Sunday, December 9, 2018

7 Tips for Making Your Small Business More Successful

Any business owner will likely tell you that being an entrepreneur isn’t easy. Most successful entrepreneurs have their fair share of stories of how the whole world seemed to be conspiring against them during their company’s early days. 

Most can also describe in detail the seemingly endless amount of setbacks they encountered on the road to success and what it took to overcome them. And most, when asked, “What’s your secret to success?” will echo the words of United States Army General Colin Powell, “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”

If you own or are trying to start a small business, you probably have a good idea of how difficult it can be, but you also probably know that if you play your cards just right, your small business can take off and become successful. Sure, being an entrepreneur can be hard, but that’s not all it can be. 

It can be fun, exciting, engaging, rewarding, and adventurous, among many other pleasant things. If you own or are trying to start a small business and are feeling like the whole world is out to get you and are wondering what you can do to change that, here are 7 tips for making your small business more successful.

Step 1: Find a Mentor

If you don’t have one already, the first step you should take to get your small business going in the right direction is to find a mentor. There are plenty of successful business owners out there who would be willing to sit down with you and give you advice, or agree to mentor you and walk you through how to improve your business. 

A lot of good resources can be found online, and online mentors can be just as effective as in-person ones. Having a mentor is invaluable, so if you don’t already have one, that’s a great place to start.

Step 2: Get Some Feedback

When you’re looking for feedback, focus on two groups of people:

Your employees. They know better than anybody about what can be changed internally that would make a positive impact on the company.
Your customers. They are the ones engaging with your product or service, and it is them whom you are trying to serve. Your customers can give you feedback on what they do and don’t like about your product or service, including pricing, functionality, usefulness, and more. 

Step 3: Observe the Professionals

Take a look at a few companies that are similar to yours and have done well. Make notes of what they do and don’t do that you like and don’t like. Pay attention to the differences between how they operate and how you do. This can give you valuable insights into the changes you need to make for your business to be more successful.

Step 4: Set Some Goals

Once you have talked to a mentor, gotten feedback from your employees and customers, and observed similar businesses that have done well, you should have a great list of what you could do to increase your chances of success. 

This is when it is important to take some time to set some goals that you want to work toward. Which aspects do you want to improve first? Where do you want your company to be in one year? Five years? Ten years? These goals will help keep you motivated and focused.

Step 5: Change Your Business

After you have set your goals, use the feedback you received to make the necessary changes to your business. Remember that what you were doing in the past is what got you to where you are now and that in order to get to where you want to go, you’ll need to try something different. Take the changes one at a time and things will improve before you know it.

Step 6: Improve Your Marketing

Marketing is fundamental to every business and can always be improved. Evaluate how effective your marketing is, then take steps to change it for the better. Focus on:

  • Reaching your target market
  • Defining your brand
  • Taking advantage of social media
  • Encouraging word of mouth marketing

Step 7: Realize that Failure Isn’t Final

If worse comes to worst and you decide to throw in the towel, realize that none of your efforts were wasted and that failure isn’t final. Realize that you have gained indispensable experience and knowledge that will help you in your daily life and with any future businesses you start or work for. 

Even skills like learning how to file bankruptcy as a small business owner are good things to know, so never count yourself out or think of yourself as a failure.

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