According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, just about 50% of new businesses survive for more than five years. Ten years along the line, only about 30% survive. The odds are stacked against small businesses surviving.
So, how do you even the odds? How do you survive when so many other small businesses fail? Read on to find out how you can grow your small business without failure.
1. Have a clear, distinct vision for your business:
A lot of small businesses have no plan or roadmap. A roadmap will ensure that you are taking giant strides to expand your business and make it a highly profitable large-scale enterprise. Set clear goals with milestones for each goal. Ensure that your goals are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely). Do carry everyone along with your goals and work hard to attain them.
2. Use a small business credit card:
Some small businesses fail due to the inability of owners to separate personal finances from business finances. Get a small business credit card to help you with that. These credit cards ensure that you and your employees are reimbursed for business-related expenses. They will help you keep track of company expenses. Weigh your options and take your time in selecting the best small business credit card for your business.
3. Conduct frequent SWOT analysis for your business:
A regular SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis is imperative for growing a small business. You need to identify existing strengths and work on ways of using them to your advantage. You need to find out your weaknesses and work on them. You need to continually discover opportunities and how you can leverage these opportunities. Your threats should never be ignored. Look for ways to stay ahead of your competitors.
4. Use the services of professionals when necessary:
A lot of small business owners make the mistake of trying to handle everything in house. There are times when you will need to outsource or hire the services of professionals. You can’t do everything yourself. You may end up having disastrous results, and you do a lot of damage to your business. Hire accountants and attorneys when needed. Thanks to freelancing platforms like Upwork, you can hire professionals from various countries to help you with various digital services like content creation, website management etc.
5. Manage your cash flow:
Cash flow management is one of the weak points of several small business owners. No matter how skilled you are, cash flow management is an essential aspect for the growth of any small business. Improper cash flow management is one of the most frequent reasons for the demise of small businesses. Keep good records and use accounting software to help you. You may not need to go for expensive software as a small business. You can start with some free, open-source solutions. Have a cash flow forecast that will help you to predict future sales and expenditures. Pay your bills on time and send out your invoices on time.
6. Seek for help when needed:
Get the advice of others when needed. Some small business owners are too shy or afraid to ask for help. Others are proud and don’t value the contribution of other people. You can’t do it all alone and you can’t know it all. No man is an island of knowledge. Large corporations like Microsoft and Google grew because they had consultants to help them when needed. Listen to your employees and let them have a say in how the business is run. Consult with others before taking major decisions. You’ll grow faster this way, and your chances of failure will be reduced.
7. Prepare for the bad times:
Entrepreneurship is difficult. It is more difficult than being a salaried employee and getting a fixed income every month. At the first signs of problems, some small business owners give up on their business and jump ship. There will be times when things will be hard. You need to toughen up and steer the business correctly as the captain of the ship in those times. Apple had been on the brink of bankruptcy at one point in time, and today, they are the first trillion-dollar American company in history. Have a warrior mindset and refuse to give up. Learn from your mistakes and avoid repeating them.
8. Surround yourself with the right employees and people:
A lot of small business owners make the mistake of hiring the wrong set of people. The fact that your business is still growing does not mean that you have to tolerate incompetent people. Fire them if they can’t measure up. If you want to grow your small business, you need to be surrounded by the right set of people. No matter how high your aspirations are and how hard you try, you won’t succeed if you are surrounded by the wrong set of people. Your employees need to care about the success of your business. You all need to be more like a close-knit family than a group of strangers that meet on weekdays.
9. Take a break when needed:
Yes, a small business requires a lot of your personal time and effort. But if you continue to work for long periods of time without taking a break, you will find that you are just running a rat race with no growth. Take time to get fresh ideas and strategize. Take a few days off. Go on a vacation to a different location. A lot of small business owners do not go on vacations under the guise of being busy. They tell themselves that they will make time for a vacation when they have time. But they never have time, and they eventually run out of steam. Give yourself a much-needed break.
10. Be customer-centric:
Customers are the heart and soul of a business. Large businesses can afford to adopt policies that add frustration to their customer experience, but a small business cannot. The loss of one customer means the loss of some potential referrals. Every customer is important. Treat your customers well. Go the extra mile for them. Serve them with a personal touch. Reach out to them periodically and show them that you care about their patronage. Think about your customers first when planning new business strategies. Never stop brainstorming new ways to serve them and reward them for their patronage.
Growing a small business and making it successful is no easy feat. Very few manage to do so. But if you can follow the tips in this article, you can tilt the odds in your favor.