Running a business can be a stressful experience, regardless of whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been operating for some years. And no matter how hard you try to cover all bases; something inevitably comes along that upsets the apple cart – the recent Covid pandemic being a prime example.
Most businesses have two main goals – the first being profitability and the second being long-term growth and viability. Sadly though, statistics show almost half of new businesses will fail within their first four years.
There are no magic bullets to guarantee success, but here are five important tips to guide you on your business development journey.
1. Market research
No matter what stage your business is at, market research is critical to ensure the product or service you provide is what your potential customers want. There are two aspects to this:
Researching your customers first ensures that your product or service addresses the people you intend to sell to. Where are they located? What is their demographic profile? Are there any typical behaviours that your target audience displays that you need to take into consideration? You can also develop polls on social media, join relevant business groups and talk to people in your own network to find out how receptive they may be to what you offer.
A little desktop research is the easiest thing in the world, so get to know your competitors, follow them on social media, check who else is following them, examine what seems to be working for them and assess their promotions. There’s nothing wrong with emulating the good things about your competition – just don’t be a copycat.
2. Focus on your customers
If your customers aren’t your top priority, your business is doomed. After all, it’s your customers who drive profit into your business and keep it in operation. So naturally, a successful business is one that caters for the needs and wants of its customers.
Always keep in mind that satisfied customers are more likely to become loyal patrons. When you focus on meeting their needs and providing exceptional experiences, they're more likely to keep coming back - and just as importantly, recommend your business to others.
3. Create a marketing strategy
One crucial part of any business is its ability to be seen and heard by its customers. Visibility is an essential component when it comes to driving people towards your business. Fortunately, because of the influence and reach of social media, promotions, marketing, and advertising are now more accessible and more efficient than ever before.
The strategy that works best for you will of course depend on what it is you’re selling and what your budget looks like. If you’re not sure how to get started, talk to someone who provides an initial free consultation and specialises in helping business owners become confident, capable marketers.
4. Deliver valuable products and services
Regardless of how good your marketing is or how well-established your customer retention program may be, a challenge for every small business owner is to have a valuable product or service that your customers want. Technology is changing at lightning speed, and what was important yesterday may not be relevant today – so read widely and keep up to date with changes that may affect your industry. Foster a continuous improvement mindset and always pay close attention to what your competitors are up to.
5. Establish a talented team
As your business grows, it's important to establish a talented team. Consider hiring someone who is inexperienced, and coaching them into your business, or hiring someone who can hit the ground running. Attitude is just as important as aptitude when hiring staff. Make sure your team shares the same values as you and create a welcoming environment so they work because they love to, not because it’s just a job.
And if you need a hand…
Business success doesn’t come quickly, and many companies will experience hurdles and growing pains along the way. At times, cash flow can also be a bit patchy, so if you find yourself in need of a financial helping hand - we're here to help. Take a look at our business loans to $10,000 to find out how quick and easy it is to get your hands on some extra funds. Once a loan is approved, the cash is usually in your bank account within a few hours - so you can overcome those hurdles and keep the company lights on!