Starting a small business requires resiliency, innovation, flexibility, and passion. It’s no easy task but for those who withstand the challenges, it sure is worthwhile to experience your dream become reality. You may have seen the statistics, such as only half of small businesses survive their fifth year, and only about 30% survive their 10th year. There are countless factors as to why these businesses fail. As insightful as it can be to learn why some small businesses didn’t survive, there’s more commonality to take away from those that made it.
Here are some tips for those thinking about starting a small business:
Hire a Knowledgeable Accountant
Of course, you’ll want to keep it affordable, but don’t skimp on an accountant. Do your research to ensure the accountant you choose is well versed in small businesses and the regulations that come with them. A good accountant will save you as much money as possible, which we all know is limited for those who are starting out.
Your accountant should understand your goals and share your vision. Virtual tools can be helpful, but if you’re not an experienced accountant they can do more harm than good, and you could end up overpaying.
This tip should be taken with a grain of salt. You should welcome feedback, but don’t let the feedback alter your vision of your small business. If you begin to stray from your original plans because of the well-intentioned, albeit poor, feedback, or advice from those around you, you may not want to continue on the journey.
Ask for feedback on specifics and speak to a business mentor or networking buddy when it comes to strategic changes. Personal relationships may not provide you the help or perception you need.
Chances are that you’re confident enough in starting a small business because you’re passionate, and probably consider yourself an expert about your product or service. Don’t get complacent. Become a perpetual student in your industry. This will keep you ahead of the trends and in touch with your target audience. Consult an expert if you need a lesson on aspects of your operations. You’re not expected to do everything yourself, but you should have a solid understanding of every department of your business.
Plan for Funding
Have a plan, a backup plan, and a backup to the backup. Money will be tight and unforeseen expenses happen regularly. Considering the start-up costs, such as, legal fees, equipment, licenses, and software add up quickly, you’ll still need money to spare when you’re operational. Bootstrapping for as long as possible may be your best bet. The SBA also offers guidance for small business owners planning for funding.
Failing Isn’t Final
If you’ve tried every angle to keep your business afloat and it just isn’t working, there’s still something to be said about your gained experienced. Maybe this venture wasn’t the right one, but you have the wisdom and know-how to make changes if you decide to keep going. There are many entrepreneurs who failed, sometimes multiple times, before they became successful.
Marketing is Key
Customers will not automatically come to you. You need to develop a plan, even if that initial plan is to simply market yourself by joining networking groups and obtaining referrals. You’ll still want a digital marketing strategy in place for when you grow. Referrals can absolutely help build your business, but there’s no way to avoid digital marketing if you want to be successful.
You’ll never stop marketing; you want to stay in front of your audience and build relationships at every opportunity.
Time Management Will Save You
Your days will be long, there’s no way around that and if you’re choosing to go down this path, you probably enjoy staying busy. Be sure to be accountable for your time. By tracking what you spend time on, you can identify time wasters and ways to maximize your time on certain projects. Sticking to a routine and time blocking will help you stay organized when the unexpected happens, especially for solopreneurs.
Get Going on Starting a Small Business
There’s no way of knowing what lies ahead but if those who have paved the way have taught us anything, it’s no walk in the park but that’s no reason to not go for it. Mentally prepare yourself for the inevitable hardships and keep the reason behind your business in mind when you feel like quitting. If you have a strong ‘why’ behind your business, you’ll have something to fall back on when times get tough.