8 Ways to Ensure The Success of Your Small Business

September 22, 2011

by Justine Parsons

A significant percentage of new businesses fail. Expert opinions abound about what a business owner should and shouldn’t do to keep a new business afloat in the perilous waters of the entrepreneurial sea. Here are some tips of ensure you provide the tools to make your business thrive.

Find your niche and become an expert

For small businesses, it is best to find a niche. A small company with limited resources can efficiently serve niche markets. Concentrate your efforts on a fairly narrow market offering. This entails sticking to what you do best, and becoming an expert in that field. Realize that it is not possible to be good at everything. By concentrating on a fairly narrow market niche, you may be able to avoid head-on collision with bigger competitors. If you are a computer retailer selling everything from memory sticks to complete systems you have massive competition from the large chains such as Harvey Norman, Dick Smith and Noel Lemming.  However if you concentrate on supplying and supporting Apple Mac systems to graphic designers in your local area, you can become the best supplier for this segment.

Be small and think big

How can you compete with the bigger players in your field? Small businesses have inherent advantages over big businesses, including flexibility, ability to respond quickly, able to provide a more personalized service. Make sure that your business takes maximum advantage of those areas that represent the strengths of small companies – market your unique point of difference.

First impression counts 

Strive for accuracy and quality the first time around. You often do not have a second chance to make a good first impression.  Treat every customer as if they are your only customer and work to ensure that their experience with you is one they look forward to repeating.

Listen to your customers

Be market driven: listen and react to your customer’s needs. Customers need to feel that they are important to you ­ because they are! When you focus on your customers and gain their trust, they will not only recommend you but they will also remain loyal to you. Remember, personal recommendation and word-of-mouth are the least costly yet most effective marketing strategy for your business.

Good reputation 

Your business hinges on its reputation. It is imperative that you build a good reputation for the quality of your products and support services. Remember that two things guarantee success: high quality goods and superior service. Always aim for quality. If you are a tax consultant, strive to prepare a totally accurate, perfectly done tax returns for your clients.

Constant improvement and innovation

Put systems in place to make sure you are constantly changing with your competition, technology and customer needs.  You risk being left behind by the fast-paced competition if you cling to the “this is how we’ve always done it” kind of thinking.  Today’s environment demands that you need to come up with new solutions ­ fast!

Use change as a springboard to improve your products, procedures or reputation. Innovation should also cover your operations ­ from pricing, promotion, customer service, distribution, etc. Keep your eyes for new ways of doing things, and apply those that can improve the quality of your products and efficiency of your operations.

Plan for success 

Utilise the power of planning. A good plan helps you increase your chances of succeeding and can help you define your business concepts, estimate costs, predict sales and control your risks. It tells you where you are going and how to get there. Going into business without a plan is like driving into a foreign land without a road map.

Work smart

Recognize your weak points and move on to nurture alliances and acquire the skills you need to put your business on the right track. Realise the importance of working smart, knowing that it is not the quantity of work you do, but what you do and how well you do it.  Concentrate on your strengths and look at hiring experts in the fields you need assistance with.  No one is good at everything.

Your Turn: The success of your small business rests on you.  How have you looked ahead and put plans in place to ensure you are there for the long haul?

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