What leads to small business success? If you ask ten people this question, chances are you will get ten different answers. That’s because, as a general rule, most people don’t know what it takes to make a business successful. It’s no wonder that 45% of new businesses fail within the first five years!
Of course, having a quality product or service is a given if you want to stand a chance at being successful. Beyond that, there are three vital things that are essential for any business to thrive.
What 3 Things Lead to Small Business Success?
1. A Clear Vision for the Business
A successful business owner needs a crystal clear idea of what they want to achieve. That’s why every successful business should have a vision statement, which becomes the foundation for everything you do in your business. For example, Tesla’s vision statement is, “To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”
How to Write a Vision Statment
Writing such an important statement for your business can seem intimidating, but you can always change it. In fact, successful companies routinely revisit their vision statement and adjust it as their business evolves. The first step is to decide on the overarching objective for your business. An excellent way to choose your purpose is to determine how your business ultimately helps society. Next, think of the long-term goals for your business up to 10 years in the future.
Do you want to help people live more comfortably or create a better environment for them to live in? Do you want to make people healthier or help them save money? Write a statement that is specific but not too limiting. Pick words that are clear and easy to understand. For example, a company that installs solar panels could be “to help homeowners harness the power of the sun.”
How to Use the Vision Statement
Once you have the vision statement written, use it to guide your decisions and employees. It’s important to get your core staff on board with your vision statement. Many businesses hold quarterly or annual workshops where employees can bring their ideas to the table for how to implement the vision statement in their day-to-day strategy. Make your vision statement tangible by keeping it somewhere visible in the office for customers and employees to see every day.
2. Clear Goals and Objectives
It’s not enough to have a vision for your business. If your vision statement is your business’s long-term objective, then goals and objectives are your paths to achieve it. To that end, you must set goals and outline specific action plans for reaching those goals. Like your vision statement, your goals should be clear and straightforward.
Choose short-term objectives and long-term goals that are enterprising but are feasible. Here are a few strategies to consider when deciding on your goals and objectives.
Use SMART Goals
Many businesses use the SMART method for setting clear business goals, which means each goal needs to be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. For example, a business objective could be increasing company website traffic by 10% in 2022, while a business goal might be to expand your product or service offerings within the next five years.
Use SWOT Analysis
Once you have established your goals, it’s time to do a SWOT analysis. This will help you determine the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats in your business. Once you know what these are, you can develop specific strategies to overcome any weaknesses and capitalize on any opportunities.
For example, if your business is weak in online marketing, you could decide to hire a social media specialist. Or, if you see that there are many potential customers in a particular geographic area, you might want to consider expanding your business there.
3. The Ability to Adapt and Pivot
Adaptability is arguably the most critical factor of all for achieving small business success. The world is constantly changing, and companies that can’t keep up will quickly become irrelevant. That’s why it’s essential to have a flexible business model that can change with the times. Here are some examples of how important adaptation is and tips on staying ahead of the curve.
Pivoting Makes or Breaks a Business
For example, Blockbuster Video was once a booming business but failed to pivot when people began streaming movies at home. The company failed to adapt when people no longer needed to go to a physical store to rent movies, and they went bankrupt as a result. In contrast, Amazon pivoted from being an online retailer for books to becoming the largest e-commerce platform on the internet.
The lesson here is that businesses must be able to change with the times and adapt to the ever-changing needs of their customers. If you can’t do that, your business will eventually fail.
Stay Adaptable in Business
Be prepared to be flexible. Stay customer-focused, anticipate their changing needs, and always be willing to experiment with new ideas. Monitor developments in your industry or market that you need to respond to, and then develop a plan that will help you achieve your vision and put you in the best position to succeed. Always search for ways to make your business more efficient or effective to stay ahead of your competition.
Prioritize Technology in Your Business
Technology is constantly changing, so it’s vital that your business keeps up with those changes. But it’s about more than just making sure you’re using the latest software for your employees; think about how new tech can impact your overall business model and goals.
For example, using the latest machine-learning algorithms could help you discover patterns your human workforce might miss. Or, learning how to analyze big data sets can help you find new customers who might not otherwise find your business on their own. In this way, technology is a tool that can be used to serve your business, not just something you have to pay for every month.
Prioritize Your Online Presence
Another important factor in adapting to changes that affect your business is your online presence. Not only do you need an SEO-optimized website, but it also pays to have a strong presence on social media. The problem with these digital platforms is that what works constantly changes from one month to the next. For example, your website might be ranking on page one for a keyword phrase that brings your business thousands of new customers every month.
But one change in the Google algorithm and all that traffic can disappear overnight. The same can happen with your social media accounts. That’s why businesses must constantly stay up to date on the best practices. It also pays to be an early adopter of new platforms. For example, TikTok became a top social media platform in recent years, and early adopters are reaping the benefits. Be on the lookout for any emerging outlets that help increase brand awareness.
Use Your Resources to Stay on Top of Market Trends
You can also use many online resources to keep up with what’s going on in your industry or market. Find professionals in your industry who are willing to share advice. There are also countless articles and blog posts written by industry experts who share their ideas and opinions on the latest trends in marketing or business.
Of course, many other aspects to small business success. However, your vision statement, goals, and ability to adapt make up the foundation of your success as a business owner.
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