Running a small business can be hugely rewarding.
But it’s rarely the case that the money comes rolling in the moment you open your doors for business.
Success doesn’t happen overnight. And you’ll face challenges along the way.
A successful business is built on a foundation of planning and organization.
Here are 5 things to get you started off on the right foot.
1) Get business funding
US lending standards have gotten stricter. And as every business has different needs, finding the right loan and lender can be confusing and time-consuming.
There are, typically, three main funding options available for small businesses:
Government funding programs – If you don’t qualify for a traditional bank loan or you need additional financial support, there are programs which may be able to get you a government-guaranteed loan.
Bank loan – Some banks, such as J.P. Morgan, Chase and Bank of America, have loans specifically designed for small businesses.
Alternative funding – If your financial track-record isn’t the greatest, you might want to think about finding an alternative lender. Just remember that although their lending policies are more flexible, their interest rates tend to be significantly higher than a bank’s.
2) Improve your customer service skills
Giving your customers excellent service is vital to your business’s growth and success. So identify the ways your product or service meets their needs and build trust by communicating with them in a way they understand.
Be open and honest at all times. And encourage your customers to the same, by leaving feedback or criticism of your services.
3) Market your business
Small business success depends massively on marketing.
Marketing is an umbrella term for promoting your product, or service, to potential customers. It includes advertising, public relations and special offers.
Today’s marketplace is seriously competitive. Used properly, however, marketing will help your business stand out for the crowd.
You may well offer the best products or services in your industry. But without marketing, none of your potential customers will know about it.
If you’ve got limited time and resources, it can be tricky to hit the marketing ground running. But you’ll be on the right track if you can manage these:
- Set up social media profiles and create a presence by writing attention-grabbing posts which’ll engage your potential customers.
- Attend local and industry-relevant networking events and hand out your leaflets and business cards
- Pay for advertorials (advertisements that look like articles) in your local magazines and newspapers and those in your industry, too.
- Network with local news outlets
- Create a website and a blog. Post regular news and business updates.
4) Build business partnerships
Owning and running a small business sometimes feels lonely and stressful. But don’t let those feelings hold you back from success.
Create partnerships with other, like-minded business owners. You’ll soon build up a reliable support network.
The simplest way to start is by going to networking events and charity fundraisers. You could join local business groups, too.
Better still, host your own event and invite others to attend.
5) Insure your business
Setting up and running your own business is risky.
The trick is knowing which risks to take and which to avoid. But there are some you can protect yourself against.
Don’t risk all your hard work by not having the right insurance.
Whatever industry you’re in, insuring yourself and your company is essential. Whether you’ve made a mistake, or not, it means your business is protected from costly claims.
Small business insurance can cover your legal fees and compensation, if you’re liable.
Disclaimer: Before embarking on any business venture, InsuranceBee recommends consulting an expert.