For the fledgling entrepreneur getting a business off to a good start is essential.
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While their enthusiasm and get up and go forms the lifeblood of the business it is the practicalities that make up its backbone. There are ten main aspects the entrepreneur who is just starting out should keep in mind. Having these tips written down and to hand will help keep the newbie businessperson on track.
6. Increase your profits
Learning to master the art of keeping your costs under control will better enable you to generate profit – the key to all successful businesses. Increasing your profit margins is based on a simple formula. Generate more leads, encourage repeat business and increase the price of your product or service. Even a slight increase in price represents major growth in profits when you are selling to a large number of people.
7. Are your strategies working?
This is why it's important to track the success of your promotions. If you have no idea how effective that newspaper advertisement is then you can't make informed decisions about whether to keep including it in the local press. A lot of money gets wasted on advertising and promotions that don't actually work for the business. This is usually because the business owner is ill-informed about the value of it. Ask clients where they heard about you and your company.
8. The learning curve
Falling over is part of the process when children learn to walk. No, although you don't want to do too much of that when you start up in business you do want to appreciate that learning is all part of the business process too. The fact that you are a new entrepreneur means you lack experience, but that's doesn't mean you can't learn and gain knowledge as you go along.
Educate yourself as much as possible. Read stories about other successful entrepreneurs, particularly those who run similar businesses to your own. If you can learn from others mistakes, you will avoid making them yourself. Take advice from those who know and have been there.
9. Are you running a charity or a business?
While offering products or services at a discounted price is a recognized way to boost sales and attract customers, it's not always the right move for the newcomer. By doing so you are setting a precedent, your customers won't be happy when the honeymoon period is over and they are expected to pay full price. Discounts mean that you are sacrificing profit. Something you cannot afford to do as a new business.
Instead of reducing prices try adding more value to your services or wares. Include extras that are low cost but have high appeal. For example, if you run a coffee shop offer loyalty cards that get stamped each time a customer buys from you. You could use a promotion like Free Coffee for You and a Friend, once they have visited your outlet five times. Goodwill extras like these work wonders.
10. Find yourself a mentor
You don't have to employ the services of a business coach but it is highly valuable to seek the opinions of someone objective when you start your business venture. Where you might be blinded by your own enthusiasm for the project, an outsider will be better able to cast a discerning eye over your plans.
The advice of someone detached can be really valuable. Because you are starting out you will naturally be fired up and there's a risk that you might apply sentiment when practicality is what's required. The skin lotion you've devised that is ideal for curing teenage spots might not appeal to your target market if it has a picture of your 98 year old grandmother's face on the bottle. Sentiment might be getting in the way of you making the right decisions about your packaging. No matter that the recipe is based on your grandma's old homeopathic remedy. A good unbiased mentor will be able to point out where you might be going wrong.
See Top Ten Tips for New Entrepreneurs – Part One for the rest of these valuable insights.