The early days of running your own business represent a unique time in your life. Everything is new and exciting. All opportunities seem shiny and the sky is the limit! Staying focused on your goals and saving for your future will improve your chances at long term success. These simple tips will help you draw the road map for your business.
- Stay focused on your expertise.
Having a firm grip on what you are selling and who you are selling to require both discipline and focus.
If you are a new entrepreneur – you must already be familiar with that feeling of enthusiasm and I-CAN-DO-
ANYTHING attitude. Keep that energy aimed at acquiring and servicing your target clientele. Your
job right now is to create the business and build a following of repeat customers. In other words, the main
road needs to be so well travelled that it develops grooves (customer loyalty). Make it easy for your
customers to stay with you and to refer you to others.
- Build a reputation of reliability!
Your customers count on you. They rely on you deliver on time, every time – no excuses. Make a list of
your client service priorities and review it often. The most frightening story I have ever heard was a
business owner telling me how they were planning to miss the deadline of a long-term client in favour of
preparing a competitive pitch to a prospect. NEVER risk a relationship. It only takes one moment to give
your competition an opportunity that you will regret.
- Price for the long run.
Setting rates and prices is tricky at the best of times. If possible, consult a professional. If not, ensure you
are considering all costs and expenses. This means factoring in a PROFIT in addition to overhead, operating
expenses as well as the cost of delivering goods and/or services to your customers. The list is long and
specific to your business. A few areas you may need to consider:
Repaying debt incurred in starting up (legal fees, personal loans, etc.)
Hiring and training staff
Cost of on-going supplies, software and technology
Marketing and managing your business
Dues, Fees, Professional Development
- Be prepared for a rainy day.
Sometimes clients leave, suppliers go out of business or technology leaves you behind. Your business
needs to be ready for the future. What will you do if that client doesn’t pay or the new supplier doesn’t deliver as promised?
The road to success may require you to manoeuver around unexpected obstacles.
These detours often reveal new opportunities – it can pay to be prepared. By ensuring you set funds
aside, you will be able to meet the needs of planned projects as well as those surprise situations.
- Have fun!
Of course this may seem obvious. And in the early days, it seems silly to even mention it. But the most
successful companies that I work with are run by an owner or owners who truly enjoy their work. Your
positive attitude will be noticed by your customers and they will like working with you. This creates even
greater opportunities for continued success!