We’re not going to wrap this message in cotton wool: growing a successful business is not going to be easy. Your hours will be long. You’ll be answering emails during dinner, and your family will see less of you. And making all of these sacrifices won’t even guarantee success.
You’ll often wonder why you didn’t take that cushy office job.
But we’re going to provide you with a few tips that will at least give you a fighting chance. 50% of businesses are gone within 5 years. Follow the advice below and turn the odds in your favor.
Write a Solid Business Plan
Having a good idea isn’t a business plan. Quickly putting something together off an online template isn’t one either. Unless you want your entrepreneurial journey to fizzle out before it even began, invest adequate time and energy in writing your business plan. Here’s why:
- It’s a roadmap. If you want to get where you’re going, you need a map. It’ll guide you through the decision making process, will set important objectives, and will help keep you focused.
- The process will pose questions you didn’t even know existed. You’ll iron out kinks before they become major problems.
- To show investors. Many businesses will need external investment to get things moving. If your plan isn’t up to scratch, good luck getting a third party involved.
Old School Marketing Works
First off: we believe in the new marketing methods. Publish a snazzy website. You should definitely ensure you’re on top of social media. The bulk of your advertising dollars will probably end up with Google or Facebook.
It’s solid advice. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore tried and tested old school methods. First, your competitors will be underutilizing them. Second, and most importantly, they work.
Let’s take direct mail as just one example. According to the British postal service, 92% of direct mail is opened by recipients. Marketing emails, on the other hand, have opening rates of 15-28%.
Position the Right Support Around You
This one comes straight out of Richard Branson’s blog. The guy is a multi billionaire, so he knows a thing or two about business. His message is this: you need to surround yourself with the right support.
Find a mentor who can show you the ropes. Join local business groups to discuss business practices with others who have spent time in the trenches. Learn from their experience, and ensure you avoid the mistakes they’ve made in the past.
Recruitment is Key
You can’t do this thing alone. You need to find key players to help take your business to the next level. Recruitment is an essential part of the process, and doing it wrong can lead to multiple expensive mistakes.
Don’t hire on a whim or just because someone is your wife’s nephew. Fancy degrees are great, but look for experience more than anything.
And once you find the right person, take reasonable steps to ensure they stick around.
Put Customer Service at #1
It doesn’t matter if your product is the best on the market. If your customer service sucks, no one is going to buy it. The stats back this up. According to one study by NewVoiceMedia, over half of customers will avoid repeat business if customer service isn’t up to scratch.
Make sure you put customer service at the top of your priority list. It needs to be a notch above that of your competitors, and it needs to match the product or service you are selling. If you don’t, both existing and potential customers will know about it and they’ll end up avoiding your business.
Keep a Balance
We already said we won’t beat around the bush. Life as an entrepreneur is going to be difficult. You will be stretched to your limits and your body is going to send you a couple of complaints.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t strike a healthy balance in your life. Ensure you try and get enough sleep. Don’t have Deliveroo on the proverbial speed dial; eat healthily, with enough fruits and vegetables. Spend time with the kids. Go out on a date every once in a while.
Keep a balance while you attempt to grow a successful business and you’ll avoid burning out.