The American Dream is all about owning and running your own business. The majority of the jobs in this country are produced by small business owners that are either self-employed or running a company with the help of a small group of employees.
There are far more business failures than success stories when it comes to forging out on your own. However, that should never be a deterrent if you have a solid plan and follow the proper steps to getting any small business off the ground.
It All Starts With a Plan
It is hard to drive to a new destination without GPS or a map. It is next to impossible to start a new business without a comprehensive plan. At the top of the list is the product or service you plan to sell. A close second is uncovering a viable customer base to buy that product or service. helloyes
If you are planning to be the fourth pizza shop in a town with a very small population, you are probably trying to enter a saturated market. If you are going to be the only person cutting hair in that same town, you should already have a customer base with strong built-in potential. The bottom line to any business plan is finding a strong market need and filling it.
Your business blueprint is essential to not only getting things started, but fueling that early growth with enough market resources to expand the overall customer base. Without customers you do not have a business, just a great idea for one. Without enough customers, you do not have the necessary resources to keep that business viable.
Raising Start-Up Capital
One of the main reasons why so many new businesses fail is the lack of financial capital to weather the early storms every new business owner is bound to face. You need to expect the unexpected when you open any new business and having the ability to handle the bumps in the road with available cash is crucial.
Banks and other financial institutions are more than willing to finance solid business plans. However, they are only going to give you so much rope before you hang yourself. Being leveraged to the hilt before you first open your door for business is a very dangerous way to get any business off the ground.
You still need some cold, hard cash at your disposal to supplement weekly cash flow and your living expenses when things get a bit lean from time to time. This is extremely important if you decide to get involved in a seasonal business with major swings in business traffic.
Growing and Expanding a Customer Base
As mentioned, you really do not have a business without customers and you probably do not have a viable business without some kind of expanded business base. Growing and expanding a customer base is not too tall of a task in you are offering a product or service that is in demand.
The following is a short list of how to increase your customer base:
- Word of Mouth Referrals
- Targeted Advertising
- Professional Online Presence
- Targeted Social Media Applications
The two biggest takeaways from this list are ‘word of mouth’ and ‘targeted’. If you are good at what you make or what you do, you will attract a solid customer base. Having someone else sell your product or service for you because they are happy and satisfied is the quickest and most effective way to grow a business.
Shotgun approaches to reaching potential customers can work in certain instances. However, taking a targeted rifle approach to hitting potential targets is always a much more effective approach to finding the best customers for your business.
Long-Term Business Strategies
Too many businesses get caught up in early success to the point where they take their eye off the prize. A fast start out of the gate is great, but long-team planning is what will make a business financially viable for the long haul.
The main reason that people go into business for themselves is to be their own boss. You need to develop the mindset that your top priority is to be your own boss until you decide to retire. The combination of short-term and long-term planning strategies is the best way to ensure that you get the most out of any business venture.