These Tips Might Tip The Scales in Your Favor
According to an item from Forbes, more than 500,000 new businesses are started each month. Many of those are single proprietor start-ups that don’t have employees. But that’s still an astounding number and every one involves a blend of stress and excitement.
That’s why, if you are planning to open a business, or have recently done so, it’s good to step back for a second, take a deep breath, and think about some things that will help your business be part of a much smaller number – businesses that are successful years down the line. I’ve put together a list I’ve gathered from people who’ve been through it.
- Do Something You’re Good At
This one seems obvious. But often, people fall in love with a “big idea” that seems to hold lots of profit potential. Frankly, even if it does, that’s not enough. The business should draw heavily from a certain skill set or expertise you already have (and one others would also say you have, by the way). If the concept is outside your knowledge and talents, it won’t work. A cool restaurant idea, for example, won’t make it if you don’t understand the industry or know how to hire the right people, and your “management skills” only manage to create problems. You have to know it and love it, not just the opportunity to make money from it.
- Know Your Limits and Your Go-To Resources
Even if you are “good at it’ you won’t know everything about every aspect of your new business. Try to understand the things you can handle efficiently, and the ones you are better off handing off to another professional. Think in advance about who best can help you with those areas. Getting help with certain aspects of your business isn’t a flaw or wasting money, it’s using your resources wisely, which can only help your business grow faster.
- Push the Right Buttons In Your Elevator Speech
“Elevator speech” is a buzzword, for sure. But it is important, and how effective yours is can mean the difference between your business making it or not. Be able to describe your business in 30 seconds and that includes not only what you do, but why it is different and better than similar competitors. When that brief exposure to a potential client ends, he or she walk away thinking either “oh, it’s just another (whatever)” or “that’s interesting, I should find out more about them.” If you have employees, make sure they can deliver the speech, too. If they don’t know what makes you different, sorry but you’re probably not.
- Focus Your Effort
This goes along with the last one, a little bit. When you are starting out, you probably feel a little, well, desperate. And any potential opportunity seems like a lifeline, so you grab it. It may be difficult, but don’t let those things distract you into making your business anything anyone wants it to be that week. Your long-term success requires that you be known for doing one thing very well. That’s how you are truly different from competitors, and don’t wind up in a price battle to win every project at a low margin. Focus, and you’ll be able to demonstrate your value based on how good you are, not how cheap.
- Live Within Your Business Means
Sounds pretty folksy, I know. But some new business owners want to look the part right away. The fancy cars, expense account meals and all the trappings show up in short order. And sometimes those owners rationalize it by saying they need to “look” successful or “you’ve got to spend money to make money.”. Bad idea. Most businesses would be better off approaching spending the way old Chicago Bears’ founder, owner, and coach George Halas was said to do it. “He throws nickels around like manhole covers,” a former player claimed.
Keep your office and other overhead expenses in control. Watch your cash flow, and spend every dollar carefully. Impress prospects and clients with your quality and your performance, not your lifestyle.
- Expect Trouble and Weather It
Things won’t go perfectly. If you expect that, don’t give up your day job to start a business. You can plan as carefully as you can (and you should), but things always change, and you will always have to adjust and adapt. That’s business. Businesses don’t succeed because of perfect predictions or plans, but because they were creative and nimble when things didn’t go according to plan. Of course you have to be smart, but if you want until everything seems almost certain, you’ll be too late to do anything about it. If you see a business growth chart with all ups and no downs, they’re probably holding the card upside down.
It must be mentioned, however, that you also have to be realistic. It is simple statistics that many businesses fail. Once you have put your very best effort and talents into making your business succeed, be willing to accept a defeat. It helps no one to keep pumping money and energy into a venture that ultimately is headed for failure. So be willing to recognize those signals and call it quits if that becomes appropriate. The lessons learned can be instrumental in a future success, but you have to be willing to accept those lessons without considering yourself a loser.
- Maintain a Healthy Work – Life Balance
Not surprisingly, people who start a new business are “all in” and know that they have to place their time and energy behind the business to make it go. That’s all well and good, but overdoing that aspect is neither well nor good. Your physical health is second to nothing in importance; so eating and exercising properly will help you stay well, which is important to not only your business, but your family and friends. Speaking of them, don’t let them be squeezed out by the demands of your business. They will certainly understand your commitment, but both they need and deserve your time and attention. No business is worth compromising those close, loving relationships.
We Are Here to Help
I hope you found something useful in the tips above. We can certainly help you put some of them into practice. Just give us a call. Superior Business Solutions can be your go-to resource for many business needs (tip #2). And we certainly help you spend every dollar carefully (tip #5). How? Well, you are already stretched thin and there is no need to spend valuable time seeking out appropriate printers and reviewing bids for flyers, brochures, manuals, and other printed items.
When the time comes for you to think of a creative give-away or other promotional item, and figure how to get it at the best cost from the most trustworthy vendor, we’re up on all those things. We do them every day, saving people time and money, and offering valuable ideas that can help their businesses grow. Learn more here. Oh, and with all the time you’ll be saving by using our expertise? I think we know where that time can best be spent. (See tip # 7.)