You may have a great idea for starting or expanding your small business, but you may also be somewhat at a loss about how to turn your idea into action. Don’t despair! You can get your small business off the ground and flying high if you plan well and try a few of these ideas.
Write a Business Plan
If you’re just starting your business, or even if you’ve been in business for a while but haven’t yet done so, you should write up a business plan. You might think this is just busy work, but you’ll be surprised at how much it can help if you give it a try. Start by laying out the purpose of your business, what you want it to accomplish for you and for your customers and for the larger community. Then detail your products or services, budget, marketing strategies, roles and tasks and future plans. Don’t skimp on this document. It’ll provide a foundation for your whole business.
Get the Right Financing
Next, you’re going to have to think about financing. Unless you intend to start or expand your business using your own savings, you will probably have to apply for a small business loan. There are many different options here, everything from a standard SBA loan to a short-term loan to a business line of credit to a business cash advance. Do your research so that you know the terms, requirements and rates of each one. Only then will you be able to determine which option is right for you and your business.
A business needs customers, and that means marketing. Even before you open your business, you should develop your marketing strategies and start putting them into practice. You’ll want to create a website as one of your first tasks. Make sure that it is easy to navigate and secure, especially if you’ll be taking orders or scheduling services online. Add social media pages to the mix next, and keep them updated.
More traditional marketing techniques can also help your business get up and running. Take out ads in your local newspaper, and put up some posters around town. Talk about your business to everyone you meet, and recruit your friends and relatives to do so, too. You want as many people as possible to know about your business and what it has to offer.
Focus on Customer Service
When you do get up and running, focus on your customer service. People appreciate a personal touch, so treat every customer as an important individual and supporter of your company. Answer questions promptly, and provide as much assistance as you can. If problems do arise, solve them quickly, and make sure that your customers are satisfied. Then they’ll keep coming back.
Be Confident in Your Goods and Services
Strive to be confident in your goods and services, too. If you truly believe that you’re offering the best, that will show in every aspect of your business. Test out the products you sell to make sure they function as they should and last well. Drop product lines that are substandard and things that you personally would not use. That way you won’t get caught in the trap of recommending or advertising something you don’t feel confident in.
The same goes for services. Make sure that you and everyone who works for you are providing services of the very best quality. In fact, you should set high standards and expectations and check frequently to make sure they are being met. Ask your customers or clients for feedback, and pay close attention to the messages you receive. Always strive to give service that you’re proud of and that your customers or clients will recommend to others.
Use Technology Wisely
Finally, as you start or expand your business, use technology wisely. You might be somewhat hesitant about this if you don’t consider yourself a computer expert, but don’t let that stop you. You may be surprised at how much time accounting programs, computer networks and sales and scheduling software can save you at least after the initial learning period. Don’t hesitate to hire a computer expert to set things up and train you to use your technology well.
Your small business can take off and fly if you plan well, follow some of these tips and put in the time and effort it takes to succeed.