The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well, even in our tough economy. New businesses of all types are being started by individuals with a passion and a dream. Starting a new company is the easy part, but running it successfully and making money can be a considerable challenge.
Here are 8 tips for startups that can help smooth your path to ownership and make your dream of a successful business come true. We suggest you make these ideas a part of your business plan and practice them consistently for optimum results:
1. Do your market research –
Probably the #1 most important segment of your new business is your customer. For this reason, you should learn as much as you can about their habits, preferences, demographics etc… The data you compile will help you better communicate your ideas to your customers and advertisers, determine new sales opportunities, identify potential problems, and help formulate successful business strategies. In short, a proper market research will help you increase sales and profits.
2. Choose a memorable name –
Create a name that denotes what you sell but makes it catchy, short, and easy to pronounce.
3. Create a catchy slogan –
Come up with a short description of your business that relates directly to what you do. Slogans that rhyme is very useful because people remember them. Getting people to remember a slogan is what most advertisers are after.
4. Respond promptly to customers –
Quick response to customers’ questions, needs or complaints builds trust and loyalty. Satisfied customers are the most important advertisers for your business, and for this reason, you must do what you can to keep them happy. On average, one dissatisfied customer will tell 10 people about his/her negative experience with your company. To help you react and respond faster, to customers, you can use some of the newer versions of QuickBooks. They have a built-in module which allows for faster and more streamlined access to customer data, enabling you to measurably increase your rate of response.
5. Market your business –
You may have the best product or service, but without letting potential customers know it exists, you will not get far. Create a website that’s creative, easy to use, and displays your product or service. Make it easy for potential customers to contact you. Research various modes of marketing and invest your time and money into those that bring the best return on your investment. You might have to test a few options to get concrete answers.
6. Expand slowly –
When your business is starting to take off it’s easy to let your expenses get out of hand. You might feel that you have to spend more to make more but it’s not always the case. In reality, if your business is starting to increase you don’t have to proportionally increase your expenses. Let your sales build up consistently before you start expanding. Be confident that your need for additional employees or a larger office is going to translate into higher sales and bigger profits. Expanding too fast and too soon can backfire, causing your business to lose money or fail.
7. Maintain a bookkeeping system –
One of the quickest ways to ruin your new business is not to have a bookkeeping system. As a new business owner, you’ll need help organizing paperwork, collecting payments, paying bills, tracking income and expenses, preparing tax payments and much more. You’ll need accurate data to determine if you are selling too low, making money, and correctly paying taxes.
8. Have a plan –
Planning will help you avoid or mitigate unpleasant surprises, reduce risk, and help you achieve your objectives in spite of changes in the market or economic conditions.