Running a small business can be a satisfying but difficult challenge, and there are many mistakes that can end your entrepreneurial effort. Many businesses struggle. The question is, how do you keep your small business from failing in the face of struggle? The U.S. Small Business Administration reports that approximately 70 percent of small businesses survive 2 years, 33 percent survive 10 years and only 25 percent remain operational for 15 years or more. We all make mistakes, but you can learn from the mistakes of others. Here are five precautions your businesses should take if you want to succeed.
Create a Niche
It is vitally important that you don’t try to have your businesses do everything for the customer—if everyone can use your service or product, nobody will. Think about who will actually use your service and market directly to them. Consider for a moment Threadless, a company that makes one thing: products designed by users that score highly with other users. Threadless primarily makes T-shirts, hoodies and prints of independent artist designs; however, what they are really selling is user created designs that have proven to be popular with a specific community. This niche market has allowed Threadless to thrive as a business, and they don’t have to manufacturer anything but their niche.
Many small business owners spread themselves too thin by trying to perform every job within their organization. Hiring the right people to perform the tasks that aren’t your strengths can help you to focus on the aspects that mean something to you. Evernote, an information management app, can help you to track which tasks you have delegated and makes it easy to follow up with them. Don’t think that owning a business means you have to play every role.
Keeping everything in one place can make the difference between success or failure for a small business owner. Making sure your data is organized and secure also can protect your business from collapse due to a lost device or virus. A great precaution is to have all your vital information saved in a cloud backup system that is accessible from any device with a password so that it always is reachable and secure.
That out-of-date website and empty blog are slow poison to your business. You can’t sell anything or provide any service if customers can’t navigate your antiquated site. If you’ve ignored your website for too long, it is time to fix it. A case study by Marketing Sherpa found that a complete website overhaul increased sales by 34 percent for one company. Regularly updating your blog or website can prevent you from having to overhaul your site to see sales in the future.
Doing the Books
Balancing your books manually might be how you started your small business, but if you aren’t using professional accounting software, you’ll find you are prone to make errors. Intuit Software’s Quickbooks is the go-to accounting software for many small businesses and you would be wise to employ it. All it takes to kill a year’s profits is misplacing a decimal point, and you can’t afford to make that kind of mistake.
There you have it. Five precautions to keep your small business from failing. What you do with them is now up to you.