There are three key elements of a successful small business
Stay Focused: When you are starting a small business, no company can be everything to everyone; stay focused. Remember that Google launched as a simple search engine and a four-star Italian restaurant may open its doors serving only pizza. Carve and perfect your niche, and then expand from there
Keep It Simple: Small businesses do not have the time or resources to educate customers through complicated messaging. If you cannot communicate concisely about your product and its usefulness, then simplify. Practice delivering your message to laymen and ask them to repeat back what they understood. Effective messaging should not require heavy explanation.
Communicate Core Values: A pledge to high quality or related standards can fade as businesses become larger and, over time, distracted. Therefore, there is always opportunity for the “little guy” with strong core values and a steadfast commitment to excellence. These core values must be upheld through unparalleled customer service.
What needs to be in place before you open?
Customers: Ideally, customers should already be in place before a business opens its doors. Before taking on impressive titles such as President or Founder, consider being just John or Sally that offers a fantastic product or provides an amazing service. That way, offerings can be tweaked and perfected as needed, without substantial investment.
Months of Reserves: Despite superior products being available in the marketplace, most consumers are creatures of habit. How many times does a new bakery get passed by before people actually walk in for the first time? It’s the same with most businesses. Consumers need time to warm up to newcomers and become familiar with them. However, once they do, they may not be able to live without those delicious blueberry muffins!
Growth Plan: It’s been said that it takes many years to become an overnight success. However, anticipation and preparation are essential for seizing that small window of opportunity. Small businesses should always be anticipating and preparing for success, especially for when – not if – it actually happens.
3 Must Dos in the New Year For Entrepreneurs
Ridiculously Spoil Your Customers: Your earliest customers are the ones that you will have the most storied history with. Go above and beyond to make them happy. They will end up being important advocates for your brand. Having happy customers is the best way to build up your base. If you’re business is still in the startup phase, you may have some extra time on your hands. If you do, put that time to good use by providing additional customer service.
Win Your Biggest Account or Sale: When starting a new business, you have to work at “graduating” to the next level when it comes to sales. Prospects pay more attention to your current customer list then they probably will admit. Once you have proven that you can be successful at a certain level then you are well positioned to pitch the next tier. If you’re not reaching new heights each year then something is not working right.
Take Strides Forward To Reward Your Team: Working at a startup does have a romantic appeal to it. Therefore, startups are able to recruit talent. However, the concessions that startup employees are willing to give up are relatively short-lived. Therefore, unless you want to end up being the captain of a ship without a crew then it’s important to work towards rewarding your team with better compensation and benefits as your business grows.
This guest post is courtesy of Larry Gurreri of Sosemo.