Ever wondered what it takes to own a successful business? Read this before you think of starting a business
Let’s face it, starting a business is not for the faint hearted and we are often bombarded with facts and statistics of new businesses not surviving the first 24 months. But can you avoid being a statistic? Business experts say you can, provided you are able to meet a demand and keeping your cash flow healthy. The most important element of any entrepreneurship is to be realistic in how you can make a profit from offering a solution to a problem. How you position yourself as a brand, not only with your customers but in the industry you are in is vital as customers have trust you enough to have a lasting relationship with you. There are ways to fail-proof your new business. This is how:
- Test the market: Invest in extensive research to test whether your services are really needed. Ask potential customers what they really need and how much they are prepared to pay for their needs to be met. Study your competition to see how you can differentiate yourself from it. Piloting your product or service is an ideal way to determine whether you have a market and who your market is, what their demographic is and how you are able to convince them of the value of what you are offering.
- Create a relationship with your customers: By now we know of the saying, ‘customers may forget what you said but they’ll never forget how you made them feel.’ The longevity of any company is determined by the customers it is able to keep. Keeping your customers happy is not negotiable. Make you sure you always engage with your clientele to be abreast with their needs.
- Take care of your employees: Your team can make or break your company as they are the gatekeepers between your business and your customers. Show your employees that you care about their growth and wellbeing. They spend most of their day making you money and engaging with customers, why not invest in creating an environment that will ensure they are happy? Here is a basic formula for your company’s wellbeing: happy employees + happier customers = more profit and longevity
- Manage cash flow and avoid high debt: Cash flow is the heartbeat of your company. Your business is all about numbers. Find creative ways of bringing in the money while limiting too much expense. If need be hire a reputable bookkeeping company, accredited by the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers and Accountants (ICBA) to save you time and manage your finances.
- Invest in marketing your business: You may offer the best services in town but it’s no use if people don’t know about it. Find creative and inexpensive ways to bring awareness of your business. Social media and featuring in mainstream media, such as television shows and publications is the best means to bring awareness of your company.
- Capitalise on your network: Your close circle of networks, such as your colleagues, family, and friends can help spread your business offerings like wildfire. Ask them for reference if they know potential customers. Also, make use of the business cards you take at networking events. Create relationships with them because even if they might not need your services, they might know people you need them.
We should bear in mind that the road to success is different for everyone. Some businesses might be an instant hit from when they open their ‘welcome’ sign and others may take longer. It’s important to realise that not everything will be smooth sailing and more often challenges give birth to great and innovative business solutions. Don’t be afraid to learn from mistakes (and success stories). And don’t let the fear of failing stop you from fulfilling your dreams.
What success strategies have you implemented for your business?