You’ve probably heard the adage before that most small businesses fail within their first year. While there is a hint of truth to that scary statistic, there are a lot of factors that play into it. It certainly isn’t something that should keep you from running a business of your own.
Running a successful small business takes a lot of time, effort, and planning. The “planning” portion might also be the most important. If you don’t consistently stay one step ahead, you could be opening yourself up for miscommunication, delays in productivity, customer dissatisfaction, or even financial scams.
Thankfully, it could be argued that starting a business today is easier than ever due to the advancements in technology. If you know your market, how to design a website, and you’re savvy with social media, starting an online business might be easy for you. If you want to interact directly with others, a brick-and-mortar business is great, and can still utilize technology to make things easier.
Whatever type of business you want to run, it’s important to keep a few things in mind. Let’s cover a few of those things, as well as some common mistakes you should be sure to avoid.
Pay Attention to the Details for Customer Satisfaction
Running a small business successfully starts long before you open your doors or go live with a website. Planning allows you to pay attention to the details and keep yourself, your employees, and your future safe and secure.
For instance, if you’re starting a business that provides goods to people, you’ll need to figure out the intricacies of shipping long before someone puts something in their cart. Nowadays, people expect to receive their items quickly.
But, if you’re shipping something that is oddly-shaped, heavy, or custom, your customer needs to be made aware that it may take longer to ship. This might seem like a small detail, but it can make a big difference in the satisfaction of your customer.
Using online shipping software is a great way to manage your products and what needs to go out, while keeping you organized so your customers understand what’s going on with their order. You can also outsource your shipping to a service provider who specializes in speedy deliveries.
User experience is one of the keys to a successful business. Every marketing manager knows that “word of mouth” advertising is unbeatable. So, making sure your customers are happy by paying attention to details like these can make a big difference.
Use Your Tools
There are many tools specifically designed for small businesses that can help you with everything from customer satisfaction to keeping orders organized. Staying on top of technology trends will make life easier for you and can give you a leg up on your competition.
Even the tools you use should be supplements to the planning you do ahead of time. For example, one of a business’s worst nightmares is to lose a lead. Unfortunately, there are many ways to turn potential customers off, including:
• A lack of social media presence
• CTAs that don’t work properly
• Ignoring customer expectations
• Not updating your CRM
Thankfully, there are plenty of online tools that can help you to stay on top of these problems and more. If you have trouble keeping up with social media, it’s a good idea to use tools like HootSuite that allow you to schedule posts ahead of time on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
If you’re worried about customer expectations, invest in a team management program that ensures everyone has a specific task or focus, and at least one person’s should be user experience.
By using tools to your advantage, you can streamline your daily operations, which can lead to an increase in both productivity and satisfaction.
Mistakes to Avoid
The biggest mistake small business owners make is not having a plan. You might feel like we’ve drilled that idea again and again throughout this article, but it is the best way to reduce your risk of failure. Some additional common mistakes include:
• Not having a marketing strategy
• Impatience when trying to reach your goals
• Thinking you can do everything on your own
Another common issue for small businesses is not protecting yourself. That includes things like not having the right insurance for your business or not copyrighting intellectual property.
It’s also important to protect both your data and financial information from things like phishing scams, false invoices, and fake tech support. It can be beneficial to have an IT professional on staff, or at least on call to make sure your network is secure.
You’ve undoubtedly invested a lot of time, money, and energy into developing your small business. By having a clear and organized plan, you can protect yourself from dangerous risks, reach your goals, and run your business smarter. You don’t have to fall into failure, and your business doesn’t have to become a negative statistic when you keep these things in mind.