Who is more qualify to give tips for small business success? A professor in the business school or a die-hard small business owner digging it out in the trench. I have observed that some of the successful small entrepreneurs who are now celebrities in their industries never attended business school (some were even college drop-outs). Many of them ran uphill against better judgment of business scholars while starting their small business. When they were starting, nobody believed they will succeed, however, against all odds they persevered with the seemingly stupid ideas and gut feelings and succeeded.
I studied business in school, but it has not been of much help in the hostile economic environment I do business in. What has really helped much is listening to successful entrepreneurs who are practicing what they teach. My business mentors who are practicing entrepreneurs have helped me better in my entrepreneurship adventure. One of them jokingly said that the recent global economic crisis is a proof that success in business is not achievable by propounding theories and hypothesis on paper.
It is all about learning how to survive by participation in the business guerrilla war. To help you get properly kitted, here are ten proven tips for small business success.
1. Knowledge is power. Learn as much as you can about the business idea you want to implement. Hey, you don’t go to the battle field to learn how to shoot a rifle! That will be suicidal. Go get yourself a business mentor.
2. Your estimate may be wrong. Accept the fact that starting a business always takes more money and time than you anticipate. That is why you are better off starting now while someone is still paying you salary in your day job. Waiting to invest your gratuity in a small business is not the best idea. Start on part-time basis.
3. Study successful competitors carefully. It is survival of the fittest out there. You need to know as much as you can about your competitors.
4. It is not all about money. If you go into business with the sole objective of making a lot of money, you will simply end up a loser. If you put quality service and customer satisfaction as your goal, money will naturally follow. People will exchange they money for satisfaction, nobody will give you money just because you want it (except you are pointing a gun to their head).
5. Being your own boss doesn’t mean you will do less work. Get prepared to harder and longer than you have ever worked before. Until you establish a system that the business can run with, there is no relaxation. Stop dreaming about a vacation in Hawaii with all expenses paid by your small business. Diligently set the business running with a good system, first. When you have accomplished that, you can then dream of cruising around the world on a 90days vacation.
6. Keep accurate records. Even though your hate Tax and the IRS, in your own interest and for your own safety keep complete and accurate records. This is not just for tax purposes, your banker may require it. Also, it serves as a good reference for your future ventures.
7. Get good and reliable employees. You can’t do it all alone. Even though you are starting from your bedroom, as time goes and your small business grows, you will need to delegate tasks.
8. Right from day one, make friend with a lawyer, an accountant, a banker, and an insurance agent. I know not many people love this professionals because of their high professional fees. Instead of waiting until the day of trouble before inviting them, go and make friend with them before you ever need their service. Friendship won’t cost you money, just time and good behavior. If you have them as friends, you will spend less when you need their services.
9. Mind your own small business! You heard me right. Don’t be a fool that invest his life saving in a small business and then handed it over to an employee who was hired by him. Of course the business took less than six months to run aground. Run your business yourself. never take vacation when you have not establish a system that can run without your physical presence. No one will look after your money, your property, and your business like you will.
10. Remember Abraham Lincoln. You may need to learn how to do it right by first learning how not to do it wrong several times. Get ready for disappointment and frustration as you start your business. There is no successful entrepreneur who did not experience that. Heroes are made by battles, champions are made by challenges. So don’t quit, be persistent and never give up on your dream.
One final word before I stop. Or rather I’ll ask you a question. I think asking a question is a better approach, here it goes.
How much success have you achieved by reading up all the business books you’ve ever read? The truth be told, your answer is nothing. Isn’t it? This post will be of no benefit to you if you don’t start a small business of your own! Remember wisdom is the proper application of acquired knowledge.
A small business of your own will provide you the much needed laboratory for testing and trying out the tips for small business success shared above.