So you’re thinking of finally turning your dream idea into a reality and setting up your own small business?
Or you’re already the proud owner of a small business that’s going well but could do with a bit of a revamp?
There are a few basic business principles you need to master before opening your doors.
As a small business owner, you get to experience many highs and lows. You’re a jack of all trades and need to develop new skills and put on a range of different hats depending on what you’re working on every day.
It’s a very rewarding model as you feel overwhelming pride when things are working out as you’ve always dreamed of.
But, as the owner, the buck stops with you. You’re fully accountable for all aspects of the business. This includes the financing, operations, marketing, and day to day management among other jobs. And as if that’s not enough, you’re also often HR which means you’re responsible for looking after and replacing your employees.
It can be tough but also gives you the opportunity to be your own boss, run with your own ideas and be true to who you are.
Think about why you decided to do this in the first place. And remember, there’s only one of you so there’s no other business just like yours. You owe it to yourself to make it your mission to share your business story and make your mark.
Here are 5 things to think about as a small business owner:
- Scope out who your customers are and engage with them
If you’re selling a product or want to grow your community, you need to know who you’re talking to. It’s as simple as that. There’s no point trying to speak to anyone and everyone, you may as well be aimlessly shouting at the world from the top of a mountain. If you want to connect with people, you need to know as much as you possibly can about them so you help provide a service they need, in their own language. Flesh out your ideal customers and think about how you can make their lives easier. What service can you offer that they need?
- Nut out your ‘why’
This is probably the most important thing you need to consider when starting and establishing your business. If you want to convey a point of difference in the market, you need to know why you are doing what you do. Do you want to make a small difference to the world? Do you want to help save lives or do you want to serve the best cup of coffee in your area? Your reason for why can be as monumental or small as it needs to be as long as you and everyone in your business knows what it is and believes in it. Come back to your why whenever you’re having a tough time or having trouble conveying your message. If you do this, it should all become a lot clearer.
- Research your top competitors
As mentioned, your business is different to everyone else’s simply because it’s owned by you. And there’s no one else exactly the same as you. But, it’s the way you use your individuality to position your business and present it in a novel way to your audience that matters.
If you want to do well in your industry, you need to know what you’re up against. A bit of healthy competition is good. The more you understand your strongest competitors, the more you can create an offering that no one else has. Aim to go above and beyond what your biggest competitors’ offer and wow the market with your fresh approach.
- Get your insurance sorted in advance
This is a big one and often something that small business owners forget until it’s too late. Before you get started in the big business world, you need to cover your backside. If you’ve come from working in a big corporate office to owning your own business, you may be completely unaware of everything and everyone you’re now accountable for. And the large variety of people that can sue you.
It’s a good idea to speak to an insurance broker to find out about all the potential risks. This includes those that come from owning a small business and those associated with your specific industry.
This includes getting sued by people both inside and outside your business for plagiarism, professional negligence or for treatment of employees. Professional Indemnity Insurance can help protect you against some of these things and more. Plus, you may want to look into Public Liability Insurance which covers you if people are injured on your premises and damage to other’s property. Another useful product is Product Liability Insurance covering any damage caused to others from your products. There’s a bunch of other packages you should look into too including IT and Cyber Insurance, Employee Journey Insurance and Business Package Insurance.
- Nail your marketing strategy
Now that you know your why, who you’re targeting and what you’re up against; you can get stuck into creating a stellar marketing strategy. It can be daunting trying to work out where to begin. The good news is you’ve already done most of the hard work by identifying the above (why, who, competitor analysis).
All you need to do now is map out your plan for targeting your ideal audience. You can do this by finding out what platforms they read or listen to and targeting these rather than trying to be on every platform possible. There’s no point creating a Twitter campaign for example if your potential customers aren’t on Twitter. Some useful questions to ask when mapping out your strategy include:
- Why would your customers buy your services over others?
- How do you plan to enter the market? Will you have a launch, advertising campaign or take it slow and enter the market with a soft approach?
- How do you plan to attract your customers and why will this work? What makes you stand out from your competitors?
Plus, it’s always good to have clear goals and mission statements so you can work towards something and track your progress. It’s smart to write these down and put them somewhere visible to hold yourself accountable. And as marketing continues to evolve due to our fast paced digital world, you should always be looking for new ways of doing things. Do your best to keep on top of the new trends, apps and tools in the market to help you stay ahead of the curve. Or hire the right marketing gurus to help you.
Now it’s your turn to put these tips into action.
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