November 14, 2012
Liz published this at 7:14 am
Setting Up Your Business for Long-Term Success
Start-up business owners learn two things very quickly. First, the idea that launches an entrepreneurship is invaluable. The seed of a business, or the initial idea, provides a source of motivation and initial direction.
However, the second notion often comes as an unpleasant discovery. The grand idea by itself is not enough to sustain long-term growth and success. No matter how great the business idea is, many other factors influence success and determine whether a business will flourish or fail.
The key to being successful in business is learning to make good business decisions. While success cannot be guaranteed, you can start your business with attention to a few important areas and increase your chances of achieving your goals.
Avoid the most common missteps entrepreneurs tend to make by following these suggestions:
Have a Business Plan
A business plan is an opportunity for business owners to understand their market, as it relates to their product or service, and map out their capabilities. Compiling a thorough business plan requires a bit of effort, but as it will serve as a guideline for your financial expectations and keep you on track, it is an essential part of any new business.
The business plan will also help you in the key area of setting realistic goals for when you will achieve profitability. Know how much time, effort and capital it will reasonably take to reach your goal of being profitable. Conservatively scaling your expectations to match reality will keep you on track and save you from disappointment if your hopes of becoming an overnight success are not realized.
Balance Your Capital
Having enough capital to launch your business is crucial, but you will want to avoid the mistake of taking on sizable loans at the outset. Use your business plan to ensure you have enough resources to see you through until you achieve profitability.
Understand Your Market
As a new business owner, you need to understand who your customers are. How large is your market? Who are your competitors? You will need to know what alternatives to your business are already available to consumers or if you are creating a new market. This will help you in your decisions on strategy.
Choose a Go-to Market Strategy
Having a focus on one strategy for your business will enable you to market your business effectively. Without a focus, you are likely to flounder, but attempting to pursue multiple strategies at once will also doom you to failure. Understand your business and choose one as your goal.
In general, there are three go-to market strategies that businesses use. The first is a focus on operational excellence. These businesses emphasize efficiency in their processes to lower their costs and provide consistency to a wide range of customers.
Another strategy is to develop customer intimacy by establishing strong relationships and fostering repeat business through customer care.
Third, businesses can seek an advantage through product innovation. This aspect depends upon the creation of a new and desirable product or service and founding a business where there are little to no existing competitors. This may be the most difficult of the three for a new entrepreneur to achieve.
Build an Effective Team
The path to becoming a successful entrepreneur should not be a lonely journey. Many businesses fail because the owner tried to manage too many decisions and responsibilities that could have been delegated to others. Find good support for your business such as those you can trust with general tasks while you focus on your role as an executive.
Seeking advice will be necessary, and finding a reliable source for information and direction may seem intimidating. However, there are several people who specialize in guidance and helping entrepreneurs maintain their focus. Through their services, you can rest assured that your business will profit from your well-directed efforts.