8 Less Common Tips for Small Business Owners
Every advantage matters to a small business owner. Competition will come from all angles* and it will come in all shapes and sizes. Some of them are direct* and others are just competing for the same target market. Others are large multi-national companies who want to secure their foothold in your hometown. Success can come down to knowing a trick or two the competition doesn’t. Here are a few of those tricks and tips:
1. Put Yourself in Their Shoes
There are a lot of systems that can be anti-consumer* even if they weren’t designed that way. Ask anyone who has worked at the same companyfor more than a year. There’s always a rule or three that they don’t understand* but it’s followed because it’s always how it’s been.
Keep that from happening to your small business by constantly putting yourself in the customer’s shoes Ask yourself which rules would actually be limiting rather than empowering. Giving the customer options often works out in your favor. Looking at it from the customer’s viewpoint will also let you spot any loopholesthat can cause problems down the line.
2. Your Team Is as Important as Your Flan
Great strategies and plans are important. They’ll help direct your focus and can be used as checkpoints and milestones to see howyour small business is progressing. However, some entrepreneurs can get stuck on their ideas, thinking that nothing could ruin them. Comers are cut on hiring, resulting in mediocre workers who end up failing to execute the plan properly. Suddenly the threat of closure looms on the horizon.
Great employees are just as important as your plan. They can execute the idea properly and realize its full potential. As an additional bonus, intelligent workers can help you generate new ideas and further refine your strategy.
3 Not All Revenue is Worth it
The quest for more clients is one that can drive small business owners batty, and not just because they’re sometimes hard to get. Bad clients exist, and some of them are so terrible in terms of behavior or demands that it can make the revenue feel like it wasn’t worth it. Generally speaking, you’re right – clients that cause you or your team emotional distress are often best left to other companies. It keeps your customers happy and your life less stressful.
As an added bonus, avoiding difficult clients can help your company’s brand. Your small business’s perceived standards can increase esteem among customers and build your authority as a company of quality.
4. Understand and Define the Company Culture
Companies often take on a life of their own. Observe any company long enough, and patterns will emerge. Whether those patterns are positive or negative depends largely on how top brass handled it. While positive workplaces can come about naturally, it’s best for your small business to not have it left up to chance.
Think about what kind of company you want to be, and design systems and hiring practices that promote those ideals. Hiring negative people, for example, can bog down the idea of having an optimistic and positive work environment. Locks on emergency supplies and a “need-to-know” approach to information can similarly kill the idea of transparency.
5. Listen to Customers
Many small business owners are highly internal. They focus on their ideas and what they think is right for the product, which can take a turn for the worse if that focus isn’t tempered by feedback. While they may understand the product like no other, they’re also not the target market. In some ways, the consumer decides how the product is developed, while the company is left to determine howto actually implement their desires.
Ride can be absolutely lethal when it comes to dealing with consumer feedback, so do what you can to keep it in check. Listen to your customers. They’re the ones with the problem you’re trying to solve. Their opinions count.
6. Plan Ahead for Growth
Getting to a point where scaling is not only possible, but ideal, is the dream for many small businesses Unfortunately, many owners end up not knowing what to do when they reach it. It’s like winning the lottery- everyone’s got big ideas, but most of them aren’t practical. You can’t wing your way through growth and scaling. Your company must be prepared.
Consider what growth means to you. Does it mean expanding to other cities, or simply producing more because your company relies on shipping your items? Almost all companies require scaleble systems, or processes that hold if the numbers grow. It’s never too early to plan for a bright future.
7. Market Size Matters
Investors and venture capitalists – important entities for any small business looking for funding – aren’t as concerned with the product itself as they are with the profit potential. They want to know how much of the market you could potentially get, because that represents how much money they can make by investing in your company. Projections are all well and good, but it’s much better to have a dominant showing when you raise capital.
Keep in mind that size is relative. The more specific your niche, the more control you’ll need over it to convince investors to join you. If you’re casting a wide net, you won’t need to dominate as much because larger waters allow even half-decent companies to succeed.
8. When Possible, Focus on Timing
Many products have failed due to poor timing. Finding the right timing to launch is incredibly difficult. Not only do you have to be ready to handle the rush of customers, but you must be certain that the target market is ready for your offering. What counts as “ready” will vary from audience to audience. Just don’t get stuck waiting for the perfect timing. Look at the numbers – if they favor you, it’s time to strike.
These are far from the only tips you’ll need to succeed, but they can give you a good start. Running a small business is not an easy task, but it’s far from impossible. Keep learning, keep studying, and look for every advantage you can squeeze out of your situation. It can feel dicey at times, but the potential reward is worth it.