other operational costs) separate.
Creating and running brilliant marketing and promotion campaigns for your business is all good and merry but all the effort will come to naught if you don’t ask for the sale.
Don’t assume that potential customers will figure it out themselves – ask them to buy.
You’ve always got to remember the reason why people start businesses – it’s hopefully why you started yours too. Serving your customers should always remain the no.1 priority.
Along the way many business owners tend to forget this basic tenet, oblivious to the fact that their continued success or sudden demise is ultimately dependent on their customers.
With this in mind, you should first become thoroughly knowledgeable about your customers. Next, design all your business operations in a manner that will best suit your customers.
Too many small business owners ascribe to the notion that simply having a good product/service is enough to give them business success.
It doesn’t work that way. Don’t be coy and apprehensive.
Customers won’t troop to your business if they don’t know you exist in the first place. You’ve got to get the word out there. Tell people who you are and what you are selling.
To ensure the success of your business you must always give potential customers the confidence to buy from you. Projecting a positive professional business image is of the essence.
You may not have the resources that more established businesses have at their disposal but by combining imagination, resourcefulness and attention to detail, your ability to amaze and wow prospects will become infinite.
As the owner of a startup business, one of your greatest advantages over larger enterprises is the ability to offer personalized attention. Unlike your bigger competitors whose only way to interact with clients is via technology, you can make one-to-one connections with your clientele.
Get down to wooing regular customers at a personal level. Find out if they like your product/service, and what you can do to improve their experience with it. Find out what more you can do for them. Answer their inquiries ASAP and promptly respond to their comments on social media. This way you can expect to get lots of repeat business and referrals to new clients.
There’s simply no way that your business is going to become successful without technology. You must learn to make the most of today’s pro-tech business world. Embrace that which will make it easiest for you and your clients to transact business.
Remember, it’s not about you – it’s about the customers. Get tech-savvy.
For your small business to become a success you need a solid team behind you; you can’t make it alone. You begin to build a team immediately your startup comes to life. It’s up to you to ensure that the team members are as focused on becoming successful as you are.
Who does a team comprise of? Everyone involved in running the business is a member of the team including suppliers, family members, business associations, employees, friends, government authorities and the community. The most vital members, however, are your customers.
The reason why successful business owners are where they are today is because people know they have the required expertise to provide effective solutions to their problems.
Prospective customers want to know that they are dealing with an expert. For you, providing expert services is the surest way to attract more business and referrals.
Don’t pretend to be a pro at what you don’t know; impostors’ downfall is swift and sure.
Your small business just cannot afford to be comparable with anyone else’s. You must create a competitive advantage for your business; give prospects a clear reason/s why they should buy from you and not the next guy.
Don’t accept to become part of the business riffraff.
Find out what you can offer – but the competition can’t. Is it strict adherence to deadlines, personalized services, or a wider range of service options? Use these propositions of value to entice customers.
Developments in the business world come thick and fast; you need to keep up or quickly lose relevance. Top businesspeople know this for a fact and that’s why they are always learning and getting familiar with the latest trends and skills in the marketplace.
As a small business owner you need to be perpetually relevant. Take time to update your skill set. It shouldn’t be too hard; the Internet is an immense resource that you can easily explore.
Simply find networks, clubs and associations of like-minded people and set about learning new things you can implement for business success. Register for relevant courses and webinars. Read widely too.
In this day and age people expect to get prompt service with little or no fuss at all. I assume that this is your expectation when you need a service from another business. Don’t let your business be the exception.
Modern-day business success is all about the ability to provide what customers want when they want it. Just a few people, like some friends and family, will excuse your inconveniencing tendencies – everyone else will simply walk away and take their business elsewhere.
Your reputation as a small business owner needs to be rock-solid.
All the good qualities you claim to have on your cover letter or website mean nothing to prospective employers and clients. They need practical proof. You must therefore deliver on whatever you promise. A solid reputation cannot be acquired, it is earned.
Again, delivering as promised is well and good for the first encounter but earning a good reputation will take much more. Clients will trust if you consistently maintain high standards of product/service delivery. This trust will in turn secure you a good reputation.
One way to distinguish wannabe entrepreneurs from the real deal is the manner in which they sell their products/services. For them it’s just about the product/service features; anyone who knows better knows it’s about selling benefits.
You must learn how to sell benefits. Do this and see just how much more exciting approaching prospects will become. Banking on the solid quality of your product/service, let your target audience know what advantages will accrue to them if they purchase what you are selling. Communicate this message on all your marketing and promotion materials and media.
As a small business owner you cannot afford to be detached from the community that supports your enterprise. Customers are people. People tend to do business with people they identify with and have respect for.
Find time to engage with the community by participating in programs and projects aimed at uplifting everyone’s quality of life. Helping to organize local events, contributing to and working with local charities, and joining local clubs and committees are some of the ways you can foster healthy community relations.
While creating awareness for your business through different promotional campaigns is advisable, you must ensure that whatever promotional activity you invest in earns you good returns.
Business promotion involves significant expenses. If these monies are not recouped profitably chances are your business will be reduced to survival mode and market obscurity. An invisible business is a failing business; this shouldn’t be you.
Business involves deal-making; you must bring effective negotiating skills to the table lest you get a raw deal. Mustering the art of negotiation will require you to have mastery over you skills such that whatever the scenario you can always engineer a win-win situation.
Don’t be complacent; don’t just agree to terms without establishing whether better terms can be secured. Always ensure that your business relationships are based on the desire for mutual growth and profitability.
This is with regards to your workspace. To achieve optimal productivity and to project professionalism (in case clients need to come visit you) you need a well designed workspace. Even if this has to be at home you must make sure that the working environment is conducive.
You must define this space and make sure everyone respects it. Your business/working hours must also be defined; ensure that this space becomes a no-go zone when you are busy making money.
Without having systems in place to help you manage your small business chances are your productivity will suffer. Being organized, on the other hand, will help you to make the most of your time.
Come up with and adhere to an effective routine daily to ensure that everything gets done on time. To-do lists, sticky notes, work activity calendars, notification alerts, and so on, are some of the tools you can use to streamline and systematize your business operations.
Sometimes you may have the urge to work around the clock especially when work is plentiful and the pay is excellent. Nevertheless, “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy and Jill a dull girl”.
It’s important to take breaks for meals, time to rest and stretch, and some days off every once in a while, to ensure you don’t suffer burnout. Having a flexible schedule that allows you to recuperate regularly will allow you to work productively for the long-term.
Many small business owners have to wear many hats to ensure that operations run smoothly. It’s probably the case for you too; many entrepreneurs are excellent at multitasking.
However, multitasking has its limits too. There is no room for magic in business either.
Perhaps better results can be realized if you concentrate on doing a fewer number of tasks and assigning the rest to others.
How about making such an assessment for your business? Indeed, many top entrepreneurs attest to the effectiveness of delegation.
You need to maintain healthy relationships with your clients, prospects and business partners. Constantly be in contact with your clients, follow-up on prospects, and follow-through with business partners. The healthy relationships you’ll foster by doing this will enable you to increase sales and transaction frequencies with clients, to convert prospects into clients, and to engage better with suppliers and other members of the business team.
Pay particular attention to your customers. Don’t let the first sale you make be the last time you earn a client’s money. Follow up to ensure that your clients will always bring their business to you.