1. Work On Your Business, Not For Your Business
I’ve worked with business owners who were so focused on their product and service and selling their services to customers that they completely forgot about all the other operations and items they should have been focused on instead. Most people get caught up in working for their business instead of making their business work for them. Most business owners treat themselves as one of the employees instead of effectively managing their company and their teams toward a common goal. There are more aspects to running a business than just making money, taking the time to learn new things such as effective accounting, business law, and leadership skills can make the difference between your business being successful and just another statistic of failure.
2. Keep Your Personal And Business Wallets Separate
Most people when they start a business, try to keep their personal and business finances in one account. I know this may seem to makes things easier, but really when it comes to calculating your balance sheets, income statements and filing taxes, having a combined personal and business account is going to really complicate things. Instead, go out and reach out to a local bank and open an account. Most banks these days are very small businesses oriented and will allow you to open a business account free of charge and can get you a credit card with a low interest rate for those emergency times where you may be short on funds.
3. Form An Advisory Board
As a business owner, you are not going to know every aspect of running a business, at the most you probably know your specific talents and gifts and your product inside and out. For all the other aspects of your business it is important that you establish an advisory board to help you get through all the other unknown areas in order to limit the risks and mistakes you make as you continue to grow your business. At the least, your advisory board should consist of at least one mentor, preferably someone in the same industry as you, whom can guide you as you grow your business and clientele. Most of the business owners that I spoke with view an advisory board as essential to their success. They use their board compliment their “weak areas” and provide an ongoing, structured means of soliciting feedback. To be effective, make sure your advisory board is made up on people who have different disciplines, backgrounds and life experiences.
4. Network With Intent And Purpose
Profession networking is probably one of the most important activities an entrepreneur can do with their time. Attending industry focused conferences, Meetups and other hosted events can not only help you to build your brand and company awareness but as a leader of your organization can keep you up to date with current information and what is happening within your industry. A professional network and reaching out to other like-minded individuals can also help you to grow your customer base and gain more work as well.
5. Find Your “Niche Market”
To many people these days try to accomplish to many things at one time instead of focusing on dedicating themselves to what they can do the best. As they continue to reach out and do “more stuff” they actually are just bringing down their core successes. Successful people know what they are good at and tend to focus and dedicate more time to doing these items faster and better. Take a look at Apple, Steve Jobs took Apple from over 250+ products to a handful: desktops/laptops, iPad, iPhone and iPods. Their focus made it able to make these products the best they could be. Instead of stretching out their development team on a wide variety of products, they focused on a niche market and capitalized on being the best product on the market.
6. Remember That Not All Money Is Created Equal
There are two types of way to raise capital, equity and debt. As you start to build a successful company you need to realize how to go about raising funds in both areas, more effectively in creating equity. You need to wisely spend what funds you have available on items that will continue to add value to your company. You need to be able to understand how banks, investors and VCs approach and measure the success of a company and how to position your company to make a positive reaction on these people so that they will help you to grow your business even more.
7. Plan, Plan And Then Plan Some More
Most people tend to spend a lot of time when they first start their business but even after your launch your company you need to continue to plan the next steps to making your business successful. The partnerships you need to form, sales process you need to improve, people you need to hire, and other steps that need to be completed in order to continue to grow your company. Businesses need to adapt to changes people go through, and what you originally planned might not work in the upcoming years so always plan for change.
8. Evolve And Adapt To Thrive
Always be learning from your current customers; learn what they enjoy about your business and what things you could change or add that would make you better. Try to always keep things fresh and adapt to opportunities that relate to your business and can make your company stronger. Good businesses see an opportunity and create a business plan to solve a problem, but great businesses continue to grow with their customers and find new ways of solving more related problems.