When you set up any business there are risks, no one is guaranteed success. Even experienced entrepreneurs have put their all into ventures and walked away bankrupt, sometimes it’s just bad luck, an unfortunate trough in the market or a simple mistake which caused the issue. However on the flip side, businesses that started in parents bedrooms, basements and garden sheds have gone on to become some of the most successful in the world- think Apple, Disney, Google and Amazon to name a few. While to really succeed in business it doesn’t hurt to have lady luck on your side, there are actually a number of things that you can do which increase your chances of doing well and help you to minimize failure. If you’re thinking of establishing a new business, here are some of the ways you can ensure you have the best chance of doing well.
Business is highly complex, it’s made up of many different areas and there are a lot of complicated legal issues and other things to consider. It’s not to say you can’t start a business as a total newbie and learn as you go, but of course you’re far more likely to make a fatal error doing this. If you have plans to set up a business and you enjoy the topic you could get an undergraduate degree in a business related topic, or study in your own time and do an online mba. You could even do this in your spare time before quitting your day job, so when the time comes to set up your business you have all the knowledge you need. A course like this will teach you things like how to research new developments, management strategies for your staff, building your brand, marketing and social media and so much more. Having this kind of knowledge is invaluable when it comes to setting up a business yourself. You will also be in contact with tutors who you can ask for advice.
Do Your Market Research
When you have a business idea in mind it can feel like you’re onto something fantastic. However before going ahead, you need to make sure that this is something that people actually want. You need to work out what kind of people will be buying the product, how much they would be willing to pay and how in demand it will be. Just about any business is going to have competitors these days, so you need to know what it is these businesses are doing so you know what to do differently. Collecting research on your market can include conducting interviews, either by telephone or face-to-face and surveys which can be done online or by mail. Questionnaires are also useful, and you can use focus groups which gather a sample of potential clients or customers and getting their direct feedback on your products or services.
Establish a Unique Selling Point
On the topic of doing things differently, one crucial thing to get right is your unique selling point. If for example you will be selling clothes, you will have plenty of competitors all doing the same thing- but if you can offer something slightly different you will generate your own bunch of interested customers. Perhaps you sell very budget items, which will appeal to students, single parents or those on a slightly lower income. Maybe you specialise in luxury or designer items. Perhaps you sell a certain type of clothing, for example sportswear, or ‘alternative’ clothing. Your unique selling point could even be something like your excellent customer service, or fast/ free delivery. Have a think about what it is your business can specifically offer customers, and this is how you will set yourself apart from your more established competition by appealing to a particular group of customers. Your unique selling point is vital to the building of your brand, once you know what kind of people will be buying your products you can work on how best to appeal to them. The best brands don’t just sell products, they sell a lifestyle. In many cases you may even be catering to an emotional need. You need to work out what kind of lifestyle your customers will be wanting to buy into, and tailor your brand message, marketing materials, website, even your logo to suit.
Don’t Underestimate Marketing
You might think your business is the best thing since sliced bread, and might expect to set it up and have people come flocking. After all, you’ve done your market research and know you’re selling a product or service that people want. But of course it’s not as simple as that, as a new business you’re a small fish in a big pond and you absolutely have to get your name out there to reach potential customers. Having a solid knowledge of marketing including things like affiliate marketing, social media marketing, backlink building and more is essential here. If you’re not in the know, outsource your marketing to a company that knows what they’re doing. The last thing you want is to set up a business that would have otherwise been successful, but fails where it simply wasn’t able to generate enough interest
Get The Right Staff on Board
You might have a fantastic business idea, but you won’t be able to run it single handedly. You need excellent employees who are hardworking, dedicated and genuinely interested in the success of the business. Make your company an appealing place to work by offering fair wages and good employee benefits- this could be things like medical, dental, retirement and disability packages. This will attract the best workers and will be best for your business. Once you have interested candidates, you will want to go through a rigorous selection process to ensure you get the very best on board. This could mean doing second or even third interviews and following up on references, plus background checks should be a given. If you get sub par workers and offer minimum wage, chances are they’ll do a minimum wage job and your business will never reach its full potential.
Utilise Business Software
Excellent staff is only one part of the puzzle, you need to ensure they have the right tools at their disposal to do their job correctly. Business software means that manual tasks that would ordinarily take many hours of tedious work to do can be done in a matter of minutes. It means you will likely need to hire less employees, therefore saving yourself money. And the staff you do have can be used to their best potential. Business software can be used for accounting, legal contracts, customer relationship management, HR and more. Have a look at what’s out there and what would work best for your business.
A Good App and Website Are Crucial
Your website and app might seem like a small part of your overall business, but they are very important. In many cases, these will be the first thing that customers see so they are what will make the first impression of your business. Something cheap and amateur looking could lead people to believe that the rest of your business is the same way. Spend money on a professional web designer who can create you something custom and beautiful. An app as well as a website is essential these days too, since more sales are now made on phones and tablets than on laptops and computers. You want something beautiful, responsive and interesting- get people clicking around and wanting to know more about your business. Your website and app will require a fair bit of money putting into them to get them up to scratch, but don’t skimp here. If you’re turning potential customers off at the first hurdle you could be losing out on a serious amount of money.
Sometimes, despite our best efforts things can go wrong. Perhaps you overlooked an area of health and safety or just had some bad luck, and now a member of the public or one of your own employees has taken out a lawsuit against you. Unfortunately it does happen, and so it pays to have a backup in place and that’s insurance. Employee liability insurance and public liability insurance means that if a claim is made against you, you don’t end up out of pocket. The last thing you want is for your business to go bankrupt and an otherwise good thing gets ruined because of something like this. Run some quotes through comparison sites to make sure you’re getting the best deals and prices, be sure to read the small print so you know exactly what you’re covered against.
Keep these points in mind, and you will maximise your chances of success in business and put yourself on the very best foot. While some elements of business can be down to luck and risk, these are all things that you have control over so it’s important to get them right.