Are there “secrets” to success? Not really. We believe that hard work, skill, a bit of luck and relationships are the key to success for business owners. There are some steps you can take to help enhance your ability to succeed and we have 5 tips for small business success that we want to pass along.
There are many other tips we can give, and will, in future articles, but for now, here are a few to get you started. These tips are ideal for new entrepreneurs or solopreneurs and are ideal as a refresher for long-time business owners.
5 Tips For Small Business Success
Know what you’re getting into. Owning and operating a business is hard work. There is no way around that and there is no easy way out of it. Unless you are flush with cash and can hire a crew to do everything for you, you will put in long hours and sweat equity. Be prepared. Did you know: 50% of all start ups will fail with in five years because the owner didn’t know how much work and how many hours it would take? Shocking, but true.
Have customers before you jump ship into business ownership. Don’t start behind the eight ball where you have to scramble to make money. Start small. You may need to work your business as a side hustle until it’s ready to launch and can potentially support you.
Have money in the bank. Operating a new business on a shoestring is advice we offer, but you do need to pay the rent, put food on the table and handle your other expenses. Until your business makes money you need to have that back up plan to pay your bills. Work to build a cushion of cash before you make the leap.
Work on a shoestring. As mentioned above, you don’t need to rent fancy office space when you’re starting out. Utilize the corner coffee shop or rent a co-working space for meetings. Be frugal and save your money.
Be flexible. In your business plan you need to build in flexibility and be able adapt when necessary. Business ownership is not a straight line trajectory. There are offshoots and misdirections and u-turns; be prepared for these.
What do you wish you’d known when you started your business? We’d love to know.
We’ve heard that computer manufacturers are seeing declines in the sales of computers and that’s been attributed to the power that we hold in our hands in our smartphones. Do you run your business from your smartphone? Many of us check email, make reservations and communicate with clients through their phones. Do you?
Are you using your smartphone with, perhaps, an extermal keyboard that essentially turns the phone into a computer that allows you to work on documents and perform other actions you may have only once done at your computer? If so, you’re not alone.
Do You Run Your Business From Your Smartphone?
With new phones hitting the market that are in the $1,000 range, it’s easy to see why you’d be looking at your phone to perform at a higher level than you may have in the past.
If you’re running your business from your phone, here are some things to keep in mind:
Use apps from reputable companies. You can perform word processing with Microsoft, Apple and Google apps right from your phone.
If you’re using your phone for business, you need to password protect the phone AND your apps and documents.
Invest in insurance and back up your phone. This business device needs to be protected from loss or damage and you need to be able to access your information if the phone is lost, stolen or damaged.
Here are some apps we love:
Receive payments from Square, PayPal Here, Quickbooks and others.
Manage your money with QuickBooks, Excel programs, Wave and Intuit Online.
Keep track of your schedule with a Google Calendar, Acuity Scheduling, Timely.
Track customer relations with apps such as Zoho CRM, Salesforce or Infusionsoft.
Document sharing and storage apps include, Google Drive, Hightail Spaces, Dropbox and others.
This is a very short list of apps you can install to help you run your business from your smartphone.
One thing we do caution — when you run your business from your smartphone you have continual access to your “office” in the palm of your hand. When this occurs you need to be diligent in turning the phone off and stepping away from the “office” so you remember to have a life!
Many entrepreneurs find their personal and their private lives and their relationships suffer when they jump into business ownership. Can you have a business and a life? You can. It’s all about balance and that is hard to master when you’re just starting out — especially if you’re going it alone.
Keep the drama to a minimum. Yes, there will be drama and a roller coaster feel to any start up. Don’t pull your significant other into it, unless it’s necessary. Yes, you want to share. Yes, you want to ask for help, but don’t drag them onto every piece of the roller coast ride that is entrepreneurship unless they’ve asked to accompany you.
Find a dedicated space for your work and your business. If you don’t have space in your home for a dedicated office, you need to at least conduct your business where you’re not on the path of every day life. If your kitchen table is your command center during the day but it’s dinner table and homework central at night, you need to pick up your business and move it to a different location when the next “shift” starts.
Spend time together that has nothing to do with business. Don’t answer the phone. Don’t talk about work. Enjoy each other’s company and keep work at bay.
Be in the moment. Just as you need to spend time together, you also need to be in the moment when you’re with your significant other and friends and family.
Keep business and family finances separate. This is likely an IRS rule as well as a good rule of thumb. Don’t drain the family grocery budget because you need printer ink.
Give yourself a paycheck from the business. You need to feel as though you’re a contributing member of the family and a paycheck will give you faith in your business and to keep moving forward.
Don’t make major purchases or investments without talking to your significant other about it. If you’re committing to a one year lease on an office or buying a majore piece of equipment even though it’s a business expense, it may impact your home life — talk about it.
It is more than possible to be a successful business owner and have a life. How can we help you cultivate a healthy balance?