Although we are over a month into 2020, this is about the time when most people give up on their resolutions. According to U.S. News & World Report 80% of New Year resolutions fail by February. Are you still on track with your business resolutions? If so, keep it up! Especially those who want to pursue their passion of being a business owner and launch a small business this year. Most entrepreneurs set the bar high with their own performance expectations, and the fear of failing is the main culprit for hesitation. If you’re determined to launch your small business, check out our tips below and learn what you can do to steer your business in the right direction!
Understand your industry
Creating a company or brand in a specific industry requires a lot of behind the scenes work and research. This is especially true if the industry you’re getting into is highly competitive. In that case, you will want to be knowledgeable about every aspect of that field. Become an expert by following these 5 steps.
- Attend conferences, seminars and events.
- Ask questions.
- Subscribe to online publications, journals, and magazines.
- Listen to podcasts.
- Network with other local experts in your industry.
Once you follow these tips and gain more knowledge of your industry, use every platform available such as your website, blog, and social media to provide free tips and expertise. Nowadays, people are searching for trustworthy brands. Once you’ve built that trust, you’ll notice customers are naturally drawn to your business and may even end up providing you with some word of mouth advertising.
Invest in technology
In order for your business to experience growth, you must stay on top of the latest technology advancements. Technology can positively impact a business by improving communication, making processes more efficient and increasing cash flow. However, many small business owners fail to use technology to its fullest potential. Some owners recognize the power of technology but their hesitations stem from both affordability and adaptability.
It’s a known fact that starting out, small business owners will have little to no capital, and for this reason investing in the latest technology isn’t the first item on their to-do list. Purchasing technology isn’t a one-time expense either, the costs add up when it comes to maintaining, training, and implementing it into your business. Yet, not investing in technology can ultimately set your business up for failure and put competitors at an advantage.
Consumers want to have a pleasant and painless experience and will most likely buy from a business that is ahead of the curve. For this reason, investing in new apps, the latest software, and marketing platforms will not only help you save money but enable you to deliver to the right consumers and bring in the extra cash flow. For example, here at Smansha, we provide you with intuitive tools that allow you to easily track your business’ cash flow through daily, weekly and monthly forecasts. We want to ensure that your business thrives and remains safe and sound not only this year but for all the years to come.
2020 is a time to ditch the idea of completing your day-to-day tasks manually and simplify your workload by going the automated route. While embracing new technology sounds intimidating and expensive, it will help you develop a process for any difficulties you’re having as a new business owner. So, familiarize yourself with the technology trends other businesses in your industry are embracing and determine how you can implement them and continue to always be a step ahead.
Open a business bank account
A fundamental business function important to maintaining a healthy financial performance is to open a business banking account. Sure that may sound like a simple task; however, the process is way more extensive. There are crucial aspects you’ll need to take into consideration as a small business owner prior to making any decisions.
One major component, or as we like to call it “The Golden Rule,” is keeping your business finances separate from your personal. Believe it or not, nearly one out of five business owners fail to do this. This is dangerous territory you don’t want to be part of, and if you are, prepare to face legal consequences.
Your next thought may be to open a business account at the bank you currently have. Why not? It’s familiar and convenient. However, your current bank may not offer the services or rates you are in the market for, so it’s important to do your research and explore other banking options.
If you’re in search of a small business banking option, you’ll want to look into online banking, as it can offer that convenience factor you’re searching for. Online banking also offers features to help you manage your business on the go, right from your phone! Some of which include:
- Mobile check deposits
- Simple payments
- Dedicated tax accounts
- Transaction history
- Team access (bookkeeper, accountant etc.)
If you’re in the beginning stages of starting a business, you will want to tackle this step sooner rather than later as this will help you establish a system for your finances. If you’re reading this as a current business owner and thinking it may be too late to hop on the mobile banking train, think again! You too can make the switch and all it takes is a few moments of your time.
Setup a marketing plan
Marketing is the driver in the driver’s seat of your business and a crucial aspect to your success. Sadly, many small business owners view marketing as an unnecessary expense and take matters into their own hands, rather than hiring an expert. While hiring can be an expense, getting into the habit of seeking professional assistance will only help strengthen your business in the long run.
With that said, before you market your product or service you must first develop your marketing strategy. Keep in mind, what may work for another small business may not work for yours, so it’s important to do your homework and perform your own market research. Researching the market your business is in is a way for you to gain insight on your target audience. What do they think? Are there any patterns in their purchasing habits? Where do they live? The best way for you to gather this information is to conduct a survey which you can send out via email to local residents and existing customers. You’ll want to keep factors such as age, gender and geographical location in mind, as these answers will help you cater your products and services to the right audience.
In addition to knowing your target market, it’s also important to understand where your competitive advantage lies. The more you know about your competition, the more likely you are to be one step ahead, which will help you to determine how your business differentiates from theirs. Staying ahead of your competitors in every aspect of your business will keep you on top.
Running a small business requires the need to wear multiple hats. As a small business owner, your business is your pride and joy, so while it’s understandable you want to take on every aspect of the job and spend every waking moment concentrating on your business, it’s just not realistic. Be as it may, there will come a time where you need to put aside your pride and realize you can’t be the expert at every facet of your business. Once you’ve come to this realization, you can begin to enlist the help of others. Whether it’s a financial advisor, business consultant, or another successful business owner, gaining insight and advice from these sources is essential to the success of your business. Ask any successful small business owner what the key to running a business is and we guarantee they will say, “knowing that it’s okay to ask for advice.”
For example, a financial advisor will help your company plan accordingly and keep a sharp eye on your spending and profit. While a business consultant can provide you with professional advice of a particular area such as, human resources, marketing, management and so much more. Accepting advice from an expert will not only benefit your business, but it’s a great way for you to strengthen your knowledge in areas you are not an expert in.
It’s natural to feel great pride and responsibility when it comes to your business, however, you don’t need to feel as though you must take on all aspects of your business alone. Speaking with a professional is important for your business and your sanity!
Implementing these steps ahead of time will set you and your business up for success in 2020. Stay positive, take the leap and don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone. Happy planning!
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