When you’re starting up a new small business, you need all the help you can get. Drawing on others’ experiences, strategies, and tips can be the difference in finding fast success or grinding it out for years before reaching your potential.
That’s why we’ve collected these five tips for you — so you don’t have to learn them through trial-and-error. We have a lot of business experience here, both from running our own startup and helping others be successful in theirs. Drawing on that knowledge, here are five tips that will help you find success.
Focus on customer experience.
If you take away nothing else from this post, make sure you remember to focus on customer experience. If your customers have a positive experience with your business, they’ll come back. Not only will they come back, but they’ll tell other people about it, too. And that’s possibly the biggest key to making it as a startup.
How do you provide this experience? Just think about what you would want. Great customer service is a good place to start. Be friendly, smile, respond to emails and calls quickly, provide a great product or service, and make every interaction as easy as possible. For example, taking credit card payments directly from your mobile means customers don’t have to write checks or wait for invoices in the mail. That’s good customer service.
This is one that can’t be overstated. Even the most successful businesspeople in the world have had to deal with failure. Most of them have dealt with a lot of it. If your business isn’t succeeding, don’t give up! Stick with it, persevere, and success will come. It’s not going to happen overnight, but it won’t happen at all if you get discouraged by failures along the way.
To keep yourself motivated and inspired, surround yourself with people who give you confidence, and who are confident in you. You can also draw inspiration from motivational videos, quotes, pictures, and anything else that’s made to keep you moving forward. (Personally, I like these inspirational quotes from YFS Magazine.)
Take advantage of technology.
Efficiency is an important concept in running your own business. You have limited time, limited funds, limited personnel, and a huge amount of things to get done. If you’re not making the most of every minute you spend on your business, you’re not going to be as successful as you hope. That’s why using the right tools is so important.
Take, for example, billing. If you’re creating invoices by hand in Microsoft Word, printing them, and mailing them to your customers, you’re wasting a huge amount of time. Using a web dashboard like the one provided by SmartTrade will let you keep track of your customers, send invoices instantly, follow up with customers who haven’t paid yet, and even take credit and debit card payments over the phone.
These are the sorts of things that let you get more done in less time. That’s not to mention being able to take card payments from your Android phone, iPhone, or iPad, which will also give you a big boost to efficiency. It’s identifying and capitalizing on these opportunities that sets successful startups apart from less-than-stellar ones.
Always be looking to make connections.
Few things are more valuable to businesspeople than connections. Whether they’re connections with potential customers, possible collaborators, desired employees, or anyone else that might help you along in your business journey, you need to be on the look out to connect.
Go to networking events in your city. Visit trade shows around the country. Send emails to potential career mentors or people who you could do a favor for. Keep business cards with you at all times. These are all things that can help you meet people in your field or related fields. Don’t go around looking for people who can do things for you — look instead for people that you can help. That’s how you make good connections.
Take care of yourself.
This is something I’ve mentioned before, but it’s an easy one to forget. If you’re not taking care of yourself, you’re not going to be the best businessperson you can be. If you’re physically ill, mentally exhausted, or not feeling yourself in any other way, you’re not going to be maximally effective, and that can have a big effect on your business.
Running a business takes a lot of time, but properly taking care of yourself means you need to take some occasional time off. Delegate small tasks to others so you don’t feel overwhelmed. Eat well and exercise. Do things you enjoy doing. Read a book or go for a walk. Spending time away from your company might be counterintuitive, but it’s absolutely crucial for maintaining your overall wellbeing . . . which allows you to work more effectively.
Share your best tips!
If you’ve been in the small business world, we’d love to hear your best tips for running a successful startup. And if you’re just getting started, we want to know which strategies you’ve used in your own business, whether they worked or not. The more information we share, the more successful we’ll all be!