Did you know that there are over 30 million small businesses in the United States? Regardless of what industry you’re in or what your business’s specialty is, odds are someone else is already doing it. And that’s okay.
It’s nearly impossible to come up with a completely new or unheard of product or service. As a small business owner, you will find the most success in sticking to what you know and what you’re passionate about. However, that doesn’t guarantee anything.
In truth, there are no guarantees in the world of business, but there are things you can do to increase your chances of success. Ultimately, it comes down to educating yourself and putting in the effort.
We can’t control how hard you work or how much energy you put into your business. We can, however, provide some valuable information that has helped others thrive before you. Keep reading for the five most important things every small business owner needs to know.
1. Branding Is Everything
When you think of your company’s brand, what comes to mind? Most small business owners immediately think of their business name, logo, products, and services. But your brand is so much more than that:
To develop a strong brand, you first need to establish your niche within the industry. This is the specialty you will embrace to corner a specific portion of the market. For example, a fitness trainer could specialize with young athletes, new mothers, the elderly, or some other niche clientele.
Your Target Market
Establishing your niche is essential for identifying or defining your target market. These are the consumers to whom you will direct all of your advertising and marketing messages. You can customize your marketing campaigns based on what those consumers will respond to.
This also means developing your mission statement or purpose. Why did you start a business? How can you help consumers in a way your competitor cannot?
Finally, creating a strong brand is all about consumer awareness and recognition. When someone sees your company name, logo, or content, they should immediately associate it with your products and services.
Start by designing an amazing, but simple logo. Think hard about the colors you use because they will become a large part of your imagery. Everything you produce, from merchandise to online content, should follow the same design standards.
2. Effective Marketing Is Essential for Generating Leads and Making Sales
Aside from branding, becoming a successful small business owner requires an effective marketing strategy. As a new business owner, you probably don’t have much experience here. We recommend reaching out to digital marketing agencies to help get you started:
First, you’ll need a killer, user-friendly website. Your website should contain a blog full of engaging, informative, and valuable articles. It should also be optimized for mobile devices to makes sure people on smartphones and tablets can easily browse your site.
Additionally, take time to understand search engine optimization. It is the primary means of directing online traffic to your site through keyword searches. Without a high SEO ranking, you can’t expect to have a high number of website visitors.
Finally, look into the various methods of digital marketing to grow your online presence. These include:
- Social media marketing (paid and organic)
- Pay per click marketing
- Search engine marketing
- Email marketing
- Landing page ads
- Content marketing
- And more
Experiment with these marketing techniques to find the best tactic for your business and your target market. Again, you may want to invest in a digital marketing specialist for the best results. Give each tactic a minimum of three months to accurately gauge your ROI (return on investment).
3. A Business Owner is Responsible for All Business Debts, Regardless of Success
As a small business owner, it’s important to understand the gravity of your situation. When taking out a small business loan, accepting investments, and building up your startup funds, recognize that you will be personally responsible for those debts.
If your business starts to go under, you’ll still owe that money to lenders, especially if you have personally secured the loan. However, there are several things to consider when your small business cannot pay its debts. All is not lost.
You can try negotiating with your creditors. Most will be understanding and willing to prolong your due dates, especially during times like these. You can also file for unemployment for small businesses, file bankruptcy, or decide to close the doors entirely.
Follow the link above to learn more about help for small business owners.
4. Tracking Your Cash Flow Is Key to Staying in the Black and Growing Your Small Business
Monitoring their finances is the most important thing small business owners can do to stay out of the red. Every week, you should be recording and tracking your cash flow. These numbers need to be reconciled at the end of each month.
It’s important to know how much money your business is spending and on what. This includes materials, bills, products, manufacturing, employees, etc.
Learn how to use bookkeeping software like QuickBooks or design a spreadsheet on your own. Track your revenue and your expenses so you can see an up-to-date history of your business numbers.
If necessary, consider hiring a CPA or bookkeeper to track your finances for you. This will be huge come tax season. A CPA can also help you pay quarterly taxes, find tax credits and write-offs, and more.
5. Taking Steps to Protect Your Business and Assets Protects Your Future
Finally, like most small business owners, you probably have a lot invested in your company. It may be your only source of income. It is your livelihood.
As such, it needs to be protected. Business owners must find the best insurance for small businesses to make sure their company, assets, and futures are secure.
Insurance can protect you or cover you financially in the event of natural disasters, thefts, fires, vandalism, lawsuits, and more. If you have employees, you’ll also want to invest in workman’s comprehension insurance. Talk to an insurance agent to find out what type of coverage you need for your business.
Are You a Small Business Owner Looking to Thrive in Today’s Business World?
If you’re a small business owner, you have two possible futures. You can join the ranks of those who have gone before you and failed, or you can put everything you have into your business and become wildly successful.
Step one of finding success is educating yourself. Take the advice listed above to strengthen your odds of success. And if you’re looking for more entrepreneurial advice, check out some of our other articles before you go.