7 tips for small business success

Small business success isn't hard if you apply these 7 quick tips

When you make long trips, you tend to create challenges for yourself so it’s more interesting. I used to strive to beat my last best time. Now that I’m doing more driving to different destinations (and am finally starting to mature past the teenager state-of-mind), I’ve found fun in trying to best my mileage.

It’s amazing what a difference this has made. Fuel savings aside, I didn’t realize how much stress driving fast and trying to beat the clock added to my day. That heart-pumping, adrenaline-racing state takes its toll.

Slow drivers, or worse, what I’ve come to know as ‘the Rochester Block’ (two cars going the same slow speed back bumper to front in adjacent lanes) used to drive me crazy. Now, I don’t care.

Instead of checking my watch and mileage count every minute, I’m relaxing, noticing a lot more and enjoying the ride.

I allow a good amount of extra time, so am no longer anxious when unexpected construction pops up or toll lines are long.

There’s a lot about driving that applies to small business success

Steady and patient are great qualities to have when running a successful small business. Keeping a close eye on outflows doesn’t hurt either. The overnight million dollar wonders are few and far between (and usually lying). Speed and dangerous benchmarks (and associated risks) rarely pay the anticipated dividends. Plus, it makes it harder to sleep at night.

If you’re truly committed to making your small business a success, you’ll get there, provided you start with some forethought. If you’re motivated by money alone, you’re better off finding a salaried job. Think get-rich-quick schemes are the ticket? Play the lottery. Your odds will be better.

Quick tips for small business success

Small business success isn't hard if you apply these 7 quick tipsFor those committed to achieving small business success (of course, you have to define what this is for you), there are some things you should consider.

  1. Are you passionate about your business idea? This is critical. If you don’t feel a calling for what you’re doing, it shows. Plus, you won’t have the grit to persevere through the start-up phase and challenging times later.
  2. Is there a market for what you’re offering? Talk to more than your friends and family to determine this (depending on whom you surround yourself with you’ll likely either hear unconditional enthusiasm or doomsday projections – neither is much help).
  3. Do you have a spouse, reserves or alternate streams of income to get you through the first two years? This is a fair estimate for most start-ups on how long it will take to get past survival and into a sustained, reliable revenue state.
  4. Can you find seasoned mentors to help guide you through new territory? You’ll be amazed at how willing most people will be to help you succeed, provided you approach them with intelligent questions and a thoughtful conversation (note well: don’t schedule a meeting with the intent to pitch your wares).
  5. Will you reach out of your comfort zone to connect with people who could serve as centers-of-influence? This doesn’t mean you need to master public speaking, embrace video or be an online butterfly if that’s not what works for you, but it does require committing to a consistent marketing strategy that will probably require some face-time with important connections.
  6. Are you ready to get excited about the possibilities with long-term planning? Seeing where you want to get is critical when creating a plan for success. Filling in some of the details (marketing, financial, strategic, vendor/collaborator ideals) is an important part of choosing the route you’ll take to get there. Even if it’s only three months at a time, that’s OK. Just look forward before you leap.
  7. Do you have the knowledge or are you willing to commit to educating yourself to gain it? Just because you created a website for your friend doesn’t make you a graphic (or web) designer. Liking flowers doesn’t make you a qualified florist. A hobby can be a great idea for a business start, but creating a successful venture often requires deeper study.       

Passion, buyers, cash reserves, mentors, communication, commitment and knowledge are all critical factors in creating small business success. Do you really want this? You can make it so. It’s not that hard, but not as easy as many of the buy-mine crowd claims.

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4 Responses to 7 tips for small business success
  1. No Non-cents Nanna Malika Bourne
    October 5, 2013 | 10:20 pm

    People are surprised when they hear that you need another income t live on for 2 or 3 years. costumers don’t get it that you are not paying yourself a salary and you probably are not rich. #3

    • Nanette Levin
      October 6, 2013 | 1:32 am

      Thanks for stopping in again, and commenting, Malika. What I find sad is when start ups quit right before their efforts are about to turn fruitful. I’ve worked with a lot of small businesses over the (24) years I’ve focused on this segment. Those ease in and put less pressure on themselves (and their business) do better. I’ve created a few businesses myself, too. It seems that right about the two year mark you start getting referrals from people you don’t recall meeting and have more business than you can handle (provided you’ve been consistent and smart with marketing efforts).

  2. Shasheta
    October 6, 2013 | 11:10 pm

    I absolutely agree with you. I’m by myself in the process of building a small business. UBC

    • Nanette Levin
      October 10, 2013 | 8:28 am

      You’re working with an interesting topic, Shasheta. I look forward to reading more on your thoughts and the connections you make.

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