Just about everybody has had the thought, “I wonder what owning my own business would be like?”. Many people take the plunge and go into business for themselves – so if you’re thinking about doing the same, do yourself a favour and take into account these tips, they may save you a lot of time and heartache.
In order to really do well in your chosen marketplace, you have to be different from other businesses – you have to give people a reason to use you, rather than your competition. And please don’t say that your point of difference is “price” or “service”, everybody and their mum’s dog’s niece says that they have the best service, and competing on price is a battle that you are going to lose every time, unless you have deep pockets and sado-masochistic tendencies. Instead, have a killer guarantee, or a free addon/trial, or an obligation free consultation, or work based on results/value.
As you start doing business, make sure that you document and implement systems that accurately describe the most efficient way to complete a task. This will not only save you some time, but it will greatly help new employees and managers. And if you eventually want to sell your business or go on holiday for a while, having systems in place will allow your business to run without you, or with new management.
OK, maybe not everything, but you should try to measure everything that you can improve. For instance, if you are a blinds shop and you get walkthrough visitors, make sure you ask them how they heard of you, document if they convert into a sale, and what the sale amount is. This way you can determine whether the lead generation method that brought them to your store (be it yellow pages ad, your website, or an ad in a newspaper) is generating a positive ROI. Measurements like this will help to optimise your budget and will result in a more efficient business.
Make sure that you are constantly learning about the industry you are in, even if it’s not within your specialty. That way you can competently advise a customer or a client on who to best see about their problem (and pick up a spotters fee?).
Perhaps the best marketing for a small business owner is a website, provided that it is made properly and it’s marketed efficiently. When choosing a developer, go with a boutique agency or even a freelancer, provided that they come recommended from others. Big web agencies generally have large expenses, which results in expensive websites. Make sure that your web developer knows how to create search engine friendly websites – and ask for examples of well ranked websites that they have made. If you’ve done a bit of reading then you’ll be able to call bull$()!^ if you’re getting feed a line.
If you are a services based business, you are probably torn as to how to charge your clients – should I charge by the hour, or the same as my competitors, or just enough to keep the lights on? The best way to charge is simple: Charge What You Are Worth. This is the formula – how much will your client save or make as a result of your services? What percentage of that figure can you reasonably expect people to pay if you can demonstrate that figure? Charge that.
In a perfect world, it would be an absolute given that a business will deliver exactly as said in the sale pitch – unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. Delivering as promised would already put you well above your competitors, but if you can top that, then you’ll be creating evangelists for your business – people who will proclaim far and wide that you are the best plumber/mechanic/assassin/lawyer in the entire world, and THAT is the best advertising in the world.
Implementing the above will take you a long way towards running a successful business. If you are seriously thinking about starting your own business, consider seeing your perth based business loan broker to get the funds to start. Good luck!