All successful businesses that are consistently delivering good financial results started somewhere. What’s their secret? Many of them weren’t always the giant corporations they are today—HP founders conceived their company in a Palo Alto-based one-car garage! Sadly, for every enterprise performing well on the market today, a lot more have failed. While there’s plenty of resources and help for small business owners to leverage and boost their success chances, it’s also vital to watch out for common failure triggers.
According to CBInsights, a start-up may collapse prematurely due to a single reason or combination of challenges such as:
- Inability to survive competition (19%)
- Financial woes (29%)
- Marketing inadequacies (14%)
- Not paying attention to customer needs/preferences (14%)
- Staffing issues (23%)
It’s true that some market forces beyond your control will always be at play and may impact your growth rate. However, you can win half the battle if you competently manage the basics, including risks, marketing, customer relationships, and employees. Whether you are operating from home or just secured your first round of seed capital, you can still make your idea work with proper execution.
Here are 10 tips to help you grow as a business owner:
#1. Know Your Risks and Reduce Them
Risks alone pose a huge threat to start-up success. For example, if somebody copied your invention, breached your customer data, or sued your company for injuries or damage to their property, the financial cost could be detrimental to your growth. However, you can minimize your exposure to financial losses by identifying your business risks and getting an appropriate insurance policy for all.
#2. Manage Your Time (60/20/20 Approach)
As your productive time is limited, consider finding a way to make the most of it. The 60/20/20 approach can help maximize your productivity in the office. It means dedicating 60% of your time to value-adding tasks or activities that only you can do. Spend 20% on resource allocation and scheduling to optimize business operations and commit the remaining 20% to strategy.
#3. Choose Your Employees Wisely
Not putting together the right team is a recipe for business failure. When hiring, you’ll want to look beyond certification and consider dedication to your core mission too. Choose people that are fully behind you for the long haul and competent personnel to whom you can confidently delegate strategic roles. The right team plays a critical role in sustaining business growth.
#4. Invest in Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity is a key success factor for businesses that want to leverage information technology as a competitive advantage. Bad actors will always seek to breach the sensitive transaction data you are handling and cause havoc. You need to stay ahead of them by securing your digital infrastructure. Investing in cybersecurity enables your small business to thrive in a digital economy.
#5. Be Flexible
The ability to seamlessly pivot based on market dynamics is necessary for business survival. It could mean changing your offerings or business model, such as from on-premises products to Software as a Service (SaaS). An agile business survives shifts in industry trends and consumer preferences because it remains relevant.
#6. Stress on CFIMITYM -“Cash Flow Is More Important Than Your Mother”
Cash is what you need to pay your creditors and employees and sustain day-to-day operations. Many businesses have failed after running out of cash. You can maintain healthy cash flows in several ways, such as maximizing accounts receivable collections and avoiding poorly thought-out, rapid expansions.
#7. Make Use of Google!
Google provides a lot of resources to help local businesses expand their online visibility and grow their customer bases. Take advantage of this tool by getting your company on Google My Business. Include a business description and accurate, up-to-date details like your address and contact information in your profile. An active presence on Google can help increase visits to your office or business website.
#8. Network Wisely
Most people visit their social media pages to make friends, socialize or just have fun. To get their attention and turn them into buyers, you should first find a way to address their primary interests. Instead of advertising and selling all the time, offer your audience useful insights that are relevant to your brand. This way, you can organically build a relationship with your followers, many of whom will most likely buy your product when they need it.
#9. Focus on Customer Experience
A poor customer experience can hurt business growth as it drives buyers away to your competitors. Wherever possible, personalize the experience based on unique customer needs and tastes. You can even diversify your products to cater to diverse consumer preferences. Discerning what buyers want and developing high-quality products that solve their concerns can help you build a loyal customer base.
#10. Be Socially Responsible (CSR)
Practicing corporate social responsibility (CSR) brings your brand closer to the community it serves. There are many ways to show that you care, such as by donating to medical research or fundraising to empower vulnerable groups in society. When you’re socially responsible, you endear your brand to customers, which is a critical driver of sustainable growth for small businesses.
Utilize these tips to beat common start-up obstacles. For additional tips to grow your small business, contact the experts at Economic Development Collaborative in Camarillo, California. Our COVID-19 Business Resource Page is devoted to resources on how your company can navigate the tough pandemic-triggered financial difficulties.