There is a saying about things that are simple but not easy. The idea behind this saying is that just because something is fairly straightforward does not mean that it’s easy to do. Running a business is one example of this. The steps to success are actually fairly simple. You need a decent cash flow, a product or a service that solves people’s problems and a way to reach your customer base. All of this is easier said than done. Digging deeper into some of the hidden complexity can help you avoid mistakes many business owners make.
Having finances that look good on paper isn’t enough. When you are a small business, you often operate on a very thin margin. The issue with this is that if a few invoices go unpaid or you go through a slow period, you could run into problems very quickly. For this reason, you should have some access to funding in case you need it. It’s generally a good idea to get your finances in order before starting a business. This can help ensure that you do have some cash on hand. If you are trying to get rid of credit card debt, you might want to consider taking out a personal loan to help you pay it off since the interest rate will be more favorable than it would be on your card.
Your Product or Service
What are you selling to people? Why are they going to want it? Have you checked with those outside your circle of friends and family to make sure? It’s common to talk about the product or service you offer as solving a problem. Of course, this is not always literal. There are products and services that do this, but people also purchase things because they like the way they look or for other relatively frivolous reason. The real purpose of framing it this way is to get you to think about what you have to offer. If you are going to be selling hand-knit scarves online, what is special about these scarves? Why are people going to want these instead of a scarf they can pick up at any discount place or instead of an expensive designer scarf. Answering this question will help you figure out the marketing strategy that works.
Finding Your Customers
Find your customer base sounds simple enough, but once again, it is not necessarily easy. Customers can make or break your reputation and handling them smartly from the start can prevent you from having to rebuild a failed business down the line. You need to do some legwork before you start your business to make sure you know exactly how to do this. What that legwork looks like will vary based on your idea. For some, it might be focus groups and surveys. For others, it might be online research. You also need to be aware of what the competition is doing. Once you have found your customers, your next challenge is to try to motivate them to remain your customer and to spread the word to others. Social media can be helpful in this regard in some situations. Loyalty programs can also improve retention and provide valuable customer data.