Building a small business from the group up is a huge challenge, and many start-ups fail within the first two years. In fact, the majority do. So, how do you ensure that you survive where so many others don’t? Take these seven tips to heart and you might have a fighting chance.
1. Have the investment in place
Don’t start a business without any funding on hand. If you do, you’ll soon find that you run out of your budget, and you’ll end up back in your day job. You need to have enough capital to buy stock or equipment, pay yourself ‘wages’, and keep the rent or bills on any office premises going for at least a year. It’s better if you aim for two years. This is because most businesses don’t start making a profit for a long time.
2. Know your marketing
If you don’t have a marketing strategy, then you are doomed to fail from the very beginning. It’s essential that you get your name out there, and that people know where to find you – and why they would want to. If you can’t do that, then your customers may not expand far beyond your circle of family and friends who want to support you.
3. Keep it casual
Do you really need to hire anyone to work for you? The general rule of thumb is that if you can do something yourself, you should, up until the point where it’s no longer possible. Taking on employees is a huge step, and not to be undertaken lightly. With it comes all kinds of overheads, not limited to just wages – there are pensions, taxes, and insurance to think about as well. When you do start needing help, consider bringing on freelancers on a casual basis first to start you off.
4. Share your assets
If you aren’t using all of your assets fully yet, consider extra ways in which they could work for you. For example, if you have a lot of room in your office because you haven’t got the budget to hire staff yet, then you could rent out the extra room to another company. You could also rent out your parking space or driveway, or even rent out spare room in your own home and property to help add some more income to the business.
5. Don’t go too fast
It’s tempting to jump into every opportunity that you see. Before you know it, you’re offering 200 different products, you have your own app to monitor, you’ve got sales accounts on every online auction site out there, and you’ve got no idea how to manage it all by yourself. Getting in too deep, too fast can leave you overwhelmed, and you won’t be able to continue. Keep it simple to begin with, and consider every expansion carefully.
6. Be mobile-friendly
If you have a web presence, and you absolutely should, then you need to make sure that you make it as accessible as possible. As most web users are now on smartphones and other mobile devices, you need to ensure that your website is mobile-friendly. If it isn’t, or it behaves or looks oddly when viewed on mobile, you could easily lose a lot of business.
7. Hang in there
You’ll be doing late nights, weekends, making mistakes, getting angry customers, reading bad reviews, and wondering why you got yourself into all of this. But hang in there. It gets easier – but only if you get through the hard bit first.
Keep these tips in mind and you’ll do fine. Surviving is about getting all the elements right – and handling the stress!
Author Bio: Sarah Kearns is a hard working mother of three daughters. She is a part of the team behind Parkhound – a place where you can find cheap parking spots. She loves cooking, reading history books and writing about green living.