Fewer than 50 percent of new businesses make it past the five year mark, and while that's a discouraging statistic, you can beat those odds. Consider the following 10 tips before contemplating your venture into the small business sector.
1. Remove the rose colored glasses. Sure, you've got passion, drive, determination and dreams, but the path upon which you are embarking is not an easy one. Being an entrepreneur can be lonely, and running a business can get mean and dirty and wear your soul down. While you need optimism above all else, avoid having an unrealistic perception of what running a small company is really like.
2. Take a course in confidence. Whether it's finance, management or marketing, chances are good your skills could use a little polishing in one area or another. Sign up for a course at your local community college, business workshop or online. The class will develop specific abilities, as well as boosting your self-confidence, just one of many characteristics you're going to need from here on out.
3. Build your business plan gradually. Many people think their business plan should be a cookie-cutter stat sheet, primarily created to obtain investor financing. Au contraire! This is a real map for your future, thus it requires meticulous cultivating.
4. Understand corporate structure and your tax status. Planning for the future financial success of any small business requires in-depth knowledge and this is one area where you will likely be glad there are expert professionals to hire. Because it's so complicated, yet carries such high consequences, consulting accounting services for small business is in the business owner's best interest.
5. Build a trustworthy team. From the service providing you with accounting to the company delivering to your customers: Everyone must be dependable and worthy of trust. Don't take chances on your website being unavailable because you skimped on hosting and don't be disappointed by a manufacturer who cuts corners. Thoroughly research everyone your business will be working with and consider each entity a partner in your success.
6. Forge a brand, not just a business. Your company needs a persona projecting a certain image and message to your customer base. As a brand, you'll cultivate a following of loyal customers and be able to build on your success, as opposed to being a business used out of convenience or necessity. People relate to a brand and will develop a true affinity for your company.
7. Stay in tune socially. No business succeeds without the help of a healthy network, and there's really no better way to create these connections than on social media. These platforms open the doors to new relations you can develop for supplies, information, customers, marketing and so on. Be present and be active on social media all the time, as part of your long-term strategy and keep in mind that 81 percent of consumers use the web to research products and companies before laying down any cash.
8. Constantly reevaluate your spending. Keep nipping your budget in the bud until it becomes a well-oiled machine, not a potential liability like it is for many start-ups. Maybe you're spending more than you need to on paper, long-distance and high-octane. Wherever your company is bleeding money, put a band aid on it.
9. Have an equity building stash. Consciously uncoupling with a hundred or so dollars every month is a lot easier than finagling month by month and trying to find the "extra" cash to fund a plan to build long-term equity. Let an accountant advise you on the possibilities held by a modest, yet consistent plan. Direct participation purchasing, for example, or DPP, allows you to invest small amounts in certain publicly held companies, building long-term stock equity. Working this out early and maintaining a hands-off approach to the cash is good for your future.
10. Don't let your head explode. Running your own business is exhausting, stressful and very often overwhelming. Discover your sweet spot for relaxation and visit it frequently. Whether it's a few early hours at the gym or late night sessions with just you and a guitar, keep your entire psyche healthy and ready for anything.
Think about the numerous reasons more than half of all new businesses fail before diving in yourself and carefully plan for your success, to avoid becoming another grim statistic. You can beat the odds, but not without a solid strategy and a strong network of support.Share
16 March 2015
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