For anyone who ventures out into the world of entrepreneurship, success is their end goal. It comes sooner for some, and for others, it may take years to grow their business to the heights they had envisioned.
When it comes to small businesses, achieving success means financial security and more years of operations. Getting there is the challenging part considering small businesses are generally more at risk of closing their doors.
The business world has become more competitive and aggressive than ever. With things constantly evolving, you either keep up or drop out of the race.
Let’s take a look at these stats.
Research on small businesses shows that 20% bow out in their first year. That number shoots to 50% by the fifth year. It doesn’t get any better, considering by the end of the decade, only about 20% of the businesses are left standing.
Is the business environment harsh for small businesses?
Well, going by the statistics, it appears to be the case.
These stats are worrying if you’re running a small business, which is inherently at a disadvantage.
However, small businesses also contribute to the bulk of the economy. That means success is always within reach for businesses that employ solid strategies.
As a small business owner, you have to take the proper steps from the get-go to settle your business on the path to success. We highlight the steps and attitude to adopt as a small business owner to ensure success.
- Make it Your Passion
There’s this statement that perfectly captures the reality of a small business.
“Small business isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s for the brave, the patient, and the persistent. It’s for the overcomer.”
When you decide to run a small business, you have to give yourself to it wholeheartedly.
Some days will seem too difficult to overcome. Sometimes it may feel like everything is falling apart. If you’re not passionate about your work, the overwhelming aspect may break you rather than spur you on.
- Put Your Customers First
Your business comes first, but your business is your customers.
Your customers’ needs must be at the forefront to strengthen their relationship with your business.
Keep in mind that while profits keep the lights on, brand image secures the future of your business. What you go out of your way to do for a customer can have a lasting effect.
Remember, customers hardly forget their experiences. Their purchase decisions are made based on product or service quality but also on the popularity of the business.
If you satisfy the needs of customers every time, they will reward you with loyalty and referrals.
- Manage Your Taxes
A lot of people start businesses without a complete understanding of the local and federal tax requirements. The consequences can be devastating if you fail to comply with certain guidelines, even if you weren’t aware of them.
Ironing out your taxes is taking care of your finances. Your small business requires a good flow of money and paying off penalties compromises that.
Here are tips to help keep your taxes in order and ensure that your business doesn’t run into legal troubles causing unnecessary losses:
Carry Out Research
Do your research on taxation guidelines and amendments relating to your business long before you open your doors. Knowing what to expect allows you to plan.
Determine Your Workforce
Figure out the type of workforce your business needs because it will affect your taxes. Employees affect your taxes differently compared to independent contractors, but both have pros and cons.
Employees are generally more connected with the business but will cost you more in taxes. You can save money on taxes and other benefits working with freelancers, which may come at the expense of that intimate connection with the business.
Hire a Consultant
Keeping up with constantly changing requirements is a difficult tax, especially when you have to focus on running your business.
Hiring a tax consultant is worthwhile in the long run. With their knowledge of the changing and confusing rules, they will take the right steps at the right times to secure your business.
- Have a Recruitment Strategy
Hiring the right people plays a huge part in the success of any business.
Recruiting the right talent is even more critical for small businesses. If you don’t fill your positions with suitable candidates, you risk the survival of your business.
That makes it necessary for small business owners to have an efficient recruitment strategy to help identify and hire the right people. Some tips to help make quality hiring include:
- Determine the skills and personal traits you need to keep your business growing and focus on that when reviewing the candidates.
- Your job description shouldn’t just be about the open position and the required skill set. The job description should communicate your brand voice to speak to the right people.
- Considering shared values contribute to employee satisfaction and productivity, focus on it throughout the hiring process.
- Interview shortlisted individuals and take them on a short tour of your business to get a feel of their attitudes and responses.
- Create a Reserve
One thing that makes small businesses go belly up fast is the lack of emergency funds to support operations during tough times.
While nobody likes to think about the hard times, they are part of the business. Eventually, your enterprise will face difficulties that interrupt cash flow, and these are many.
You may go through a period of reduced sales, perhaps due to economic downturns or marketing problems.
Late invoices involving large purchases can also affect cash flow.
Having a reserve to draw from enables your business to maintain operations while you try to solve the cause of cash flow interruptions.
- Open the Channels of Opinions
The last thing you want to be is a stubborn business owner who doesn’t listen to reason.
While the business is yours, and at the end of the day, what you say goes, you won’t always make the right decision. Successful business operators are curious about the best plans, and if their plans aren’t working, they welcome other ideas.
Being someone who can listen to and weigh different opinions, regardless of where they are coming from, places you in a unique position to make strategic decisions.
Make sure you’re approachable so that your employees can freely offer their honest takes.
- Prioritize Tasks
One issue plaguing small businesses is the lack of enough workforce. As a small business owner, you’re probably working alone, or you and your team wear many hats.
That’s where priority comes in. Determine and complete tasks with the most value first. You’re even better off outsourcing low-priority projects if you work alone.
If you have employees, delegate tasks in the order of priority as well as urgency.
Keep in mind that there are urgent tasks that need immediate attention and those with the most business value.
You’ll have to balance how you approach these two categories of work.
Business success lies in the right strategies but also in learning from your mistakes.
There are many lessons to learn throughout your journey as a small business owner. These lessons shape your experience and help you stay the course until you realize your goals.