Contributed article in our small business series. Enjoy! – Kimberly
As a small business owner, you have a big job with a lot of responsibility and pressure riding on your shoulders. It only makes sense you’d want to take the time to review a few pieces of valuable advice that will help you get along better and succeed.
Be proud of how far you’ve come but be aware that you also have a lot of challenges ahead of you to tackle. You’re going to need to not only work hard to get ahead, but also do more of what’s going to help move the needle for you in a positive direction and commit fewer mistakes as you gain more experience.
1. Document Specific Goals
You’re going to have a lot to keep track of, and be pulled in several different directions as a small business owner. It’s a wise idea to document specific goals for what you want to focus on and achieve early on. Come up with a list of realistic yet challenging objectives you believe are most important to you stabilizing and eventually growing your business. Include details about how you’ll go about achieving each one and what specific tools and resources you’ll need to do so. Know that you can always head back to the drawing board and adjust what needs fixing as time goes on and you’re able to get a better read on the latest business and industry trends.
2. Launch A Company Website & Blog
As a small business, it’s going to be a bit more challenging to get consumers to notice you. The obstacle is that there are a lot of other competitors out there spending a lot of money on marketing efforts. One idea is for you to work with this company so that you can gain a stronger presence on the web with a well designed website and blog. In this case, it’s best to get the experts involved so that your site looks professionally done and is easy to use and navigate. A blog is also a great way to share valuable insights with your target audience and show that you’re the experts in your industry.
3. Build A Support Network
Another piece of useful advice to live by as a small business owner is to know that you don’t have to go through this journey all alone. Reach out and build a network of supporters who you can turn to in good times and in bad. You never know who you’ll meet that will be able to step in and assist you when you need it the most, so always be kind to those you encounter.
Put yourself out there by attending or speaking at conferences and events and getting more involved in your business community. Also, secure a mentor who’s been in your position previously and can advise you on making wise decisions along the way as you build and develop your small business.
4. Listen to Your Customers
It’s never good to act like you know it all or assume you’re always right as a business owner. What will help you out the most in making wise choices going forward is to listen to your customers and take their advice seriously about what they think you could be doing better.
They’ll likely have a helpful outsider or objective opinion and be able to offer you up some sound advice about how to improve. Get in the habit of sending out surveys, picking up the phone or meeting with clients individually to pick their brains and find out what it is you should be focusing on going forward.
5. Hire Help
It’s in your best interest to plan ahead and come to the realization that you’re not going to be able to do it all yourself anymore as your business starts to grow. What you can do is hire help to take some of the burdens off of you and let others pitch in and assist you in reaching your goals. Do your homework and make sure you’re bringing people on board who not only fit the culture, but will be able to get the job done right the first time and also offer up new ideas. Document specific roles and responsibilities for the positions you want to fill so your investment to hire new employees will be worth your time and energy.
6. Know Your Finances
All small business owners should always be involved with and never neglect the company’s finances. Know them inside and out and avoid any surprises catching you off guard and causing you unwanted stress. Keep detailed records of all transactions and follow strict budgets to help you stay on track. If you need help in this area, then consider hiring a bookkeeper or financial director who can monitor your finances for you and inform you of any red flags immediately. It’s better to be informed about any roadblocks right away than it is to let these issues grow into larger problems down the road.
7. Take Care of Yourself
One area where a lot of small business owners miss the mark is forgetting about themselves among all the chaos. Remember to take care of yourself and your needs first and foremost. If you are unable to keep healthy, then your business will suffer. A few ideas include:
- Getting enough quality sleep
- Exercising regularly
- Eating healthy meals
- Managing your stress
- Setting boundaries at work and in your home
Your life will vastly improve and your job as a business owner will be less cumbersome when you make taking care of yourself a priority. When you’re tired and worn down your decision-making abilities will suffer, and you’ll have less energy to get you through your day. Another idea is to implement a company culture that strongly believes in living a healthy lifestyle and encouraging your employees to do the same. While your company is important, so is your health and wellbeing because without it you’ll likely struggle to accomplish all you set out to do.by