Starting your own business is part of the American dream and a way to pursuit financial freedom for many people but it can be scary if you don't know the ingredients for startup and small business success.
On this post I will give you the ingredients for startup and small business success and divide them in major areas of focus from education to marketing and financial tools.
Startup and Small Business Success – Education
The success of any business relies on different aspects, some of them I will mention today, but one of the most important aspects of success is education. I don't mean that you need a college degree or MBA, although for sure these help, but you need to know basic concepts of running a business and you need to work on yourself.
On the subject of education, let's start by what most people forget or overlook its importance:
Personal Growth and Mindset
Starting a business is actually really easy to do and does not have to require a large upfront investment (network marketing is a great example of great business opportunities with low initial investment). But being easy to start doesn't mean it is easy to run or to succeed and therefore investing in personal growth and mindset is the same as to build the foundation of your house.
Personal growth and mindset are the foundation not only of your business but of yourself and when you have a great foundation no matter what the weather throws at you and your business you can always rebuild and start over.
The problem is that many people overlook this point. They forget that the perfect opportunity will fail if it is worked the wrong way and vice versa. I want you to succeed so I will share some insights on personal growth, mindset and overall business education.
Reading books is often overlooked but if you ask any successful person they will tell they read lots of books.
In order to achieve startup and small business success, you have to keep learning and reading is part of it. Read about successful people and learn HOW they became successful. Learn their strategies to deal with stress and failure. Learn their routines and apply the knowledge to yourself and your business.
Not every strategy will apply to you personally, some might feel uncomfortable or impossible to do in your situation and that is the reason I recommend reading books from different people. If you do, you will learn more and you will be able to choose what nest applies to your personal situation. But keep one thing in mind, there are strategies that all successful people use, these you should apply even if you find them strange or uncomfortable.
The purpose of this post is not to go over strategies, otherwise it would be a book, but I will let you choose your reading and enjoy the journey of personal growth yourself.
Here is my Audible list (you can download Audible to your phone, plug it to your car and enjoy listening and learning on your journey):
Follow other people on your business and competitors
Each type of business has its own characteristics and specificities, that means that you need to know about it and manage it.
The best way to keep up is to know what your competition is doing and how it is doing it. If your competitors are successful try to copy them (at least in terms of successful strategies because you want to bring something new to the market place). This part is very important for marketing purposes and will save you a lot of trouble as you have a know base to start with.
The point here is to learn what is acceptable in your niche. Having this knowledge will also help you differentiate yourself and your business from the rest.
Financial and Overall Business Education
Many startups and businesses fail because of lack of financial knowledge. I recommend you learn about accounting and finances to make sure you have control on the bottom line of your business. You don't need to be a guru specially because you can get help or hire people to do it for you. But at the end of the day it is your business and any decision is on you so if you know something about it you will be able to make better decisions and also understand your business better.
Where can you find this information?
You can do an MBA, but that might be too much in your situation or it might be too expensive to do it. The great think about the internet and the information age is that you can find quality courses online.
Robert Kiyosaki is a great source for financial education so I definitely recommend his books Rich Dad Poor Dad and the Cashflow Quadrant.
Startup and Small Business Success – Marketing
Marketing is key in any startup and small business success strategy. It is the way you reach your customers and how you build your reputation and sales. So don't take it lightly.
Here are two gems about marketing; the customer is king and it's all about giving value to the customer.
So can you give value and drive sales?
Have a Blog
Why would you want to have a blog? Check it out here where I explain it better.
In short, a blog is your space on the internet where you give value to your customers and where you can show your products or services. It's a point of contact with your customers and can make or brake your business.
Social media, along with the blog, is another point of contact with your customers. You need a good, professional and clean image and it is a way to spread the word, to share the value you created with your blog to the world.
Don't fear it! There are ways to make it easier by using certain tools to help make your life easier.
Here is an example of how to automate your business on Instagram using OnlyPult
If you don't know how to do something or you don't like doing it, it is best to outsource and focus on what you can excel at.
If you keep doing tasks you hate or are not good at …. you are just negatively affecting your business, so give it to someone else.
It is important that you research the people or company you are outsourcing to, so you don't get a bad surprise. To do this read reviews about the work done and test a couple people to see who gives you the best performance for the cheapest price.
Fiverr is a great place to find quality people that can do some jobs for you. I mentioned the importance of a blog- You might tell me that you hate to write or you don't know how to setup a blog. Well Fiverr is there for you because you can find the people that do those king of things for affordable prices.
Know and communicate with your customers
Seems obvious, but some people forget that their business depends on customers. Keep them happy, engage with them on social media and give them what they want.
A customer might buy from you once and never come back because there was an unanswered question or they made a suggestion about a product of yours but was ignored. Don't make such mistakes. Even if there are negative reactions, address them. You might turn a unhappy customer into a loyal one.
Startup and Small Business Success – Tools
So far I've given you many tips I use in my businesses and insights I've learned from other successful people. I've also shared some tools to make life easier. I hope you take the time to think about these tips and implement them into your business and personal growth.
In this last section of ingredients for startups and small business success I want to share with you tools that I value and use to run my businesses.
Business Model Canvas and Value Proposition Canvas
This is a tool I absolutely love. If you are looking to have startup and small business success, you want to have a clear and concise way to present your business idea to others. These two canvases are very simple to use and they enable any startup and small business to get a better glimpse at their own business and also at how they can present it to potential investors.
I have written a blog post where I present these tools and give additional insights into presenting a business to others in a very short way. Check it out here.
When writing about startup and small business success, I rarely see anyone mentioned daily tools that deal with the business finances. For that reason I mention here this great tool to keep track of your bottom line and your finances.
Generally we think of finances software as something for accountants only and boring but Quickbooks is really different. It lets you keep everything on track and you can access it from wherever you are. Can you imagine going on a site visit and during that visit have the possibility of leaving a quotation? Instead of going back at the end of the day to the office and write all the quotations from the day visits you can give your clients one on the spot. That makes an impression and can make the difference of choosing you or a competitor.
Nonetheless, Quickbooks is so much more so I urge you to check it out here.
There has been one company that brought light into my business in the form of inbound marketing. Hubspot!
I love the concept and since then have applied it to my businesses as a way to keep my clients informed of what goes on and what I can offer. So when I found out that they offer a CRM for free, I was stunned and I believe that startup and small business success will be greatly improved by using a CRM and communicating with your customers.
CRM stands for Customer Relationships Management and this tool will help you keep track of your contacts and at what stage of the sales process they are. You can also track visitors to your site and create pages designed for online sales.
It is a great tool for any business to have and it integrates with many other tools like email management systems (Aweber is one I will mention later). Make sure you visit their site here.
Communicating with your customers is vital for startup and small business success so this is a tool you can do just that and much more. It can be integrated with Hubspot CRM and allows to automate much of your communications to new and old customers.
Aweber keeps track of who opened your emails and who didn't therefore allowing you to access interest and re-address those who did not open your emails.
Find out all you can do here.
Canva – Graphic Design Software
If you love to create your designs and images to share with your customers and followers on social media, canva is the tool for you.
I use this tool on a daily basis to create blog post images, facebook ads, instagram images and much more. And it's free! There is also a premium version for business,
It has become even better now that they launched a mobile version. I definitely recommend using Canva to promote your brand and help you achieve startup and small business success. Find more about it here.
Evernote – Keep Your Notes With You Everywhere You Go
This is another tool I use everyday. A great feature is the fact that you can have access to your notes on multiple devices and save several online articles or pictures and then you can share them with people using email.
You can write notes from customer meetings and share them via email to your team.
You can use it save information you will need later, like blog post ideas, to do lists, post drafts and many more.
Conclusion to Ingredients for Startup and Small Business Success
Having your own startup or small business can be a joyful of painful experience. The tips and tools I shared come from my experience and from my readings and are meant to make your life a little easier and help attain startup and small business success.
My biggest pain point has been mindset and I can easily pin point the times of trouble with doubts and fears that clouded my vision and stopped me from achieving my goals. For this reason I placed great importance on personal growth and mindset.
Whether you think you can, or you think you can't. You are right! – This saying is attributed to Henry Ford and shows that your mindset will determine the outcome of what you do.
You want to learn more about how YOU can succeed in your home business and train YOUR skills click here.
Wish you a great day
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