Let’s be honest for a moment.
You’ve probably been daydreaming of starting and building a successful business of your own for a long time now.
Great, that’s a sure sign you should go for it!
There is nothing you should be scared of when starting a new chapter in your career. After all, there are many benefits of owning a business.
For example, you will:
- Feel like a powerhouse
- Love every second of it because it’s yours
- Have a more flexible lifestyle
The list just goes on and all of this sounds great, but…
Everyone has good ideas. However, without converting them into something tangible, they mean nothing.
This is why we created this Business 101 blog to help you and everyone else who is ready to chase success and start something of their own.
Let’s start, shall we?
Table of contents:
- It’s hard, really, really hard
- Find your true passion
- Focus on what you’re good at
- Gain experience
- Sacrifices must be made
- Keep positive & successful people around you
- Build your team
- Hard work doesn’t always equal good results
- The road to success is very bumpy
- Every Little Effort Counts
- Be extra-productive on Friday
- Build a Network
- Learn From Those Who Are Already Successful
- Know your target customers
- Learn how leads find you
- Start an Email List
- Don’t compare yourself to those who have been around for years
- Market segmentation is essential
- Don’t just measure ROI, keep improving it
- Reinvest to improve
- Done is Better than Perfect
- Celebrate even the little victories
- You WILL Make Mistakes
- Have fun
The 24 Must-Know Tips Your Future Small Business Needs
#1. It’s hard, really, really hard
Who would have thought?
Jokes aside, but if it is easy, it won’t be fun, right?
A massive 82% of businesses fail because of inconsistent cash flow. This shouldn’t discourage you. Actually, it should motivate you to be part of those 18% who succeed.
You should prepare for a lot of disappointment, prepare to grind for years step by step. One step back, two steps forward, you may not be there yet, but you will surely be closer than you were yesterday. No matter how hard it gets, simply don’t give up.
Here are two small business tips on how to improve the business growth process:
- Build a community of your own and get to know how other business owners manage their businesses
- Adapt to the new chapter of your life by being around people who have been doing this for years
#2. Find your true passion
It’s not the first time you hear this, and it won’t be the last. If you want success, you must pursue what you truly love. If you just want to waste your time on something you aren’t passionate about, be our guest.
And also, if you have trouble figuring out what you really want to do with your life, here is a great article on the topic.
The moment you find what you truly enjoy doing, is the moment you should start focusing all your efforts on that particular thing. In the long run it will eventually pay off.
Steve Jobs had a great point when he said:
#3. Focus on what you’re good at
The worst thing that can happen when doing something you don’t particularly enjoy is that it can completely drain your energy. Running a business where you make a lot of money, but your daily life is full of stress rather than happiness is not healthy.
Before you invest your time, energy, and effort into building a successful business, make sure it’s the thing you want to be doing until you retire.
Focus on what you are good at and let everything fall into place.
#4. Gain experience
The greatest source of knowledge, to this day, is experience.
You need to learn the important business basics, such as:
- Managing people
- Managing operations
- Developing strategies
You need that experience as it will help guide and lead your future teams and yourself. When your team comes across a difficult situation, only those who have “been there, done that” will know how to handle it. But most importantly, it is your responsibility to handle such problems.
Don’t start a business before you have the necessary experience. Try and gain experience by working in such environments so you can learn how things are handled. Take notes and start figuring out how your business will operate based on that experience.
And now, the most important thing: “How will I know if I have the necessary knowledge to start?”
You wouldn’t be asking yourself that if you were ready.
#5. Sacrifices must be made
To find success, prepare for some sacrifices. Be prepared to give everything if you want to reach it. Time, money, and sleep will be sacrificed along the way.
In the first few years, you should prepare yourself that you won’t be making the money you expect. You will be the one in control of where all the money goes, but it is better to reinvest it rather than setting a high salary for yourself. Many entrepreneurs don’t take much from the revenue before there is a steady line of profits backing them up.
In the beginning, you have to go all in but don’t drive yourself crazy over it.
It will take blood, sweat, and tears to make your dream business a reality, but it will surely be worth it.
#6. Keep positive & successful people around you
They say people are more successful when they spend time with people who are already successful.
It’s the same, for example, if you spend more time with negative people who complain to, blame, and doubt everyone. Eventually, you will pick up their bad habits and energy.
Don’t be like that, focus on your goals, and be persistent when you pursue them. Let positive people help and support you along the way. May that be the team that will guide your business to success.
Find a person who is successful and inspires you to be better. Find out what their daily schedule is and how they balance between their work and personal life. Try and adapt to this kind of lifestyle because that is how things are going to be in the next couple of years.
#7. Build your team
Don’t try to do everything yourself. Yes, you can. No, it’s not impossible. But…
No matter how skilled you are or how quickly you learn, to grow a successful business you need to let others help you.
Take a course on small business management to get the necessary knowledge to lead and organize a group of people.
Build a team of people you can trust, people who will deliver the results you expect. Each member of your team should focus on what they do best, while you focus on managing the business.
Your team should:
- Define your desired business culture
- Embody a common definition of success
- Collaborate and contribute to your business goals
- Build relationships between one another
#8. Hard work doesn’t always equal good results
Being productive is getting the important things done.
It is said that it is better to work smarter than to work harder. And we believe it’s true. Working smarter improves many things.
- Saves your energy
- Increases productivity
- Boosts motivation & desire to continue
- Makes you more valuable
- Increases creativity
Time management is a key factor in helping you improve all of these. For that, you need to create a daily routine and stick to it. After you have a set routine, you don’t have to think about the task or prepare for it, you just do it on autopilot because you are used to it.
#9. The road to success is very bumpy
Only about 40% of small businesses are profitable. It doesn’t mean that will always be the case.
It’s not going to be a smooth experience running your own business. There are going to be many bumps on the road when you track your revenue, traffic, and other measurements.
The trick is not to freak out if, at some point, things start going downhill. If it happens, just work smarter and get them up there again. Progress can be tricky and messy, especially if you only look at the numbers.
Bumps typically occur because:
- You are at it for the first time
- You don’t have a plan
- You don’t learn from your mistakes
Smooth sailing doesn’t make for skillful sailors, nothing can be perfect from start to finish.
Remember one thing, a bumpy road doesn’t mean things are bad. You are bound to stumble upon trouble, but down the bumpy road, you will learn a lot of important lessons.
#10. Every Little Effort Counts
Don’t rush searching for big results, take it one step at a time, because even slow progress is progress.
Take it easy on yourself and make small but effective steps. The same goes for your team.
You should figure out what specific measures give the best results, and focus most of your efforts on them.
Just because you don’t see the results in front of you, it doesn’t mean your efforts are not making an impact. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results quickly, remember that the sum of all small efforts equals success.
#11. Be extra-productive on Friday
As much as we complain about Monday, it is the day when we are usually the most productive.
We don’t even hate Monday that much but it’s only natural to complain about it.
Friday, on the other hand… Who doesn’t love Friday?
It’s basically an extension of the weekend. However, that can be a problem because we tend to relax a tad bit more on Fridays than we do on other workdays. Logically, productivity tends to drop on Fridays.
There are things that you can do on Friday that can make it more productive, for example:
- Leave easier tasks for Friday
- Make a plan for the week ahead
- Research new things
#12. Build a Network
Networking is key to a successful career. Being educated and skilled in a specific niche is great, but without connections, building a business in that niche can get pretty hard.
Let’s get one thing clear, networking is not just handing out or collecting business cards. It’s about establishing relationships where both sides will benefit.
Here are some small business tips that can get you on track when starting a network:
- Use social media networks
- Focus on the right people
- Tap into your local community
- Create win-win situations
- Give before you receive
This is not an easy task at all, but you won’t believe how your hard work will pay off in the long run. New opportunities will come one after another, and that can skyrocket your business.
#13. Learn From Those Who Are Already Successful
Analyze those who are already successful in the niche where you want to start building your business.
Learn from them by looking at what they do and how they do it. Their habits, what made their business successful, and how you can apply them to your business.
Adapt to their habits by:
- Working Hard
- Taking action, not procrastinating
- Setting goals
- Taking Risks
- Reading a lot
#14. Know your target customers
Customer needs should be the number one priority on your list. There are a ton of factors that you must focus on:
- How they look for products/services like yours
- How they describe your product/service
- Who they trust for ideas
- What they can’t get today that they wish they could
You need to get into the mind of your customers and learn how to anticipate most of their moves, so you can build a plan to attract and later close them.
After you have built a community of loyal customers, you must learn what they need to increase your retention rate.
#15. Learn how leads find you
Customers start rolling in, you are excited and all, and that is awesome, you should be. But don’t let the excitement distract you from what is important.
Where did these customers find out about you? How did they get to you?
They can’t just magically appear out of nowhere.
It is critical to know these statistics because you need to leverage the marketing channels that work best for you.
Whether they came from LinkedIn, Google, Facebook, a networking meetup, or a referral, you need to track that in an Excel sheet.
Ask your clients how they learned about you, that information is pure gold.
Business and analytics go hand in hand, so you need to monitor your data daily.
#16. Start an Email List
Email marketing has a very high impact, and most importantly, it’s free if you do it yourself. You should start gathering emails from day one.
You need a sign-up sheet for your email list. You can start by asking for people’s email addresses in person. There is nothing wrong with that, as long as you have provided enough value to earn that email prior to asking for it.
After you have a list of clients that are actually interested in your service/product, you can send them updates, special offers, subscribers’ special giveaways, etc.
People expect to receive value from the emails they get, so keep that in mind before sending them something they couldn’t care less about.
We all want the juicy offers, and nobody wants their time wasted on something they have no interest in. That goes for everyone.
#17. Don’t compare yourself to those who have been around for years
Don’t do it.
You will only lose your focus and motivation. It will make you feel bad about yourself, and that’s not what you want.
Understand that you are not inferior, and you can reach their level if you are truly passionate about what you are pursuing.
You are not them, your business is unique in its own way. That is what people are searching for, they won’t go for the same thing. That’s why you must differentiate from your competitors and, in time, show that you provide a better product/service.
Most importantly, comparing yourself to others is such a waste of time. Time is valuable and limited. Use it for what really matters — improving your business to surpass the competition.
#18. Market segmentation is essential
Every business needs marketing, but it has to be done right.
Why is this so important?
If you target the entire mass market, you will only be wasting your resources.
Marketing segmentation is the key to doing it right. Your market should be divided into groups of similar clients. Each group should be different from each other in many characteristics, such as:
- Demographics – age, education, income, race
- Behavioral activities – purchase, consumption, usage
- Psychographic – lifestyle, personal traits, opinions, values
The list goes on…
You need this type of segmentation to reach your target customers more accurately.
#19. Don’t just measure ROI, keep improving it
ROI, if it isn’t measured, it isn’t managed.
Tracking the ROI from marketing strategies is crucial to determine the success of your marketing efforts. Everything you do adds to your goals, be it driving sales, getting more leads, better engagement on social media, or any other growth-driven marketing tactic.
Here are some things that you can focus on to improve your ROI:
- Targeting based on behavior
- Improving customer service
- Optimizing work processes
- Listening to your customers
Whatever proves ineffective should either be excluded as a marketing strategy, or you should find a way to improve it. If you already have some successful campaigns, it is better to focus on improving them, as they are already on the right track.
#20. Reinvest to improve
When you start developing your business, as the owner, your goal will be to make a profit out of it.
At one point (ideally), you will start earning a good amount of money. That’s when you should reinvest it.
There are many reasons to do so but here are a few:
- To capitalize
- To rearrange
- To improve
- Improve what is already working well
- Increase efficiency & productivity
- Allocate resources into areas that matter the most
This will drastically increase your personal and business growth. Having a great base is not good enough, you should grow it, and never stop doing so. That will skyrocket your company to the next level.
#21. Done is Better than Perfect
You can be incredibly talented, but when you start different projects, make sure you finish them.
Most people tend to get bored or distracted and start thinking that it’s not “perfect” and throw the idea in the trash can. But finishing things is the best way to improve and learn. Don’t be a quitter.
By “Done is better than perfect,” we don’t mean you should finish something just for the sake of getting it done. You should strive to keep the highest quality you can. To reach that, however, you need to first finish something and then work on refining it.
#22. Celebrate even the little victories
Running a business is a grind from start to finish. In the beginning, there will be a few little victories here and there.
A little victory as a startup is a good review from a customer, a good PR day, or just a good financial day.
Of course, as your company grows, those victories will be exponentially bigger and will occur more frequently. But to reach that point, you must grind upward and celebrate the little victories. That will motivate you to reach the much-desired point of success.
#23. You WILL Make Mistakes
You are bound to make mistakes – not only you, but your team members as well. All of us make mistakes, it’s part of our human nature. Don’t stress about it.
Take the responsibility for the errors, find ways to fix them. Figure out ways to prevent such problems from happening in the future.
If it means making big changes, more checks, double-checks even, it doesn’t matter. Take whatever measures are necessary. Seek help if you have to.
But hey, you reached this point of the blog and learned enough from our small business tips to decrease the chances of mistakes occuring.
#24. Have fun
Originally, #23 had to be the final point but this one seems like a more suitable ending.
You must have fun doing this.
Don’t be so serious, just relax for a moment and have fun. Spare time for those little victories and celebrate them. You yourself know that you are working hard, so don’t think that taking a break and having a little fun will make you counterproductive.
Go on a vacation if you have to. Sometimes you need to refresh that brain of yours. Re-energize, re-focus, and you may even find solutions to problems you have been struggling to solve for a long time.
Summing It All Up
Before starting a business, make sure you are excited about the new chapter you will be opening. There are a ton of things to follow, but that’s the fun of it.
Hopefully, these small business tips help you in preparing yourself for what is yet to come.