Starting a business and staying in business is tough. For any business to prosper it takes time and perseverance. Here are 5 steps to fast track your business success.
Step One: Design a business that you love. By this, I mean that you should step away from your business for a day or two to consider your lifestyle. What hobbies do you have? What personal goals are important to you? Are you a family oriented person? Do you like to swim, walk, play tennis, socialise or play with the kids? Do you like to read or go camping? Whatever it is that you enjoy on a personal basis must be factored into your business planning. Personal goals are powerful drivers when achieving business success.
Step Two: Establish exactly what your business will do and why. These two simple little words – what and why, will help you to stay focussed. Knowing what your business does and why you are doing it must be addressed before you begin to work out how you will do it. Sadly, most small business owners jump straight from “This is what I will do” to “How I will do it?” By short cutting the process in the early days, you run the risk of having to start all over again in 12 months time.
Step Three: Cultivate a Business Mindset. Think about where you are right now and where you want to be in 5 years time. Then work backwards, set goals which include work/life balance, plan milestones and break the 5 year process into bite size chunks. Once you have done this, get busy. Fill your diary, make appointments, visit potential suppliers, attend networking events and seminars, and call prospective clients. The sooner you do this, the greater your chances of success. Remember to set aside some time to think, some time to exercise
and some time for family. Otherwise, your business can end up as just another job.
Step Four: Have a formal, workable business plan. If you don’t have a business plan, how will you know where you’re going? Are you moving forward or are you going backwards? One thing is for certain. Having no business plan means you’ll have no goals. No goals means that you have nothing you can use to measure your progress. However, it must be understood that a business plan is not supposed to be a fixed document. It is designed to be flexible enough to accommodate change where necessary. For example, if one product fails to sell you may decide to discard it and replace it with a range of new original products.
Step Five: Use low cost marketing strategies that won’t break the bank. OK, so you’ve run a few ads and done some letter box drops. Some worked, some didn’t. But, still not enough business has come in for you to feel comfortable financially. So, what do you do to attract that extra business that you need?
Here are some low cost or no cost strategies that you can employ –
• Attend regular business networking events. This will get you known in the local business community. For many of us this strategy regularly produces a constant stream of quality leads and allows us to collaborate with others in industries similar to ours.
• Advertising on social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter can work well if used correctly and you can target specific markets.
• Free local online advertising sites such as Gumtree and True Local will work for some.
• Ask for testimonials and referrals from happy customers. This is the cheapest and, often, the best way to get new customers.
• Some people have great success by blogging or posting on article sites. Others may publish eBooks to build a mailing list to be recognised as an expert in their industry.
• Professional Barter Exchanges such as Bartercard are another excellent way of making important new contacts and attracting new business that you might not otherwise have been able to reach. These exchanges can be a great way of expanding your market and getting referrals. In some cases, Bartercard has helped to save businesses by enabling them to attract extra business and reduce costs.
If implemented consistently, these Five Steps will assist you to build your business into a strong one while you enjoy a balanced lifestyle. I, personally, use these strategies and they work for me. They could work for you too.
John Kirk is a Small Business Educator, Author and Speaker. Previously he was a Tax Auditor for 8 years and a self-employed Financial Advisor for almost 20 years.
He lives 90 minutes south of Sydney, Australia on the NSW South Coast. John is the primary Business Trainer with Illawarra ITeC, the premier training organisation on the New South Wales south coast. He also acts as a facilitator and mentor to people who are new to business or struggling under the burden of "trying to do it all."
In addition, John conducts independent Small Business Seminars and Workshops focusing on cashflow, sales strategies, business mindset and modern marketing techniques. The emphasis in these presentations is on customer acquisition and retention, social media, networking and referrals. John's belief is that if you engage with your customer and continue to keep them happy, they will never leave.
He maintains a team of experienced and dedicated Virtual Assistants in the Philippines who work on behalf of his personal clients. This enables his clients to reduce costs while freeing up their time for more productive money making activities, such as selling!
You can learn more about John at –
Web - www.SmallBusinessAssistance.com.au
Facebook - www.facebook.com/JohnKirkSBA
Topics: 5 Step Formula Business Mindset Design a business that you love Establish exactly what your business will do and why Fast track your business success Low cost or no cost strategies Small Business Success Workable business plan.