Succeeding in business isn’t as simple as opening your doors, turning on your PC and then ‘ta-dah’ the sales start rolling in.
Before you start, it is important to take a step back and plan.
Here are some top tips on how to be successful when starting a business.
First build a Business Plan: Creating even a basic business plan will dramatically increase your chances of success. Your business plan should cover items such as, the specific details of your service or product, pricing, what your customer looks like, existing and potential competition, how you are going to get your product into customers hands and the team/staff you will need in order to pull this off. Remember that a business plan, along with the business will change, Don’t forget to update and review the plan frequently.
To get started, try writing an Executive Summary. This is a one or two page document about you and your new business and its potential.
Create a Forecast: Creating an accurate financial forecast will allow you to plan and raise money. It will also let you know if your business will be financially viable – and even how much it could be worth in the future. Building a financial forecast is a skill you may lack, regardless, it is crucial you get someone with accountancy experience to help you to build a forecast.
Hire Great People: The quality of your people will most likely dictate the quality and success of your company – always spend the extra time, money and effort to attract and hire a strong team.
Cash is King – Watch it Closely: Cash is the lifeblood of any business. Run out of it and you are in serious trouble. You need to form a habit of watching your cash closely and always know how much you are making (or losing). In the early days of your business, knowing when you will expect to break even and start generating cash will greatly help your planning.
Risk and Reward: Understanding and taking calculated risks are essential to help your business grow. You need to ask yourself, ‘What is the downside?’ If you can answer this, you are made aware of worst case scenarios, allowing you to take calculated risks that can reap tremendous rewards.
Know Your Competition: It is important to know, understand and, crucially, learn from your competition. What are they doing that can benefit you? What are they doing better than you? (Good insights for improvement). What are they doing that is not as good as you? (This could be your competitive advantage).
Be Organised: Create a to-do list at the beginning of each day. This will help you to keep focused, keep on top of and complete essential tasks. Check the progress made each day against your business plan – and always ask yourself – “does this activity/task help me achieve my business goals?”
Keep Records: Every successful business keeps detailed records. These will help you to understand your financial standing and see any potential challenges coming your way. Having these indications will allow you to plan and strategise how you can avoid or overcome them.
Creativity: Always look for ways to improve your business and make it stand out from the crowd. Recognise that you don’t need to know everything and be open to new ideas and approaches to your business.
Remain Focussed: These old sayings may help: ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ or ‘good things come to those who wait’. When you start a business, it is not guaranteed that you will make money from day one. It takes time for people to know who you are. Focus on your short term goals and give everything time to develop and come together.
Prepare to Make Sacrifices: Starting a business is hard work and once you open your doors, your work has really only just begun. Be prepared to put the hours in and for personal life sacrifices too. You may not have as much time to spend with friends and family, if you are serious about your business and its success.
Great Service: This is easily forgotten in the pursuit of being successful. If you go to a restaurant where the food is exceptional but the service lets you down – would you go back? The same applies to your business. If your customers receive a great service, they are more likely to return to you and recommend you.
Consistency is Key: You need to consistently complete the tasks necessary for your success day in day out. Creating good habits and processes helping you to make money in the long run.
Running a business is challenging yet incredibly rewarding. In order to succeed, you need to be focussed, have perseverance and remain consistent even in the most challenging of environments.