Many people dream of starting their own business and when you consider the freedom it offers – like exploring your passion and setting your working hours – it’s easy to see why. In fact, 2016 was a record year for business startups, with 80 new ventures created per hour in the UK. With that in mind, if you own a small business or are thinking of taking the first step into entrepreneurship, here are 5 things every successful business needs.
Strong Business Plan
Any successful business owner will tell you, you need a strong business plan. A quick search on the internet will reveal free business templates, but if writing pages and pages isn’t your thing, don’t worry. As a minimum, make sure you have a document that contains your business aims, as well as goals and milestones so that you can track progress.
A good marketing strategy is the backbone of any business and could mean the success or failure of your company. But, in order to create a strong marketing plan, you need to consider: your direct and indirect competitors; forms of marketing such as traditional (printed media and TV adverts) to free contemporary methods (social media); and how you will reach your customer base.
Customer Focus and Engagement
When it comes to your business, remember that without your clients or customers, your business wouldn’t exist. When investing in new products or trying to secure sales, it can be easy to forget this and focus on the numbers. But to be successful, your customers need to be at the heart of every decision, from the forms of engagement to the payment methods you use.
Problems with cash flow are the most commonly stated reason for businesses closing their doors. Without cash, you can’t invest in stock, put your marketing plan into practice, pay employees, or invest in equipment. No matter what sort of business you own, make to manage money wisely, keeping a close eye on expenditure and income.
In 2017, it’s hard to deny that technology is king, with Americans spending up to 10 hours a day in front of a screen. As such, your business needs to be technology ready and friendly. This includes making sure your website is compatible for different browsers and devices and also offers payment methods like wireless card terminals and contactless methods. Software can also improve business efficiency, by protecting your ecommerce site and automating administrative tasks.
Starting your own business can change your life for the better, but in order for your venture to be a success, you need be prepared to plan and work hard.