So you’re finally getting ready to start your new business. This is such an exciting time! You’re going to be your own boss and provide something of serious value to customers and clients.
Unfortunately, many small businesses fail before they even get off the ground. How can you prevent that from happening to you?
There’s no 100% way to ensure success, but there are a few things you can do to improve your odds. We’re here to talk about them. Read on to learn more.
Do Preliminary Research
Before you go starting a business willy-nilly, you need to make sure that your business actually has a chance at survival.
You won’t be able to perfectly predict success or failure, but you can give yourself a better shot.
So what does that research look like? It depends. There are a few things you need to look into.
First, would your business actually be filling a gap? If not, you don’t have a super high chance of success.
If there are too many businesses doing the exact same thing you’re doing, there’s no reason that customers or clients would come to you instead.
Either you have to pivot or you have to bring something new and unique to the table.
For example, let’s say you want to open an ice cream shop in Athens, Georgia, but the area in which you want to open it already has three of them.
You could hope that your ice cream is just better, you can choose a different area, or you can bring something new to the table (like rolled ice cream or vegan ice cream).
You also want to research your target audience. Who are they? What do they care about? Where (and how) do they spend their time and money?
Don’t wait until your business is already up and running to do this work. You’ll regret it.
Get All Necessary Licenses And Insurance
You might think that getting all of the necessary business licenses and insurance is a money-suck, but this isn’t the case.
Yes, it can be expensive at first, but it’s less expensive than not doing it and getting in trouble later. You’ll seriously pay the price.
Make sure you choose the right licenses and insurance for your area. Using the Athens example again, you’ll want to find a Georgia workers’ comp quote, Georgia small business insurance guidelines, and information about Georgia’s small business-related fees and licenses.
It may benefit you to work with a business lawyer to make sure you have everything you need.
Yes, these things are all expensive, but they’ll save you money in legal fees and potential disaster-related fees. They’re more than worth the upfront cost.
Choose The Right Location
Your location is everything when it comes to your success (provided you run a brick-and-mortar business). It can directly impact your success.
If your business relies on people walking in off the street, make sure you’re somewhere accessible.
Ideally, it will be somewhere that gets good foot traffic. You want people to see your shop, get excited, and waltz right in.
If that’s not possible, look for places with access to public transportation. This way, you’re not only limited to people who can drive.
You should, of course, try to pick a location with good parking accessibility as well, however.
Remember that you also don’t want to be too close to competitors. You likely won’t displace established businesses, so set yourself apart by choosing your own unique location.
Know Your Budget
How much money do you really have to work with? Are you funding your business on your own, or are you relying on investors or lenders? What are your responsibilities to those investors or lenders?
Many new business owners forget all of the ins and outs of budgeting. When you run a business, you aren’t just thinking about how much money is coming in.
You have to consider how you’re going to put money back into the business, pay for essentials, pay employees, and pay yourself. It adds up.
We recommend working with an accountant, at least for your first year.
Set (and Track) SMART Goals
if you’re not setting and tracking goals, you’re not setting yourself up for success. And not any old goals. SMART goals. SMART goals are:
They’re easier to follow than standard goals even if they’re a bit harder to come up with.
Let’s turn a normal goal into a SMART goal. Let’s say your normal goal, as an ice cream shop owner, is to gain more repeat customers this year.
Yes, that’s a valid goal, but it’s pretty vague and difficult to track. Let’s turn it into a SMART goal.
Through the use of a loyalty program and a social media campaign, you want to gain 25% more repeat customers by the third fiscal quarter.
This is far more specific, you’ve given yourself a time limit, and you’ve even established how you plan on doing it.
When all of your goals are SMART goals, you’ll set yourself up for more success.
Treat Your Employees And Customers Well
Your employees and your customers are the backbone of your business. If you’re not treating them well and they’re unhappy, you’ll be set up for failure.
When it comes to employees, don’t try to save a few dollars by underpaying them.
Well-paid employees are happier, more productive, and more willing to stick around long-term. If you want high-quality work, you have to pay for it.
When it comes to customers, listen to what they’re saying. Read and respond to reviews. Ask for feedback. You’ll be shocked at how much of a difference it can make.
Are You Set Up For Success and Profitability?
These tips won’t guarantee your business’s success or profitability, but they are a great place to start.
Keep them in mind when you’re establishing your business so you can put yourself on the right track.
In short, do your research, set goals, and remember the people that really matter to your business. Good luck!