If you’ve ever wanted to start your own business and haven’t taken the plunge, what scared you away? For most of us, it’s a feeling of risk or not really knowing how to ensure our own success. Starting a new business is really exciting, but it can also be pretty scary — especially if you have a family depending on you. To help you feel better about your odds, here are 10 tips that will help ensure your business is successful.
The biggest part of your success will likely be your own drive and desire. If you believe in what you’re doing and are self-motivated to make your business work, then your chances of success are going to be much higher.
2. Research Like Crazy
You might have a terrific idea, but if there’s not a strong market for it, success will be hard to come by. The only way to determine your market is with research. Go online, talk to experts, take surveys, and get help from a market research professional if possible.
3. Learn Marketing
No business can succeed without a solid marketing plan. You need to be tuned in with your audience and where to find them, and you must have multiple channels on which to reach them. Take courses, get a mentor, and do plenty of homework on best practices. Have a marketing strategy in place before you start spending money on advertising.
4. Choose the Right Structure
There are different legal structures for your business. Should you be an LLC? A sole proprietorship? An S-Corp? Choosing the right legal and financial structure can protect you from liability and save you money in taxes. Talk to an attorney or accountant for help.
5. Keep a Handle on Finances
Even if you’re not an accountant, you can still keep a close eye on your business spending and income. Even if you begin with a simple spreadsheet, it’s important not to get behind in your record keeping. You’ll save yourself trouble — and probably money — in the long run. Professional help is always best.
6. Work, then Work Some More
A lot of people dream that having their own business will result in more freedom. That may be the case — at least eventually. But when your’e starting out as a one-horse show, you’ve got to commit to running the whole show, no matter how many hours or how much work it takes. Business development, marketing, production, finances…it’s all you. Make sure you know what you’re getting into, and that you’re prepared to take full responsibility.
7. Keep Learning
Just because you’ve established that your idea is a good one and that there’s a market for it doesn’t mean you can stop doing research. Markets and economies change, consumer habits ebb and flow, and your business has to make frequent adjustments to keep up. You must keep testing your marketing and your product, and that requires constant learning.
8. Know When to Get Help
Even if it’s a virtual assistant, you have to stay in tune with your own needs and get help when you can see things are becoming too busy to handle alone. If you get behind the 8-ball, it’s likely to be very hard to catch up later. You don’t have to hire an employee — look for freelancers or contractors that can work on a 1099, as-needed basis.
9. Invest Wisely
Some investments are worthwhile — others are not. When you’re running a business, you’ll likely be putting a lot of your own money into it. Is it time to get a SBA loan or line of credit, or can you find another way to dig up the resources you need? Perhaps you can find an investor who believes in you. When you’re thinking over making an investment in your company, talk to some experts and peel who have been in your shoes already.
10. Be Serious About Customer Service
When you’re serving customers, you need to take the word “service” seriously. Customers are your life-blood, and if you let bad reviews stack up, it’ll definitely hurt you. It’s more than your company on the line — it’s your future and reputation. Even if you’re the one in the right, you often need to give a little extra to keep customers happy. It’ll pay off in the long run.