You want to start your own business. You’ve got all the plans. You’ve got the paperwork. You’ve got the know-how.
You’re ready to become your own boss, manage employees, and raise your business from the ground up.
But be careful. There are simple things that can get neglected or forgotten that could eventually lead to the downfall of your promising dream. Here are 5 mistakes you need to avoid in order to keep your business in the black, keep you in that CEO chair, and keep that dream alive.
Don’t Think Small
Just because it may start out as a small business doesn’t mean that you have to keep it in that definition. Your ideas are big and deserve to be shared. Of course, there are things like growth models that may keep you feeling small for a little while, but take solace in the fact that you’ve got a great business model that will include growth. And that is really important. You’ve got to create your business model around what you want your company to look like, how you want it to expand.
Also, the goal from the beginning is not to compete with large corporations that can just throw money at things. What you want to focus on is giving your customers something that those big companies can’t provide. Can you give great customer service? Can you engage them online, offline, and anywhere in between? Can you create relationships with other businesses, customers, and the community? Of course you can.
New Technology Is Your Friend — Use It
New technology is always coming out. There’s even some of the new technology that can really help your small business grow. Take, for instance, smartphones and tablets in conjunction with cloud servers. These little bits of technology make you more mobile, which means you can be more efficient and get more done even when away from the office.
There is also the advent of new credit card technology. Imagine you own a hat store or something like it and you want to take your product to a fair or community event. What is the likelihood that every customer that wants to buy something is going to have cash? You can’t really take your big, clunky credit card machines with you, and if you don’t have a merchant account set up through companies like Intuit or Square, you’ll miss out on customers that don’t have cash on hand. By not accepting and adapting to new technology, you put yourself at a great disadvantage to those that are adapting.
Find Your Niche
Finding your target market is as important as it gets in the business world. By attempting to market yourself to everyone, you are missing out on the most loyal customer bases you’ll have. In order to make sure you’ve got your target audience captivated, you need to market to them and for them. This will take time and research, but in the end, it is well worth it.
Think of the 80/20 rule in business. 80 percent of your sales will come from 20 percent of your customer base. While you can set up campaigns that reach a larger group of people, your main focus should be on attracting those that are most likely to be excited and engaged with your product. Not only will your this customer base reward you for your effort, but you’ll also build a loyalty that can last the length of your brand.
Don’t Forget Your ROI
Return on investment — sometimes it can feel like a dirty phrase, but ultimately, this is how your business stays afloat. Driving sales and increasing profits helps keep first-year business expenses down (first-year expenses are what usually bring a new small business crashing down). You’ve got to make smart decisions and really crunch numbers when it comes to inventory, marketing, and sales. You’ve got to educate yourself in seminars, conferences, classes, etc. Your business is your investment so don’t let it go to waste by not paying attention to the details.
Don’t Try To Do Everything
Delegation is a very important part of any small business, of any business, in general. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you want your small business to thrive, you are going to need good people around you at all times, helping you get things going. This can mean hiring an assistant, hiring interns, setting up an executive committee, or any type of support system that will aid in the maintenance of your goals.
The bottom line is this: Pay attention to the details. Find your target market. Never forget your business plan. Set up a team around you that knows that goals and wants to help you achieve them. Think big and think smart. Pay attention to technology and implement it into your daily strategy. By doing these things, you set yourself up for success, rather than failure.