1. Do what you love
In order to have a successful business you really need to do what you love. If you love what you do you’ll find the energy to get out of bed in the morning and work late at night. You’ll get a lot more personal satisfaction too. Really think about what you love doing and then think laterally about how you can make that idea into a business. If you love baking, you’ll set up a cupcake shop. If you love clothes, you’ll sell them or design them. If you love lazing on the sofa – sell sofas!
2. Decide on your niche
Knowing what your niche is will allow you to build a competitive edge over your competitors. How is what you are doing different to what your competitors are doing? Once you know the answer to this you are well on your way to creating a space in the market place for your business.
The absolute basis of any business is that people buy what you want to sell. That means honing your sales skills. You’re not on The Apprentice now – it isn’t enough to brag and say you are great at HR or marketing or designing. Nope. You have to sell first. Sales = money. Money = longevity!
4. Focus on the customer.
Your business is not about the products or services that you sell, and it isn’t about whether you are luxury and high end business or cheap and cheerful. It doesn’t matter what prices you charge. Your competitors don’t matter. Your business is entirely about your customers. In the words of that master crooner Bryan Adams, ‘Everything I do, I do for you.’ If your customers don’t like your products or don’t like you, they’ll stay away and you’ll go bust. Ensure you are 100% customer focused and friendly and be very clear about opening hours, returns, payment options and how the business works. Know who your customers are and value them!
Your success will come only if you believe in yourself and what you are doing. Don’t get side-tracked and work hard to stay motivated. Put the hours in and be serious about your business and what you’re trying to achieve. Don’t listen to what anyone else says – you should have no time for the doubters and the haters.
6. Project the most positive business image you can.
Always be at your best. When you are starting up the chances are you can’t afford decent transport, office, shop front or even an expensive suit. It doesn’t matter. Be creative, keep yourself clean and tidy, answer the phone professionally, smile and be pleasant at all times. Be creative, attentive and pay attention to detail. You only have one chance to make a first impression!
7. Invest in yourself.
Top entrepreneurs need to keep an eye on the latest buzz. They buy and read business and marketing books, magazines, reports, journals, newsletters, websites and industry publications, because these resources improve their understanding of the business world and what’s going on around them. It helps them to keep their skill levels high. You can also attend any business and marketing seminars run locally and network with other entrepreneurs. Make friends and influence people. Keep investing in your skills and capacity to learn. It’s a long road to success after all.
8. Make plans
Analyse every business decision you have to make from the word go. Even if you don’t need one, writing a business plan is a tremendous aid to focusing the mind on your aims and objectives. Research into your niche and your competitors. Take the time to compile data and look in detail at what you are selling and why anyone would want it. Create an A-Z of your ambitions. Where do you want to be in 1 month? In 6 months? In 1 year? In 3 years? Use you’re a-Z to get where you want to be. It’s your route to entrepreneurial success.
Organization is hugely important when you are trying to run a business. Develop some systems that work for you. This can include filing, keeping a diary (online or offline) and keeping to a routine. What things do you need to do every day? Will you do them first thing or last thing? What things do you need to do weekly? Allocate a day and time to them and stick with it come what may. Create to-do lists every evening of things that need to be addressed or accomplished first thing in the morning. Stick to schedules.
10. Limit the number of hats you wear.
The best piece of advice I was ever given was that I should never try to be jack of all trades and master of none. I can pay a bookkeeper to keep my accounts and therefore free myself up to do the other parts of my business that I am better at. Multitasking is a great skill for an entrepreneur but you should know your limits! Recognise what you are good at and delegate tasks to others where you can. Hire freelancers and pay them by the hour!
What other tips do you have? Let me know here!