It’s not easy being an entrepreneur, especially when you’re relatively new to business dealings. Every small business could stand to improve in some way.
1. Create a proper business plan and refer back to it often
As with everything else in life, planning is key to good business. Enterprises that are started with the help of a formal business plan are 16% more likely to succeed. While it’s best to have had one with you right from the start, it’s never too late to put one together and give yourself a trajectory to follow.
To do this, start by asking yourself two big questions about your business: where do you see it going, and what steps do you envision taking on the way to that ultimate destination? The answers to these questions will help you to develop the initial business plan. You’ll want to ask different questions once you’ve given yourself some time to forge ahead. Are things are actually progressing according to that plan, or have you developed a better concept or method somewhere along the way? Analyzing your business trajectory like this helps you to stay on track when it’s needed and to reassess your old strategies when they don’t work out as you expected.
2. Set reasonable goals for yourself
Progress doesn’t happen overnight; if you want your business to grow, you’ll need to put in the work to get it there yourself. You’ll also want to keep yourself motivated and focused with specific benchmarks to reach. These should be relatively ambitious, but they shouldn’t be so extravagant that you’ll need a miracle to actually reach them.
To find the happy medium, take a closer look at your current sales statistics (or those of similar companies if you’ve yet to start operations). How many customers have you already locked down, and how many do you have coming down the pipeline? How much interest is there in your company right now? You may be at a critical point for conversions and need to set high goals for yourself in order to capitalize on that – but conversely, you might be lacking in prospects right now, making it best to stick to lower goals that you have a better chance of actually meeting.
3. Remember to track profits, not just revenue
A new business that is pulling in thousands of pounds a month in income sounds great on paper. Unfortunately, just because a business is bringing in money doesn’t necessarily mean that it is turning a profit. Many newer entrepreneurs fail to look too closely at their expenses before getting excited about what looks like an excellent start. You can usually expect to be in the red for quite a while when you’re first setting out thanks to start-up costs, and your business will have ongoing expenses like supplies, software subscriptions, office rent and labour. Make sure that you are accounting for these things when you are assessing the viability of the business.
4. Carve out your niche at trade shows
One great way to reach those goals we just discussed is to attend trade shows and other events to promote your product or service. You may be worried that your product is too new or that you don’t know enough about the industry to make much of an impact at these gatherings, but it’s important that you push those feelings aside and seize the opportunity in front of you. There are currently 4.2 million businesses of various sizes operating in the UK, so you have a lot of competition in front of you; the high number of small business entrepreneurs present at these locations could provide immense benefits for your business is just too much of a boon to pass up.
This is where things like the pop up display stands mentioned above can be extremely helpful. Simple solutions like this can make your small business look professional and trustworthy without costing you too much in return. With a well-designed stand behind you and a confident, knowledgeable attitude, you’ll be all set to make an excellent impression on all those potential new clients and investors.
5. Know when to get some help
When your business’ profit margins are still small, it’s tempting to keep things as inexpensive as possible by doing as much as you can by yourself. While that makes sense in the short term, it isn’t an advisable strategy for the long run. You only have so much time and energy to give, and you probably also lack the expertise to do every task as well as a more specifically skilled person would.
Because of this, any savings you make by running your business short-handed this will often come at the expense of your future profits. If you can afford it, it’s almost always better to delegate. Consider hiring help for things like taxes, marketing, website design and other business essentials, as well as extra staff members to help you produce more of your product or service if your sales volume is high enough; chances are good that you won’t regret it.
Success in small business is never guaranteed, but a smart entrepreneurs do everything they can to tip the odds in their favour. Take these 5 tip for small business entrepreneurs to heart and you’ll be that much closer to the prosperous future you’re dreaming of.