Some estimates say that half of all new businesses fail in the first five years. That is a depressing statistic if you are a new business owner. It doesn’t have to be, though. With proper planning, you can be one of the businesses that goes against the average and succeeds. Here are some tips that will help you get past the five year mark and not be a statistic.
1) Properly plan your business so that you are not surprised by anything. Spend a lot of time analyzing the competition. Purchase their products or use their services so you know exactly who you are competing against. Find ways you can make your business different than the competition. Decide whether you will try to serve the same customers or if you will try to fill a different need. If this is determined before you open your doors to customers, you will have a better chance of success.
2) Don’t rely on one big customer for most of your business. If one customer is paying your bills and that customer goes out of business, moves or switches to a competitor, your business is likely to fail. Avoid depending on one or a small handful of customers. Instead, market your services effectively so that you always have new customers to sell to. Marketing does not have to be expensive, but it does have to be consistent. Keep your company’s name in front of your target customers and they will eventually want to know what your business is really about.
3) Branding is an important part of a strong business presence. Make sure all aspects of your business represent your brand. Open a business checking account and get personalized checks from a company like www.businesschecks.com. Get a professionally designed logo and a professional website. Your social network presence will help spread your brand’s image. Set up accounts on the popular social network sites and post to them regularly. Your customers are likely on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
You should be there too. Interact with your current and future customers and become a part of their world. Even if they don’t buy from you now, they will think of you when they are ready to buy if they remember your brand.
4) Give customers a way to find you. Even if you have the best product or service, impeccable customer service, or just a great niche, you will not sell a thing if nobody knows you exist. Phone books are not used by many people anymore, so you have to have a website if you want to get new customers. If you want to sell to Generation X and Y customers, a mobile website or an app is imperative. Be sure your mobile site is compatible for Android and iPhone, so all of your customers can use it.
5) Hire a lawyer and accountant before you open your doors. Having these professionals on board from the start of your business makes it easier for them to help you if you have a problem. Your lawyer can help you select the best legal structure for your business and your accountant can set up your record keeping system, making it simple for him to prepare your taxes.
If you do the proper research, hire the right people and build your brand, your business has a great chance for success. Never give up on marketing, even when business is going well, and you will never run out of customers.