10 TOP TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS
Why is it that two businesses in the same industry can both differ so differently when it comes to being successful or not? Take two hairdressers. One is booked up weeks in advance whilst the other struggles to fill appointments. Why is this? It can quite simply be down to a few simple rules that can dictate the difference between success and failure. Follow these Top 10 tips to a successful business and make sure your business succeeds
Offer what people want to buy, not just what you want to sell.
Just because you love your product or service, doesn’t mean that your customer will. You may think that blue umbrellas are the best thing since sliced bread so, therefore there is a market to sell them, but others may not agree.
You need to listen to what your customer wants to buy and supply that. Don’t try to force sell them your own personal preferences.
Jumpstart the cash flow into your business
Cash is King and you want to get it coming into your business as quickly as possible. The early months of starting a business can be the most difficult when it comes to income so think of ways to get that cash flowing into the business asap.
Where possible, ask for deposits up front. If that is not possible, ask for cash on delivery to avoid long credit terms and late payers.
Find new ways to keep costs low
So many small businesses start up and overspend on things they really don’t need to. They think they need to go out and buy all the latest gadgetry and office equipment. Try leasing or buying second hand instead. Ask suppliers for a discount for an upfront payment.
Do you really need that swish office premises? Could you not create an office at home. I once saved a company £12,000 by helping him set up a home office in his garden rather than paying a premium rent for an office he used to meet clients only on odd occasions.
Overestimate expenses and underestimate income.
When you are planning your business and preparing your cash flow, after you have done the first draft, go back and double your expenses and half your income. How does it look now? Scary? Well, this may well be nearer to the truth in the early days than everything going to plan and the world being rosy.
Be prepared for the unexpected expenses and for the sales that never come to fruition. If you can prepare for this, you will be far more prepared if this worst-case scenario happens than if you rely on healthy sales and low costs which turn out to be further than the truth than you were expecting.
Focus on marketing and sales
You know all about your product and service and how wonderful it is, but your target market won’t until you make them aware of it. So get out there and tell them. And then ask them for the sale. Until you start getting sales, you are not running a successful business, you are running a hobby.
Too many startup businesses focus on getting all the detail perfect or their brand such as their logo, website, business cards etc when they should just be getting out there and going after the sales. Your perfect business logo can be finished at a later date. After all, when did you make a purchase just because of the perfect colour scheme on a business card? A name and number will do to start with.
Find ways to upsell
When you make a sale, is there a way to upsell to your customer and thereby increase your income? All the big businesses do it. When you go to get a burger and fries at your local drive-through I bet you are asked if you would like a large fries for just a small amount more. When you buy cards at your stationers, do they ask if you would like to buy a book of stamps?
So think how you can upsell to your customers. If you sell a service such as coaching can you charge a little extra for a written summary of your session? If you sell a product, offer an add-on product to enhance the original purchase. Do you make special occasion cakes? Offer a photograph of the cake with a gift card for the recipient to remember the occasion by. Get creative and see what you can come up.
Measure your marketing
In order to know if something is working properly, you have to test and measure it. The same goes for your marketing. Too often small businesses start up and run a marketing campaign and then just keep it running. They don’t actually stop to take time out to see if it is working or not.
Add codes to specific marketing campaigns and ask customers to quote this when getting in contact to receive a free gift. Make sure you look at the online analytics of any social media or web campaign. If you fail to do this, you could just be throwing hard earned money down the drain.
Learning more means earning more
You really can never stop learning. Keep your industry knowledge up to date to stay ahead, or at least in line with the competition. Learn new skills to help you get ahead in your business, whether how to close sales better or how to increase visitors to your website. There is so much learning material out there including the member’s club resources on this site so there really is no excuse not to keep improving your knowledge.
It is also widely acknowledged that all the most successful entrepreneurs spend at least 30 minutes per day listening to or reading motivational and inspirational books and audios. If you want to follow in their footsteps of success, try following this one habit of theirs.
Don’t discount, add value
Too many small businesses fall into the age-old trap of discounting their products or services to try to increase sales. You may make more sales initially but you will decrease your profits and as happened to a business I was called in to help, customers became all too aware of their constant sales and so stopped buying at the retail price altogether to just wait for the next sale to come around.
So rather than offering a discount, find something of a low cost to you but of value to the client that you can add to the sale to encourage customers to spend with you. It could be an extra 10 minutes for a head massage if you are a hairdresser. Or free gift wrapping with a product.
Get a coach
I have said many times in articles, that having an experienced mentor or coach when starting up can have a significant impact on how the business survives in the early months and even years. Having someone that you can use an objective sounding board for ideas and who can look at your business without the emotional ties, can be invaluable.
A professional coach, mentor or advisor should be able to help in the areas in which you are weaker and can help push you when you need it to stop you procrastinating and delaying your business success.
Now you have your Top 10 tips to a successful business, I wish you all the very best in starting up your business. Do come on over to the Facebook group to let me know how you are getting on.