The Big Six of Running a Small Business
Are you Ready to Start Running a Small Business?
Expanding your horizon and leaping into your entrepreneurial dreams can be one of the most liberating and difficult things one can do in a lifetime. We are conditioned to believe that stability comes in the form of a traditional career path. College, interview, office job, and a 401(k). However, many of the entrepreneurs holding positions at multinational corporations started out running a small business. Big ideas start in small places. Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Mantel, Disney, Amazon, and Google are invariable major players in the business the world.
Another thing these companies all have in common is they started in a garage. Now, we’re not saying that quitting your job this second and finding a new place to park your car is the best way to start running a small business. The lesson entrepreneurs should take away from icons like Zuckerberg or Larry Page is that rags to riches is possible with the right variables. These variables are not an inherent thing some are blessed to be born with, while others miss out. The derivation of success is a combination of passion, tenacity, and vision.
Opening a startup, buying a franchise, and running a small business take these same three variables. Like any situation in business, without having a systematic method to determine your success, leaves things up to chance. Business isn’t a gamble.
Business is a calculated risk.
Read further to study how adopting tactics and business philosophies can help attain huge personal successes while running a small business.
1. Honing Your Vision
Proverbially, courage is 50 percent fear. Making a courageous decision in business means believing in your ideas and goals but also being savvy enough to know the risks. Believing in your idea is the belief in yourself. An entrepreneur can have what seems like a full-proof business model, to begin running a small business, but fail to execute if they don’t believe wholeheartedly that they can handle the pressure.
Visualize yourself running a small business. What does this look like? Are you running a startup software development firm? Are you working alongside animals in the pet industry?
What makes you happy?
Knowing what to expect can help channel inhibitions into actions. Once you find an industry, market niche, or concept that you are passionate about, this will help you with the initial configuration you need delineate before starting up.
2. Research & Data
Before you can begin running a small business, you need to know the ins-and-outs of the industry you choose. This means homework! Business success is contingent on writing a pristine business plan. The process of writing out a business plan forces you to organize your thoughts and imagine unforeseen possibilities. This will also come in handy if you need to pitch your small business to a loan agency or find a partnership.
Points to Include in a Strong Business Plan:
- Industry Analysis
- Customer Demographics
- Demand & Needs
- Business Model
- Overview of Competition
- Implementation Plan
- Financial Projection
- Financial Needs
Compiling the data and key metrics surrounding your small business is the difference between failure and readiness. Remember, your goals should more than financial profit. Goals should encompass the why of business.
3. Getting Started
Fear is paralyzing. The best way to prevent getting inhibited by fear is doing the research to know what you’re up against. Still, many continue to make excuses on why they shouldn’t get started. “It’s not the right time.” “I’m just too busy.” “I need to think about it more.”
Stop. When you justify fear, you become your own Achilles heel.
Admittedly it is hard to gauge when the right time to open is. Sometimes it’s a gut feeling, other times, seismic shifts in our lives tell us it’s time. Reliance on these situations works but also keep in the mind the timeliness of the market. An advantageous moment in the marketplace might be the best signaling that it’s time to get your operation running. For instance, if your vendors operate seasonally and are running discounts or there is high demand for your service or product, this might be your moment. Running a small business is a constant finger on the pulse to keep overhead low. Lack of cash flow is one of the biggest causes of failure, so look for strategic opportunities to get started or expand.
4. Find the Right Support
Surrounding yourself with the right people from the bottom to the top increases your chances of prevailing in the business world. Finding a mentor, attending conventions & networking, or even buying a franchise are routes to getting the training and support you will need to adequately run a small business.
Visiting your local SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) chapter, a resource partner of the Small Business Administration can help pair you with a mentor. Retired executives have an abundance of rich information to help steer your business. Subscribing to literature—business magazines like Forbes or Entrepreneur can also help you enter the dialogue of your industry. Buying a franchise is one the safest routes. A franchisor will train you and your team with proven methods for success.
Hiring the right people is also vital. Make sure the people you choose to employ are on board with your vision. Equally important, is that they possess the competent skills to be able to perform their job duties and help brainstorm around issues that will inevitably arise.
5. Kneading Out the Issues
Ask anyone running a small business, the notion of smooth sailing is a myth. Problems will arise. When they do, it’s important to be prepared for them and to act decisively. Consider this: you open a retail store in a high visibility area. A year into opening, a major construction project begins blocking access to your new store and cuts off foot traffic. Your sales start to plummet. How do you work around this?
- What about competition?
- Do you have the resources to begin scaling?
- What is securing your products or services?
- What makes your business unique?
- Have you had a successful local marketing campaign?
Many issues are preventable. The key to working around these problems is foreseeing them and having a contingency plan. If you have your pathways mapped out it’s easier to steer around dead ends. Even unpreventable situations can be planned for. If construction begins on the street in the front of your store, this is the best time to get your e-store up and running.
6. Discipline & Accountability
Taking your entrepreneurial vision and transforming that idea into a functioning and profitable business takes discipline. Losing focus or momentum can be another huge inhibition. One of the strongest gym franchises—Anytime Fitness—stayed true to their roots and the outcome was favorable. By focusing on what they were good at, the gym franchise grew hugely. The same is true for Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique. Finding a market niche in a growing industry propelled the pet franchise company forward. Focusing on what works can take a company far.
Discipline works harmoniously with accountability. Make yourself accountable to your team, your customers, but most importantly yourself.
We at Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique wish you the best of luck running your small business! For more information on tips for success click here.
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