5 Essential Tips for Small Business Owners
Starting a business is tough. We all know this. Even those who have not been through the process have surely heard that it is not a walk in the park. And for those that have experienced it first hand, you probably think I am underselling just how difficult it is.
There will be stress. There will be times where you want to give up. You will make mistakes. These are things that you have to accept when starting out.
What I want to share with you are 5 tips that will make your life easier when starting a business. Hopefully, you can adopt this into your process and take some of the stress out of starting up.
Tip 1 – Don’t make short term decisions
When you start a business, you can feel the pressure to make cash as quickly as possible. This then forces you to make decisions based on the short-term goal of making instant cash without considering the long-term impact on your business.
This is where a business plan comes in handy. There are many positive aspects to a business plan. One is planning your long-term objectives for the business.
You know where you want your business to be in 1, 3, 5 years’ time. Reflect on the decisions you make. Are they going to benefit these long-term objectives, or are you deviating from the plan?
Things change. You can adapt to change and in doing so, adapt your long-term plan. But making a decision based off a short-term goal is something that can negatively affect the bigger picture. You might not see it straight away, but you will see an impact.
Tip 2 – Plan out how much cash you need until you are profitable
This ties in nicely with my previous point. The need to make money to pay the bills removes all logic and reason from decision making. All that matters at this point is making sure the electricity stays on.
Make sure to give yourself a nice cash buffer. This is going to give you the peace of mind you need to make rational decisions. This is the best kind of decision!
Tip 3 – Pay attention to processes
When starting a business, you can feel like you are flying by the seat of your pants. This often leads to overlooking the processes you are taking to achieve a certain objective or to complete a task.
This can be very counterproductive. Because it means the next time you undertake that task, you might use a completely different method than before. Potentially giving different results every time.
It will also take you just as long to undertake the task as the first time you did it. This doesn’t sound right does it? Surely you want to be more efficient the second time round? Well you should be. But you have a million things on your mind when starting and running a business. Not everything is going to stick. So, it is likely, the second time you undertake the process you will be relearning some of it. Not very productive, right?
Creating processes will not only help you to go on and optimise them but will give you a framework to follow the next time you undertake that task. Meaning, no more relearning and an increase in your productivity.
Here is a great blog that looks at the benefits of processes in a small business and how you can work on continually improving them
Tip 4 – Automate where possible
Technology is a wonderful thing. We use it every day to make our lives easier. Why not utilise it in business to make our work lives easier?
It’s a no brainer, right?
There is a lot of software available to help you automate different processes and functions within your business. They often require a bit of effort to set them up but save you lots of time once they are up and running.
Here is a great article that lists they many different types of business automation software available.
Tip 5 – Understand your customer’s journey
Sales is the key to most businesses. Without making money there is going to be no business. But sales don’t just materialise out of thin air. It would be amazing if they did, but unfortunately this is not the case.
Sales start with someone requiring the product or service you are offering. This is usually because they have a problem and are looking for something (or someone) to solve it.
Just because you or your product solves that problem, doesn’t mean they are going to instantly buy into it. They could just as easily go to one of your competitors.
“But my solution is better than my competitors...”
You need to demonstrate that to your audience. You need to take them on a journey to prove that your solution is exactly what they need.
Have you ever heard of the 7-touchpoint rule? It is the idea that it takes at least 7 points of contact with a prospect before they buy what you are selling. These can come in the form of email, advertising, a phone call, voicemail, etc.
This article does a great job explaining how you can adopt 7 touches into your marketing strategy.
Consider this when planning your customer journey and you are going to see some great results in no time.
Take it easy on yourself
Hopefully you can see why these tips make sense. It is going to be tough to follow them. I know from experience.
I can also say that by following them you are going to make your life much easier.
Take some of the stress out of starting a business and follow these tips.
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