Tuesday, 6 December 2011

How To Make a Success Of a Small Business

Small businesses are in many ways more vulnerable to market fluctuations than the larger players. Sadly, it is the case today that less than 45 per cent of small businesses stay open after four years of operating, and with the current global financial situation these numbers are not likely to improve anytime soon.

Because of this, if you are thinking about establishing a small business yourself you really need to be aware of the best measures to take to give you a fighting chance. There is no reason why you can’t be one of the group who succeeds, but it takes organisation, a strong sense of the realities of the marketplace and a great deal of dedication. Here are some steps you can take to maximise your chances of staying afloat:

Don’t over-extend yourself: From the outset, many small business owners make the fundamental mistake of fondly imagining they can do everything themselves in order to cut their costs as much as possible. All I can say is: don’t! Nobody can be an expert in every area, and there are certain aspects of a business, such as sales or marketing, that need to be run by someone with experience if you are to have any chance in this competitive marketplace.

Get advice: If you really can’t afford to bring in many full-time staff to begin with, you might at least consider bringing in the temporary services of a small business consultant. It may seem like an unnecessary expense, but a consultant specialising in this area can be invaluable for setting new companies on the right path and advising on how to avoid those common early mistakes. They will also help you to set up a realistic and effective business plan – something without which no new company can function. Consider hiring a small business consultant as a necessary start-up cost, or a wise investment in your future.

Know your competition: Before you enter a certain market, take the time to thoroughly research your key competitors. Small, local businesses will often be up against a lot of similar companies in the area so you have to know what products and services they offer so you can find a way to differentiate yourself as a brand to give you the edge. Once you have identified your competition, keep a constant eye on them and be prepared to make changes and update according to the latest trends.

Offers and promotions: Small companies need to keep customers interested with promotions or special offers. You probably won’t have a large advertising budget to begin with so doing this is one way of ensuring your company name is out there. Email marketing, for example, is an effective way of getting special offers out there, or if you are a very small local business it can be something as simple as having an eye-catching billboard outside your shop.

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