First off, I don’t have my own business. A great start to this post. I’m a new writer (to the world) and I hope to freelance full time one day, or become a famous author…ahh dreams! So why would I write a blog post about surviving in business? Well, my recent experiences of ‘putting myself out there’ have been up and down. I’ve also witnessed numerous small businesses setting up in my city only to see them close six months later. At the other end of the totem pole I’ve seen many people succeeding, blessed with longevity and profit. I’m not a fan of money (‘yeah right’ I hear you think), nonetheless we need it survive and we all want to be comfortable…right? So I’ve been mulling it over…
The raw ingredients you need to succeed in business are constant drive and determination. Regardless of how many friends and contacts you have, the only person who is whole-heartedly interested in making you money… is you. For every handful of friends who will promote you there is a 100 more who won’t. It is for this reason that you must have a clear vision and not give up when the going gets tough. Starting a business on a whim, without structure, will see you run out of steam and ideas. So, figure out the answers to the big questions. Who is your target market? Who are your competitors? How will you get your product out there? What is your profit margin? How will you fund the start up? These were just off the top of my head so you can imagine how many more questions you need to ask yourself. Ideally, if you are low on funds, it is better to keep your current job whilst trying to kick your self-employment off. If you have sufficient funds, do not put it all in one basket. You should always have something to fall back on in case the business goes down the drain. This may sound negative; however, it is a reality for a lot people.
The rich business people you see today did not become successful after one attempt. You must be relentless in your drive and easily brush off criticism, failure and those people who think you are crazy for even trying. Do not be alarmed, they are the ones that are just scared of you making it. The only voice you should listen to in business is your inner one…because ultimately, everyone will want a slice of your pie… if its successful!
This is a bit of a cliché but ‘consistency is key’, especially in customer service and presence. The public do not like flakes, rude people or companies that do not follow through on promises. It is also easy to be forgotten about if you take a few months off from promoting your business. When you consider social media businesses like Juice Plus, The Opportunity Company or people selling their wears, you will notice it is the people who are consistent who are the most successful. If you feel silly or embarrassed, then you do not believe your own product and you should reconsider your path.
Your attitude plays a big part in your success. No one likes a know it all, a bragger or any sort of haughty behaviour for that matter. Staying humble can be difficult for some, so self-reflection should be carried out regularly. Once you have made it, always have that thought in your head that you haven’t. Remember the struggle you had to go through and what fuelled your drive to get out of it.
Success may only stick for a couple of years, so it is important to always stay one step ahead and be innovative. Do this from the beginning, although you will ask different questions as the business progresses. Can you expand? Can the product be improved or adapted? Is it time for a new product? Is the marketing strategy working? Have you collected and collated customer feedback? Your business should be a constantly moving machine. Think months, even years ahead, to increase the chance of longevity and to ride out any economic downturns.
This may all seem like common sense, even to those like me who don’t have a fully-fledged business. Even so, running a business takes time, energy and stress management. It is easy to get bogged down when you are in the middle of it, so taking a step back going back to basics can only be a good thing!