Running a Small Business
No business is successful based solely on happy accidents. While you’ll likely experience some lucky breaks, much of your success will result from the hard work you put in to stay in the know about the market. When you first start your business, you should conduct an analysis that reveals your competitors, your advantages and disadvantages, and the most lucrative selling point for your products and services.
But this isn’t a one-time thing. Running a successful small business will require you to regularly conduct these analyses so you’re always up-to-date. Competitors will enter and leave the market, new technology will change the prices and availability of goods, and demand will fluctuate.
Finding the Right People
A successful small business is rarely a one-person operation. The skillset and hard work of your team are often just as valuable as all of the efforts you put in, making the people you hire one of your most important investments. Look for people who not only have a strong ethic but who also possess the same desire to make your company a success.
Don’t be afraid to get to know the people you’re interviewing beyond their business experience. Learning about their lives outside of work, like what motivates them and stirs their passion, is a great way to see how their perspective can fit in with your business’s vision.
Considering Multiple Selling Channels
A digital store can be more than enough to run your business successfully. You can choose to sell using your own website by hiring social media influencers or by posting your products to online marketplaces. Many business owners use the drop-shipping method, where they sell products to consumers but never store inventory. Instead, a third-party warehouse stores and ships products.
Pivoting When Necessary
Staying on Top of Your Finances
Living on the edge is a fun way to add some spice to your life, from meeting new people to traveling to an exotic location. It’s not recommended for running your small business’s finances. When it comes to your business’s financial health, there should be no surprises. Establish a system to record all of your transactions and keep track of your income. It’s more than worth it to hire an accountant.
Aside from keeping you out of legal trouble, staying on top of the financial side of your business will provide you with valuable insight for decision-making. You’ll learn about your top sellers, determine what to get rid of, and find out which products do the best in each season.
Taking Advantage of Technology
Your business won’t make it if you refuse to keep up with the times. Ever-evolving technology can be intimidating, but it can also be your greatest asset. Use technology to automate processes like recording inventory and sales, customer service, and ordering digital advertisements. By using technology to innovate the way you do business, you can free up existing resources and save money to grow.
Delivering Consistent Quality
Nothing turns customers away faster than not knowing what to expect from brands. Unpredictable quality of products and services will reduce trust and send even your most loyal customers looking for alternatives. When you’re a small business, the expectation of consistent quality is especially high. People often look to small businesses for a personal touch and five-star service.
Problems with quality often arise when small businesses are expanding. Hiring more people and transitioning to manufacturers can cause differences that customers aren’t used to. One way to remedy this is to create standard training modules for all employees, especially for customer service interactions. And some of the best manufacturers that you can trust come from referrals.
Living in the Moment…
Running a small business is both exciting and stressful, often at the same time. Many business owners struggle to run a small business successfully because they are too focused on the future to handle existing problems. Stay focused on what’s in front of you in the current moment so you don’t sacrifice your small-term goals for the long-term ones.
…But Thinking About Scaling
Some business owners have the opposite problem. Maybe they started their business as a side hustle or a way to bring in some extra income during a difficult time. Whatever the initial intention, these people didn’t expect or plan for their business to scale. When scaling happens without preparation, not only will you be overwhelmed with fulfilling your current orders, but you’ll also lose thousands in potential revenues.
In the early stages of your business, take time to consider what you would do if your business were to scale quickly. In the age of social media, it’s not uncommon for a business to suddenly blow up. Think about how you’ll handle it and you’ll be more ready to take action or choose to keep your business operating as is when the time comes.
There’s a reason why only a few people make it big, and it has nothing to do with having the most money or being the smartest. It’s all about staying committed to your business when the times get tough. Running a business isn’t easy: You’ll need to adjust to changing demands, survive during economic downturns, and keep up with trends.
Promising to yourself that you’ll stay committed to your small business and keeping that promise no matter how hard it gets is one of the best things you can do to ensure your success. Prepare to give up weekends and time with your loved ones throughout the life of your business, whether it’s during difficult months when you don’t know if you’ll make it or during periods of tremendous growth.
Challenging Yourself Creatively
There are some rules you should always follow when running your company, like keeping detailed records and proving value to your customers. But there are no rules about what you sell or how you should sell it. Use your business as an opportunity to challenge your creative abilities more than ever before. How can you market yourself in new ways? How can you change the way people think about a product?
Build a small business that’s destined for success by utilizing the experience of others to guide your decision-making. Our podcast tells the stories of top small business CEOs who changed the game by leveraging technology and strategy to thrive against even the largest competitors. Sign up for the David VS Goliath podcast so you can get updates about our latest episodes!