Your advice for small business owners

by dbatshaw 16 replies
What is the one piece of advice every small business owner should hear that will maximize their chances for success? What do you wish someone had told you?
#mind warriors #advice #business #owners #small #small business #success
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  • Profile picture of the author tomcam
    Do market research before investing too much (time and/or money) into a product.

    The Web makes this surprisingly easy. Too few take advantage of that fact.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Brian
    My biggest failure was not planning too well. You have to plan every detail of everything. And most importantly set a deadline for everything.
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  • Profile picture of the author Bart Loos
    Originally Posted by dbatshaw View Post

    What is the one piece of advice every small business owner should hear that will maximize their chances for success? What do you wish someone had told you?
    There is lots of advice that can be given..

    - how you handle your resources
    - the best way to deal with difficult customers
    - how you should do your marketing
    - how you should do interviews to get the best person for the job
    - what you should invest in
    - know your objectives
    - do market research
    - ...

    The list seems endless and when you're just starting out this might seem overwhelming...

    The very best advice anyone can get when they are starting out is that they should devote a distinct part of their time on developing a great entrepreneurial mindset.

    As a businessowner you need to be realistic, you need to have patience, you need to have commitment, focus, be able to manage money, be creative, be solution focussed, you should be able to handle your fears, doubts, insecurities, you got to trust your coworkers or your partners, be able to see opportunities and take them, ...

    Sure we all have our moments and that's ok, we're after all humans. And one day goes better then the other, but you should work on improving your attitude and mindset on a consistent basis.

    You do not want any fears,doubts, insecurities,.. to get in the way of your success in business and life.

    If you grow, your business will grow.

    Actually it happens so often that businesses grow to fast for the business owner to keep up.. and then business start slacking...

    Realize that you are the driver of the business, and how you drive will have an immense impact on if the business is successful or not.

    And that's the ONE thing business owners are overlooking when they run into a problem and get stuck.. they tend to lay blame, on a technical aspect, or a coworker, or the market, or the economy, ... but they fail to look at how they are dealing with the problem. And to any problem in a business there's a solution, but you gotto to be willing to see where the real problem is...

    In the IM business people could be easily tempted to start out by the image that they could easily make thousands of dollars with no work at all..

    Well anyone buying into that has a success rate of close to 0.

    I see lots of people buying into the four hour workweek illusion. This only will work if you already have a business, with implemented auomatisation procedures, BUT when you are just starting out it's gonna take lots and lots of long workdays ...

    Basically the one best advice is: get your attitude and mindset in sync with where your outcome is.

    The MAIN reason why small businesses fail, is because the person in charge is not great at managing themselves

    Hope this helps

    Have fun

    Bart
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  • Profile picture of the author TeddyP
    My number one piece of advice - get a mentor! Find someone in your field (or out of it) who has accomplished what you want to accomplish. If you are in a place to pay for their time - do it. Offer your services in exchange for mentorship. Maybe they will even help you for free.
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    • Profile picture of the author Richard Essi
      Hi Guys, and thank you all for your inputs! Very informative indeed

      Here are my thoughts.

      1. Decide to become a successful business owner:

      There is a difference between wishing to become a successful business owner and actually deciding to be one. Wishing does not require any taking of action, but deciding requires that you choose and take some sort of action. Now that you have "decided" that you would like to become a successfull business owner (online or offline), you need to determine where and how you are going to get your training information.

      This is where Ted's advice on finding a coach or mentor or somebody you can imitate comes in handy. Once your have established several credible sources, you then need to spend time narrowing the selection of your established sources to 2 or 3 at least for now.

      2. Your business is a real business

      Maybe the wording "small business" makes certain small business owners think that they are actually "small fish". This is unfortunate as you find many "small" business owners treating their businesses like hobbies. They don't invest the effort, the time, and the kind of resources that is needed to run any business no matter the size. The same business principles are applicable at every stage of any business

      3. Establish a dedicated space which will help you remain disciplined, consistent and focused

      The lack of proper structure is manifested in your irregularity, your inconsitency and your indiscipline. Running a successful business should be done with a longterm vision. This means that you should invest in the right tools that will help you remain focused till the end. Simple things like a good Internet connection, a good desk and chair, an active and working credit card, folders notebooks etc.

      For example,before embarking on any venture, make sure you have the required capital for both the creation AND marketing of your product or service

      4. Continuously Research the profitability of your market

      You will be amazed at the number of people who run out to start their businesses based on a whim. Even though some have succeeded in doing this, it must noted that this is not the norm.

      Even if your business is currently flourishing, there is a chance that you can learn more about your customer, and as a result provide even more value to your customers

      5. Develop a support system

      Be teachable, be mentored, read other entrepreneur stories. Identify key peole that you can run to for sound advice when things start getting difficult, and you are about to give up (believe me they will come in waves!!).

      Be accountable, be open to advice from people who are where you want to be, and above all, be ready to change and grow as a person.

      In conclusion, I would say that when you are in business to give value to your customers through a product or service that you are passionate about, you are SIMPLY UNSTOPPABLE!

      Richard
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      How To Think And Become A Successful Webpreneur
      By Richard Essi

      Just remember, you can do anything you set your mind to, but it takes action, perseverance, and facing your fears.

      --Gillian Anderson
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  • Profile picture of the author senatl
    I worked closely with women small business owners and my biggest piece of advice to them was to listen to their instinct when it came to business decisions.
    If you had a funny feeling about a venture, web designer, etc... then listen to it. Also.. if you have a wonderful feeling about something.... pursue it!
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  • Profile picture of the author JakeRhodes
    Do your research and start small.
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  • Profile picture of the author purelight
    Good question. I'm a business newbie but the one thing I didn't anticipate was how big the need for advertising is. One way or another it's the most important part for me behind customer service.
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  • Profile picture of the author Geoff Carter
    Start!

    Take action.

    Write your goals - if you need help with this, let me know...

    Understand the three facets of attitude (thoughts lead to feelings and these bring about action in the body to produce a result. If the result or outcome is pushing you towards your goals and raising your level of awareness in your business field, Great! If it isn't, think new thoughts.

    Be creative. By being creative, you will be unique in your business.

    Watch less TV: one hour less TV per day gives you 9 x 40 hour weeks of free time per year!

    Don't listen to or read anything about the recession.

    The link below may help, too.
    Signature

    Geoff Carter
    Business Success Consultant
    Go to: http://www.BusinessSuccessConsultant.com
    Success Not Stress

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  • Profile picture of the author ScottFox
    Don't be afraid to fail.

    Society puts a (deserved) premium on success, but knowing when to walk away from an opportunity that's not progressing is key to future success.

    It's like stocks or poker - cut your losses but let your winners run.

    This can be really hard on the ego but it can also make room in your life for the next, hopefully more profitable opportunity.
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    Scott Fox
    Host of Click Millionaires.com Lifestyle Business Coaching

    >> Looking for a lifestyle business niche of your own? Download the new *Niche Business ID Checklist* free!
    .
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  • Profile picture of the author hayfj
    Banned
    Your Marketing Blueprint may be corrupted.

    Negative Verbal Programming from friends, colleagues, peers and associates about their poor results and negative experiences with marketing and specific negative incidents from the past, have tainted your marketing blueprint and thus contributed to your negative conditioning and have shaped your attitude towards marketing in general.

    You need to identify and address the real marketing issues that are holding you back now. Most people usually fail with their marketing because they're not addressing the real issues or have gotten to the root of their marketing problems that hold them back - they're only dealing with the Symptoms.

    The best way to prevent the future corruption of your Marketing Blueprint is to do a marketing audit.

    Your 5
    Strand Marketing DNA maybe inactive.

    Many people simply don't know of the 5 fundamental principles of marketing endorsed by many marketing professionals.
    They are - Positioning, Packaging, Promotion, Persuasion & Performance. In other words. You need to know who you are selling to, and what it is you really offer. You need to package what you offer in such a way that other people will find them attractive and want to buy them. Many people simply don't know how to promote themselves effectively enough. Many people can generate the leads, but unfortunately don't know how to convert those prospects into sales. Some might achieve all of the previous mentioned strands, but simply not be able to meet their client's expectations.

    If your marketing isnt working for you - it might be time to activate your 5 strand marketing DNA.

    You may unknowingly be practicising selfish Marketing

    Quite often when you want new business, you actually NEED business, and when you are in a state of NEED you focus all your marketing attention on you and come across NEEDY or even desperate to your prospects. It is reflected in your writing, in your voice and in your handshake. You tend to talk about what you DO, what you KNOW or what you HAVE, and not what prospects want - which is RESULTS. Many people in a state of need end up going into great detail about what they DO when asked "What do you?" instead of telling the client what they're going to GET. If other people are pre-occupied with their own problems, needs and frustrations, they will NOT be interested in what you have, do or know because they are pre-occuplied with what they know, do or have.

    In other words, stop being pre-occupied with your own problems, and focus your attention on the results your clients will GET.

    You may be investing in everything but Marketing

    You probably view marketing as an expenditure not an investment. But consider this, if you wanted to generate £500 extra income per month - £6000 per annum from the Stock market, then you would have to invest £60,000 of your hard earned capital to get that 10% return. To get that same £6000 from property, then you'd probably end up with £100,000 of your captial tied up in the house to give you that 6% return per annum. Some people have generated as much as £70,000 return from a much, much smaller investment in their marketing. One Ecademist on the Lead Generation MBA coaching program even generated a 2400% ROI.

    Did you know that a 10% increase in new Customers, and add to that a 10% increase in average customer spend, and a 10% increase in frequency of return visit can actually equate to a 33% increase in turnover. (in real terms).

    Hope that helps

    Regards


    Fraser
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  • Profile picture of the author j hogan
    Two pieces of advice:

    First, specialise, don't try and be all things to all people focus on one particular area and become known for being excellent at what you do in that field.

    Second, track where your business referrals come from and how much each client / referral is worth to your business over the long term. Keep good records. I am constantly amazed at how many business people don't do this. They just spend thousands on marketing with no idea of if it's working. Unless you track where your business comes from you marketing just becomes a shotgun approach
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  • Profile picture of the author hayfj
    Banned
    I estimate I've made 192,000 bad commercial decisions in my "career", and made one or two good ones But I compiled a list of the 77 "musts" a startup entrepreneur should have in my book "The Business Startup Bible", and thought you might like the list below. I know its moer than one, but I thought it would strike a chord or make you smile. Enjoy.


    ... have a Plan
    ... accept responsibility
    ... have fire in your belly
    ... recognise the power of a TODO List - I
    ... have faith in your abilities
    ... keep a Diary
    ... break bad habits
    ... research. Research. Research.
    ... avoid unrealistic expectation
    ... focus on what clients will "get"
    ... learn not to take Shortcuts
    ... identify the root cause of your problems
    ... be prepared for the lessons, and learn often
    ... be Passionate about what you offer
    ... NOT lose sight of your goals
    ... stop Complaining
    ... unlock the power of your unconscious mind
    ... realise the Value is in the lessons
    ... be prepared to get serious
    ... set your KPIs & track your progress.
    ... make doing business with you - FUN
    ... learn to ask for help and advice
    ... learn to GIVE before you GET.
    ... Get to know Simon Phillips
    ... invest in a lined notepad
    ... learn to think BIG and see the BIG PICTURE
    ... focus on what you like not what you don't
    ... become more Proactive
    ... learn to rationalise & become a realist
    ... learn to appreciate life
    ... do the Right Marketing
    ... change your Circumstances
    ... thank those that help, guide & mentor you
    ... develop a thirst for Knowledge
    ... master the D + B + E = R formula
    ... win Hearts and Minds
    ... Educate, Communicate & Replicate
    ... become a "Happeneur"
    ... ask questions all the time
    ... realise the Buck stops with you.
    ... You have 2 ears & 1 mouth - use them in that order
    ... give it all you've got - 100% Commitment
    ... keep the Glass Half FULL!
    ... constantly increase the value you offer
    ... master PCT - Positive Creative Thinking
    ... create your own mastermind group
    ... take care of yourself
    ... allow yourself thinking time
    ... be nice to everyone
    ... develop your values & good habits
    ... recharge the mental batteries
    ... You may find prospects, but ... close the deal
    ... master The KDI Formula to earn more money
    ... Plan your Costs
    ... reward yourself often
    ... recognise the Power of the TODO list - II
    ... get out and stay out of Debt
    ... systemise everything you do
    ... ask for help every opportunity you can
    ... keep it Lean
    ... identify Client Pains, Wants & Needs
    ... be prepared to get it wrong - sometimes
    ... know your Market & become an expert
    ... recognise your 3 biggest enemies - Ignorance, Apathy and fear
    ... recognise, acknowledge & promote the fact that you are unique
    ... decide slowly, but Act Fast.
    ... Master new skills & talents
    ... recognise Drains and Radiators I
    ... stop making excuses.
    ... raise your standards
    ... start building your mastermind group - NOW
    ... get involved with your Community
    ... become a Strong Leader
    ... have Fun

    Although the above list is common sense for many, some may find it useful, even bringing a smile to many. Apologies once again, if its too long.

    Hope it helps.

    Regards


    Fraser
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  • Profile picture of the author rocketmail009
    Listen more than you talk. Listen to the needs of your customers and listen to the compliments and complaints not only of your business but of your competitors. In addition listen to peers, partners, mentors and networks of people who can help you. Listen to business trends. You have two ears and one mouth... use them wisely.
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    • Profile picture of the author hayfj
      Banned
      spot on. totally agree.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mandy Allen
    Gosh, I agree with all of the above! But for me it is have a goal; know what you are aiming for. Plan out the steps that will take you there and make them small enough to achieve each one.

    Excellent post, very thought provoking.

    Enjoy the journey.

    Mandy
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