When you go into business, you don’t want to fail; the entire point of starting a business and going through all the difficulties and trials to get there is that you want it to succeed – and you believe that it will. Of course, this will depend on a number of different factors, but there are some pointers that you should absolutely keep in mind if you want your business to be more successful than any of the others in your sector. Here are some of them.
Give Customers What They Want
This sounds as though it should be an easy point to follow; giving a customer what they want is something that all businesses do, isn’t it? That’s not quite accurate. Successful businesses work on this premise and ensure that customers are given what they have come in to buy (although upselling may well occur, but that’s good for profits). Unsuccessful businesses are the ones that try to sell what they think is going to be popular rather than focusing on what is.
Although it can be exciting to find an innovative new product that you’re excited about, if you don’t already have the customer base to sell it to and you’re a startup with no history behind you, then you could find it difficult. It’s far better to sell tried and tested products at a great price with excellent service, and then, when you do have loyal customers, you can bring in some new items to sell them.
Keep Your Costs Low
The lower you can keep your costs as a business, the more profit you will make, and it is your profit that is the most important element of all when it comes to measuring your success. There are many ways that you can cut your outgoings in your business. One is to only buy second-hand items for your office, so your desks, chairs, even your computers, and other office equipment can all be used. That doesn’t mean you have to buy poor quality items, it just means that you need to spend time searching for the good ones. This can save a lot of money and really help when it comes to your cash flow in those first few months.
Another way of keeping costs low is to buy your stock in bulk. Suppliers will be more willing to give a discount if you buy a lot at one time. If you know you can sell it, then buying in bulk will save you money initially, and it will also mean that your profits are higher.
You can even choose to pay your suppliers upfront rather than asking for an invoice and 30 to 60 days (or more) payment time. You’ll have much better leverage if you do this, and you should be able to secure an excellent price.
Being professional at all times is something that you should automatically want to do. It will give you a good reputation and win you much more business. Word of mouth will spread quickly in a positive way, and this is wonderful since it is free advertising for you.
Being professional means different things to different people, but wearing neat, clean clothes (or even a uniform), driving company vehicles well, using the right software to give you the right results, and behaving well at all times are just some of the ways that you can ensure your customers come back to you time and again.
Test And Measure
If you don’t know what’s working (and what isn’t), then you won’t know what to continue and what to stop. It’s important, therefore, to test and measure all aspects of your business so that you can understand what works best for you when it comes to marketing, for example. You can do this yourself, but it is often best to outsource this work, especially when it comes to physical products. A sampling agency can put a campaign together and report its findings, giving you all the information you need to move forward.
If you don’t carry out any kind of testing, then you might be wasting money on a marketing campaign that no one likes, or that no one sees. Alternatively, you might not be spending enough on a campaign that works but needs a greater reach.
The same is true of the items and services you sell. You might think you know what your best-selling product is, but is it really? If it is, how much profit are you really making? All of these things need to be inputted into a spreadsheet so that you can see at one glance how well you are doing.
Never Stop Learning
No matter whether you’ve run dozens of businesses in the past or this is the first one you’ve ever started, you need to accept that there will always be things you need to learn if you want to be successful. No one knows everything about business, and there will always be surprises ahead, but if you have as much knowledge as possible at your fingertips, then you should be able to make it through most, if not all, problems relatively unscathed.
Learning could mean going on training courses to find out more about your sector and the innovations happening within it. These conferences and workshops are essential; don’t assume that you already know everything and you can’t benefit from learning what is going to happen in the future. Just because you do something one way now doesn’t mean that you won’t have to change how you work in the future.
Learning also means doing your own research about how best to work. You might think that your invoicing system is long-winded and difficult. If that is the case, then you can look online or ask experts about better ways to do it. The same is true for every aspect of your business. You can always learn more, and you should always learn more.
Many companies put on sales and discount their products, but if you do that, it will directly impact your profits – you will literally be taking money out of your own pocket. So rather than discounting, add value to the goods you’re selling. That way, the customer feels they are getting a great deal, and you don’t have to lower your prices. There are many ways to add value, such as delivering items more quickly than expected for no extra charge, selling high-quality items, offering excellent customer service, and always being available.
In many parts of life, you have to be patient to get what you want. The same is true here. Even if you start a business, that doesn’t mean you’ll start making money right away. People will get to know you over time, so focus on your short-term goals.
Many small business owners don’t even make a profit for a few years because they have to use their earnings to pay back the money they put into the business. Still, if the business isn’t making money after a long time, it’s important to find out if there are problems with the product or service, if the market still exists, and if there are any other problems that could slow or stop the growth of the business.
Make Sacrifices – Where Necessary
Starting a business takes a lot of hard work, but the work doesn’t end when the doors open. To be successful, you often have to put in more time than you would if you worked for someone else. This could mean spending less time with family and friends.
The saying that business owners don’t get weekends off or vacations might be true for those who are dedicated to making their business work. There’s nothing wrong with working full-time, and some business owners don’t realise how much they have to give up to start and run a business that makes money