New business owners have many decisions on their plate because running a business is never…
Things to Consider When Starting a Small Business
So, you’ve decided that starting a Small Business is the best way for you to pursue your passion and become your own boss.
If you’ve always dreamt about running your own Small Business, you might be ready to quit your job and launch into your entrepreneurial journey. But, running a Small Business comes with its own challenges, so what are the key things you should keep in mind as you get started?
Here’s a fresh look at some timeless advice for starting a Small Business, including insights from some well-known entrepreneurs:
- Make decisions that are aligned with your values.
Focusing on your vision and values keeps your business focused and driven. Define your company’s mission statement, goals, vision, and values and share them with your team as your business grows.
The former CEO of General Electric Jack Welch advises,
“Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.”
Always keep your values in mind and make decisions that align with these values. Whether your values are to stay small and lean and serve a small niche or to take your business global and reach as many customers as possible. Staying faithful to your vision and values keeps your business focused and aligned to your purpose.
- Focus on the solution.
Rather than focusing on what you’re selling, concentrate on what you’re solving for your target customer. It could be much easier to align your business to customer needs and so gain market share if you’re focused on occupying an existing niche.
Steli Efti, the CEO of Close offers up some wise advice,
“Don’t fall in love with your business idea. Instead, fall in love with the problem you’re trying to solve for your customers, and validate your business idea early on that it is a problem worth solving.”
Sir Richard Branson holds a similar view to Efti, saying,
“If you can improve people’s lives, you have a business.”
That’s why it’s important to understand the needs of your customer’s, their pain point, and what your good or service can do for them. If you’re able to do this, then your business will have a higher chance of aligning your brand persona and mission.
- Build a solid team and delegate tasks.
Running a successful business means building the right team and finding the right people for roles. You can do this by using formal human resource planning processes and tools.
Let your team do their work as you work to create a great working environment, engage employees, and motivate staff to achieve the company’s vision. At the same time, make your team members feel valued and remunerate them in the right ways.
- Invest in employees.
Consider how you’re investing in your staff, whether this is through formal training, on-the-job guidance, or providing a career plan designed to upskill them. Build loyalty and morale by showing you care and rewarding employees with bonuses, flexible leave, and other benefits.
Investing in your employees makes them feel valued and could mean reduced staff turnover, which is costly for businesses. You could reward employees with simple things like on-site gym memberships, free snacks and coffee, and company retreats.
Happy employees could mean happier customers. This means that the more you invest in your employees and address their needs, the more likely that you’ll see high productivity and have employees with the skills your business needs.
- Automate processes to free up time.
Small Business entrepreneurs are often time-challenged, so look for ways to make the most of your time and your staff’s time by using automation tools. Not only does this apply to Small Businesses, but large ones too.
For example, Elizabeth Andrews is a large-scale corporate catering service in Melbourne and processes over 1,000 orders per month. The company was faced with the challenge of ‘scaling up’ their Small Business from a paper-based system to catering software that used automation to help with things like rostering, stock control, ordering, and food wastage. Ultimately, this led to an increase in revenue, productivity, and customer satisfaction.
Jonny Sommers, the Founder of Houseace, agrees with this and says that automation gives businesses a competitive edge while speeding things up:
“Through using technology to automate processes, human error is greatly reduced if not eliminated, costs are cut, more projects can be taken on, and the customer receives complete transparency over transactions, costs, and workflow.”
- Outsource what you can.
Resist the urge to do everything yourself. Work with partners like accountants, virtual assistants, and other contractors to outsource non-core activities, so that you can focus on core business activities.
These outsourcing partners let you focus on the priority activities that enhance and grow your business. At the same time, they can offer a more cost-effective solution than in-house staff.
- Collect and process feedback.
Having a system to process customer feedback from the start, will help you to quickly learn from what your customers and early users actually want. Surprisingly, you might end up finding out that what a customer wants could be slightly different from what you’re selling.
If this turns out to be true, your business might need to slightly ‘pivot‘, which means that it would need to either:
- Create a new service.
- Remove an existing service.
- Slightly alter the business model.
This could be in the simple form of a survey (e.g. Survey Monkey, Typeform) or something more technical like measuring client lifetime value (CLV). Either way, it is usually a good idea to develop an internal process that collects feedback, ensuring that your brand stays true to its customers and core vision.
Avoid perfection paralysis, and expect to learn by doing rather than waiting until you have all the information and necessary experience. You’ll likely never have a perfect business plan, the right experience, and all the information you need, so don’t wait for everything to be perfect before you get started. Work on incremental goals and set realistic milestones.
There’s no one perfect formula for starting a Small Business, but these useful insights could help you avoid some unnecessary stress and effort along the way.
Build the right team, invest in your employees, and use the right automation tools, and you could be setting up a great foundation for success.
As the author and speaker, Tara Gentile states,
“The best way to learn is by doing. Stop waiting and bring your ideas to life today.”
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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