Thousands of small businesses are born every month in this country. Some of these businesses get off the ground in the first year, and thrive; while other businesses don’t make it past the six-month mark.
Many people who go into business for themselves are unsure about how to make their endeavors successful. You don’t need to sell a product or service that everyone wants, however you do need to approach your small business with a mindset that will allow it to grow and be successful. We asked some successful entrepreneurs for small business advice, specifically their favorite tips for succeeding in the harrowing world of entrepreneurship. These are the top five small business tips we gathered:
Successful entrepreneurs love the product(s) and service(s) they sell. We heard this time and time again; the best part about working for yourself is doing something you enjoy, and that you are good at. You have to believe in what you’re offering before you’ll be able to effectively sell it to others. It also makes those stressful moments, when you’ve got too much to do and not enough time to accomplish it all, a little easier to manage when you actually like what you’re doing.
Successful entrepreneurs find or create a niche. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling the best product known to mankind; if the market is over-saturated with high-quality competition, potential customers may never find their way to your product. Doing research to locate your niche will help you get an idea of how competitive the marketplace is for your product, before you even begin to spend money to develop your ideas further. As well, growing a presence in a niche market can allow your business to become a small/medium/large fish in a little pond, rather than being the same in a big pond. The better matched your product is to this niche market, the easier it will be to grow and flourish, letting you expand out of that niche when you outgrow it.
Successful entrepreneurs are excellent project managers. In order to ensure your business succeeds, you need to come up with new ideas, but more important than that, you need to have the vision and stamina to complete projects and implement them. For many people just starting out as their own boss, issues of time management and resource-allocation are crucial. For every project that a small business owner starts, but does not complete or implement, productivity and money are lost. Successful business owners cultivate a focus that allows them to start new projects and see them through, pushing their business to evolve and grow over time.
Successful entrepreneurs are willing to experiment. Traditionally, one of the advantages small business owners have over large companies is their ability to innovate. However, too many entrepreneurs are afraid to experiment, failing at a fundamental element of the innovation process. The fact is, being in business for yourself is risky, and most successful business owners can relate to having a fear of failure. But you should not let your fear of failure keep you from thinking about, and ultimately trying, new and innovative concepts. Whether it’s trying a new marketing strategy, finding novel ways to package your products/services, or defining your product in an atypical way, experimentation and innovation are ultimately going to be the things that can set your business apart from the crowd, and keep you competitive. In the real world, there are plenty of examples of companies that paved new paths, directions, and even new industries, because they had the courage to experiment.
Successful entrepreneurs develop networks and support. Being an entrepreneur can be very stressful, and one of the things that can help is developing productive relationships with others in the same business community. While you don’t want to share trade secrets with a potential competitor, it’s a good idea to make positive connections with other small business owners, as well as larger companies that may be able to offer advice and services when you most need it. In time, you may be able to return the favor.
Owning your own business can be a truly rewarding and profitable experience, if you approach the process with the right perspective. Besides the basic issues of supply and demand, successful business owners know that having a unique and positive perspective can make the journey to success both profitable and enjoyable.
By Michelle Walker