Starting a Business in Challenging Times
Success – Stacking the Odds in your favour!
Experienced business owners will tell you that when you are starting your own business, you may have to wear many “hats”. You may have some great ideas, but fail on the more “administrative” tasks that are needed to be successful. You need to know your strengths and weaknesses. Lack of management experience accounts for many small business failures. Entrepreneurs often think that they can do it all and may not seek outside help when they need it. Do not be shy about seeking out the advice of expert advisors, networking with other entrepreneurs and hiring staff to work on the tasks that you are not good at.
On one hand, desire and persistence along with innovative thinking can improve the odds of having a successful business. Knowing what you want to achieve, determination, setting goals, paying attention to detail and motivating others are key elements for your success and business growth.
On the other hand, desire and persistence alone will not make you successful. For example, a lot of people love to cook and are good at it too. So, they dream of starting a restaurant. However, there are already many restaurants, the profit margins are often slim and consumers have lots of choice. To be successful in that market, you need to be truly offering something new or unique. In short, you need to be sure that there is a big enough market for what you plan to offer and that the competition isn’t already too strong.
These tips can help you to overcome a great number of the factors that lead to the failure of many small businesses.
1. Develop a good marketing and business plan that takes into account customer needs, competition, pricing and promotional strategies.
2. Understand your business finances, such as cash flow and handling credit.
3. Make sure you have enough working capital to allow time for the business to grow.
4. Keep a good inventory of your products or services and your existing customers.
5. Supervise, train and motivate your staff.
6. Make sure you do have the experience, knowledge and skills to run your business.
7. Plan every part of your business from start to finish – to fail to plan is to plan to fail!
8. Know your market and define how much of it you will be able to capture – going through this process will ensure a good understanding of your chosen market.
9. Make sure you are offering a product that is unique and desirable compared to your competitors.
10. Don’t under-estimate your expenses and over-estimate your revenue.
11. Make sure you have some cash reserves or a line of credit to help you get through slow periods.
12. Don’t be too proud to seek expert advice when you need it.
Whatever else you do, at least reflect on each of these 12 tips and see which can help you to sustain and grow your new business. The very worst thing that you can do is nothing!
Remember… It is insanity to continue to do the same things you were doing before and expect a different outcome!