Starting a new business is a worthwhile endeavor that millions of Americans undertake every year. However, even the most well-intentioned entrepreneurs often find out that running a business is harder than they initially thought. Current statistics indicate that even well thought out and planned business ventures fail 90% of the time. With the odds stacked against you, are there any steps you can take to make your business venture more inclined toward long-term success? You’ll be glad to know that there are many tips you can start practicing right now that will make the road a bit easier. Below are eight essential business tips from experts that have already endured those initial times of struggle to continue toward a successful small business.
Eight Essential Business Tips from the Experts
Whether you are looking at starting a local mom and pop shop or running an e-commerce focused business, you will need to start with some basic tools and tips in mind. Thankfully, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel in terms of business basics. You can glean a lot of insight from the past failures and successes of other small business owners who have paved the way before you. The following are eight insights provided by those who have already experienced a great deal of success in starting and running a business.
1. Have a Single Purpose Behind Your Branding
Many small businesses make the mistake of trying to include too many niche groups in their branding and marketing. While it might seem counterproductive to success to exclude certain groups of people, companies with a very narrow and direct branding approach often experience more success. There are various ways to branch out later, but it’s especially important when just getting started to be very specific in your branding. If people don’t know you and your company yet, develop a specific and narrow brand that distinguishes you from similar companies out there. Worry about expanding that into other market sectors later on, once you are more well-known.
2. Learn to Let Go
This isn’t a catchy song from an animated movie, but the principal is vital to business owners everywhere. If you have an employee, business partner, or investor who isn’t lining up with your company’s interests and goals, you will need to sever that relationship. The sooner you cut ties and replace this individual with someone more appropriate for your company, the better it will be. Don’t worry about being nice if the person isn’t working out for the company’s best interests. Continuing to have someone like this affiliated with your business can kill your bottom line over time, resulting in massive losses
3. Don’t Shrink Back from Criticism
Pride kills more business ventures than you might initially realize. While you may have done hours of research and feel that your way is the best, don’t shy away from constructive criticism and feedback. In fact, you do well to seek it out from others. This especially applies to those you may know who already run successful businesses. There are always going to be people who know more than you about specific topics. Seek out their help and expertise. They are almost always glad to give it to those asking.
4. Demand Timely Payment First
Many small business start-ups underestimate how important it can be for clients to pay on time. In an effort to be helpful to those who may seem like they’ve fallen on hard times, business owners may be lax about their payment policies or allow extra wiggle room. Carrying the financial burden of these unpaid clients can break a business more quickly than you might think. It is important to receive prompt payment before a service is rendered or a product is delivered. This is especially true in the beginning stages of a business before profits really begin to increase. If you do creative types of work, don’t start creating the product until the client has paid for it in full.
5. Don’t Let Bargain Hunting Clients Cheapen Your Business
Unfortunately, there will always be clients who ask for deep discounts or expect to be treated in a different manner than the rest of your customer base. While you may have a deep desire to close on every sale and make peace with every possible client, giving deep discounts such as this will only hurt your business. Once you are firmly established, there is nothing wrong with running specials and sales for appreciative customers. Doing this from this outset will only cheapen your product in the eyes of buyers.
6. Differentiate Between Product and Service
The employees you hire will generally either be good at providing stellar customer service or at creating the product. The same person is rarely good at both of these tasks. Therefore, you will have to hire people with this concept in mind and ensure that you have a team of creators and a team of those passionate about providing the type of customer service that ensures long-term repeat business.
7. Set Realistic Rules Regarding Interpersonal Relationships
This is a concept often overlooked by small business owners who are just getting started. While all business owners have some basic policies and procedures, not all of them have rules in place regarding romantic relationships. However, having employees that get romantically involved can sometimes be detrimental to the overall functioning of a business. When these relationships don’t work out, will the individuals quit and need to be replaced? This is something to consider when creating regulations surrounding this topic.
8. Experience is Vital
While it’s true that we all have to start somewhere, you want to employ seasoned pros when your business is on the line. You may want to help an individual out who needs a job even if they don’t have a lot of experience in your field. However, if you’re looking at managerial positions and other positions of authority, go with someone who offers a lot of experience straight out of the gate.
Who is Nathaniel Ru?
Nathaniel Ru is an entrepreneur and devoted businessman. He graduated from Georgetown University in 2007 with a finance degree. Later that same year, he and some colleagues began their own business start-up called Sweetgreen. Sweetgreen is a seasonal kitchen that focuses primarily on food created from locally sourced and sustainably grown ingredients and products.
Later in 2010, Nathaniel Ru and his colleagues created the spin-off to Sweetgreen. Sweetlife is a wildly successful food and music festival that attracts thousands of individuals from all over the globe. Best of all, the event leaves only the tiniest of carbon footprints while providing attendees with amazing food and quality entertainment. Nathanial Ru continues to lend his business expertise to others by providing additional insight into the tips and tricks he has used to help increase his own success.