Starting a small business is difficult–so difficult that 66% to over 90% depending on your sources–don’t make it past the first 10 years of business. How can you prevent this from happening to your business?
The first step to anything is to be informed. Here are some of the pitfalls that small businesses run into and what you can do to avoid them. This way, you can ensure the success of your own small business:
You Don’t Offer Your Customers a Unique Product or Service
First, making your business survive starts before you even open your doors. In fact, you need to make sure your business is unique before anything else. You won’t draw in customers otherwise.
For example, there are plenty of places out there that sell coffee so you would need something to set your cafe apart from the rest. Even better, be innovative and start a business that isn’t a flooding the market–something new and exciting.
If you can’t come up with an amazing idea and want to stick to what you know–that’s fine too. Just make sure your work is being done as efficiently as possible, and you’re keeping your customers happy.
You Don’t Know Who You Are or What You’re Up Against
This is a crucial question; who are you as a business? Are you here to provide a good, a service, or both? Who is your target demographic? What’s your business’s story?
All of these questions need to be answered before you can run like a company should. These questions will give your company character and help you to strategize. Having a story, especially, will give your company character that customers can add to what they are buying, personifying your company.
To grow and succeed as a business, you need to know what you’re up against–this means knowing the technology that your competitor is working with. For example, if your competitors have automated its invoicing process, or invested in data recovery software–look into it, and see if it meets your needs for your business. Most likely, it does.
Whether this means an in-depth look for a tech company or just keeping up with the social media marketing, you need to pay attention to your competitors and keep your edge against them so they keep coming back for business.
You Don’t Have Name Recognition
It is important to have name recognition for your business. After all, if your customers can’t name your business, they can’t spread their love for you by word of mouth and they may not even remember you themselves.
A good way to get name recognition is to work with your community. This tip is especially important if you are cultivating a business in a small town.
You can also work with other small businesses in the community. Think about it, you don’t have to just compete with these other businesses, you can build each other up as well. You can also pair up with other organizations in the community to build up your name recognition.
You Don’t Stay Up-To-Date On Marketing
You might not be a full on corporation but you still need to market your services. One of the best ways to stay on top of marketing is to use social media–especially for smaller companies.
Using a platform like Facebook is a good way to keep your audience informed of sales and updates. In addition, many companies use platforms such as Instagram to post pictures of new products they are selling.
Your Expenses are Rising
This is one of the most common problems with small businesses. There are a lot of expenses that go into starting a business and even more fees and costs in maintaining one.
This can be overwhelming, especially if you aren’t properly prepared. Of course, if you can be proactive you should. Balance your budget carefully and have money saved up when you open up your business.
However, sometimes we do get ahead of ourselves and get into debt. Getting yourself out of this as quickly as you can is important–especially so you can avoid filing for bankruptcy. There are ways to survive this, though.
There are agencies that can help you with debt but make sure you’re staying on top of everything. If you have late-paying clients, this is when you want to call them up and cash in. You might even want to try rebalance your budget yourself, or turn to automation for additional help.
You Aren’t Consistent
If there is anything you have to be when you are establishing your business, it’s consistent. You need to establish exactly what your business is and what it offers. This means that you need to keep your marketing on an identical or at least similar track no matter what outlet you are advertising through.
Being consistent means that you aren’t going to confuse your potential customers about why they would come to you. This also means that you should carefully consider your advertisements and make sure they capture exactly what your business is about.
It Takes Some Time
If you’re opening a business with no background or experience in the industry –you’re going to need a lot of help. Don’t be discouraged if it seems like it’s not as good as it should be, it’ll get there if you keep making improvements.
When you open up your business–it’s likely it won’t have as much volume as you originally anticipated. Keep persisting and you will get to a place where your business is succeeding and less likely to fail after a few years.