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What Does it Take to Start and Run a Business?

Because you cannot get along with your boss and you have some cash in the bank to begin a business does not mean that it is the best thing to do for you. The truth is that owning a business is not for everyone. Not every person is made out to be an entrepreneur. Owning a business requires skill, aptitude and the right temperament.

Before running head-over-heels into your first entrepreneurial venture you should take time to analyze who you are. When you invest your energy, time, and money in a business, you want a good return and therefore need to make sure that you have what it takes. While many entrepreneurs and small business owners make good money, there is no guarantee that you will do also.

Having a business means that you will have to confront your fears and handle a lot of trials. It is not without risks. To find out whether running your own business is for you, start small. If doable start part time. If you start part time you can test the waters and see if you really want to have your own business on the long run.

Owning a small business requires you to have the appropriate skills and personality. If you lack skills in a certain area, then you need to make adjustments and take some courses to beef up on your weak areas. There are many reasons for small business failure. However, if you possess most of the following skills and traits the chances of success will increase significantly:

Are You a Self Starter?

If you are a self-starter you have a better chance of making it. Owning a business can be lonesome because you do not always have people that you can discuss problems with. You need to be able to take initiative to get things going and not rely on others to do it for you. This ability is especially important during the start-up phase.

Good People Skills are Important.

Even though you don’t have to work with your boss or colleagues when you have your own business, you still are dealing with a lot of different people. That requires you to possess good people skills. People you probably deal with are business partners, customers, bankers, employees, contractors, accountants, lawyers, or other vendors in your industry. You need to be able to develop good rapport with a diverse group of people. Reputation is important in life in general, but especially when you are a business owner. Get along with people, and always aim for a win-win solution to business conflicts. That will go a long way in growing the business successfully.

Be a Decision Maker.

How are you when it comes to decision-making? Are you not afraid to make decisions? Your answer should be yes to that question as you can expect to be faced with situations that require you to make decisions quickly, efficiently, and independently. You need to be able to work through tough issues yourself and not be afraid to make decisions. Yes, you will make mistakes, but that is all part of learning.

Be Committed to Hard Work.

Running a business requires a lot of your time. You need to be able physically and emotionally 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Not all the time, but when business requires such a commitment you must to be willing to step up to the plate and be there. If you are a family-oriented person, you will at times have to sacrifice family time. Research studies show that the first few years of the business are the most crucial as the business interferes with personal relationships. Even though your business will require total commitment at times, you must learn to balance personal and business. When things are slower make up for lost time with family and friends.

Set Goals and Objectives.

Do you set goals? If not, take some courses and learn how to plan and set goal and how to work toward them efficiently. You have heard the saying: “Failing to plan means planning to fail.” A poor business plan or one with no plan at all, leads to business failure. Don’t rush into things without a strong and well designed plan.

As an entrepreneur you need to have perseverance and have a lot of patience. Do not fall for all the promotions that promise a quick get rich scheme. During these tough economic times you see more of these than ever, especially in internet marketing and MLM businesses. Do not fall for those slick sales pitches and do not rush too quickly into the next promising business opportunity. Success comes through hard work, commitment and good management. It also will take time. There is no short cut to success no matter what others say.

Small Business Digital Marketing: Using the Internet to Grow Your Business

If you are a small business and you are not yet marketing yourself online then you are really missing out. On the other hand, maybe you’ve tried it but you just haven’t been able to generate the results you’d like? Either way, it’s time to change things and get serious about this opportunity…

The sad truth is that most small businesses aren’t marketing themselves effectively using the internet. This is usually because they lack the expertise to implement their marketing campaigns in the right way, or they believe that it is expensive and thus not something they can afford.

What can you achieve with small business digital marketing?

The reality is that digital marketing is a constantly changing landscape. If you really want to succeed with it and generate great results for your business then you definitely need to know what you are doing. If it is done in the right way however then this type of marketing can enable you to grow your business and reach new customers in a way that has never been possible before.

The digital world creates a wonderful opportunity for small businesses to grow their income, find new clients and better engage existing ones. From advertising through social media to reach new audiences, generating leads through carefully crafted website landing pages, or engaging existing customers through content-filled email newsletters, this tool can generate real tangible results for your company.

Getting started with small business digital marketing

The first thing to get clear on is that you need a definite plan. Diving straight into the field without thinking about what you want to achieve, and how you are going to achieve it, is simply setting yourself up for failure. Failing to plan is probably the number one reason why most small businesses fail with this inception.

It is very important to have a clear and detailed strategy. You should set out specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound marketing objectives and targets, and you should ensure that you think carefully about the digital marketing channels you are going to use to get your message out there.

It is also important to remember that digital marketing isn’t an instant solution. Achieving effective results requires consistent action, on-going testing and regular reviewing of progress.

Getting help with small business digital marketing

As we have already touched upon, digital marketing is a complex field that’s constantly changing. It is therefore crucial to have a good understanding of the subject and know exactly how to plan and implement digital campaigns for maximum results.

Many small business lack in-house expertise and thus choose to seek the help of a digital marketing agency. This is often a smart decision because it brings much-needed expertise to the table. A digital marketing implemented by professionals is much more likely to generate great results than a campaign implemented by someone who is relying in trial and error. In addition, getting external help with small business digital marketing frees the company to concentrate on running their business, without worrying about their digital campaigns.

Big Ideas For Small Business – Leave the Small Thinking Behind

Running a small business doesn’t mean that you have to think “small”. There are some simple ways that you can emulate the way the big corporate guys operate, think “big” and really make a difference to the success of your business. Try adding one of these 7 “big company” ideas into your strategy and start reaping the results!

1 – Big companies have a standardised approach to sales and service. Make sure you’ve put some thought into how your business executes the sales and service “process”. Regardless of who your customers deal with in your business, there should be consistency in the way they are treated, in the way your products or services are delivered and in the after sales follow up. Big businesses have learned the benefits of giving their customers a consistent, positive experience that will keep them coming back for more. Copying this kind of brand-building behaviour will benefit your business no matter how big or small it might be.

2 – Big companies spend time, resources and effort on product development. No matter what you’re selling, you should always be thinking in terms of how your business can add superior value for your customer, not just in terms of flogging a product. Always work to make your product or service extraordinary. If your product or service itself can’t be made more extraordinary, make the way you deliver it more extraordinary. Big or small, making your business stand out from the crowd will attract more loyal customers that are not easily lured away to competitors that offer the “same old, same old”.

3 – Big companies exploit the opportunities provided by eCommerce. Even if you are a sole trader, you can give your business global potential by using the internet and simple eCommerce strategies. This is particularly true if you sell a product that is unique and can’t be found on every street corner. It’s also a great way to scale your business if you offer a service that doesn’t require your personal presence to deliver. Develop a reputation for delivering exceptional value and customers service through eCommerce channels and the new business will literally beat a path to your virtual door. In the short time that I have had my business online, I have gotten business enquiries from New Jersey, California, Indonesia and the UK!

4 – Big companies spend time, resources and effort on staff training and development. In a competitive employment market where it’s tough to find and retain enthusiastic, skilled workers, big business has figured out that training and development of staff is crucial. Unfortunately, many small businesses give very little thought to their human resources. Hiring is done on an almost ad hoc basis and training and development is limited to “on the job” opportunities (also known as the “chuck ‘em in the deep end and see if they can swim method). Make sure you know who your business needs to employ, what skills they need to have and have a clear policy of training and developing your staff along a defined career path. If your employees can’t see where their future lies with your company, they won’t stick around for long. Putting in the effort with training and development can be a key factor in the continued growth and success of your business.

5 – Big companies spend time, resources and effort on brand development. Branding is not just for major corporations! This is a common misconception among small business owners. Branding is about clear, concise communication of your business values. Brand is a simple, consistent message that tells your specific audience who you are and what you’re about. It’s not a mission statement or a company vision statement, but it is about what you do and why you do it. Everything you communicate to your customers and prospects should be consistent with your brand and what I like to call your “school of thought”. Even if you aren’t consciously working on developing your brand, you’re doing it. Now is the time to start strategically and thoughtfully considering what your brand says about your business.

6 – Big companies analyse their customers and track their customers’ satisfaction. The big guys know the importance of knowing their clients. They spend big bucks figuring out who they are, where they’re at and what they want. Part of any business marketing strategy is figuring out who your target market is. If your answer to the question “Who is your target market?” is “Everybody”, then you don’t have a target market. If everything is a target, where do you aim? Start by doing your homework. Even if you don’t have the budget for market analysis, you can find useful information on your own for free that will help you pinpoint who you should be addressing with your marketing messages and the best places to find them. Equipped with this basic knowledge, you can then do something else that will cost you very little, but will help you increase your sales dramatically – LISTEN to what your customer wants and GIVE IT TO THEM! As a small business, you will usually have an advantage over the big guys in terms of your ability to adapt your product or service offering to match exactly what your target customers want. There’s no better way to get satisfied customers that will turn into your raving fans than to find out precisely what they want and then delivering it!

7 – Big companies have a strategic focus on differentiating themselves from their competition. Most major corporations have other major corporations as competitors. It comes with the territory. When you attain a level of success that leads to becoming a recognised “corporate giant”, there’s usually at least one other mob that is going to try to copy you and steal some of your customers. Think Coke and Pepsi, Pizza Hut and Dominos or Ford and Holden. It seems illogical sometimes that the largest companies in the world still get any benefit out of advertising at all. But it’s all about differentiating themselves from the competition. The same strategy can work for you. Concentrating on what makes you different from your competitors and strategically delivering that message through as many channels as possible will cut through the clutter and speak to consumers. Remember, if you can’t articulate what makes your business different from the competition, you can’t expect your clients and prospects to be able to either.

Bottom line is, there are literally hundreds of things you could be doing as a small business owner that will make your company stand out from the competition and put you on the road to becoming one of the “big guys” in your industry. Thinking big is just another way of looking at things, but it is not the exclusive domain of international conglomerates.