1. Full throttle = Always ON
You can only be successful in a small business when you devote your full energy to your new venture. This doesn't mean working yourself to death. It does mean, however, that whatever hours you devote to your new endeavor whether full-time or part-time, it needs to be with your full energy and devotion during those hours. Who wants to do business with you or, possibly, invest in your business when you're not giving it your "100%" when needed? Work on your new business with partial energy and see only partial results!
2. Test and then test again
Make sure your eggs hatch before moving forward. Every entrepreneur wants to make a big splash right out of the starting blocks. It would be wonderful if it works that way but most of the time, it doesn't. Throw a small pebble, make a ripple, and see what works. Then you're ready to throw a boulder and make a big splash. Make sure the eggs hatch before moving on!
3. Know when to seek professional help
Entrepreneurs "think" they know best and, maybe, they do when it comes to the technical aspects of their businesses. When it comes to other areas such as business consulting, taxes, accounting, insurance, or legal, it pays to obtain professional and competent advice. Don't try to do something yourself today only to hire a professional tomorrow to undo your mistakes. Pay to get the competent advice right from the start. Pay now or pay later!
4. Be an expert in time management
It's a never-ending problem all founders and small business owners have. There is never enough time in the day to get everything accomplished. It's either too much to do by yourself or a lack of delegation. Whatever the problem, you must find time to step back from the business to relax, enjoy, and think. Yes, think. Without some "down" time, you cannot properly plan, innovate, or make improvements. Work smarter, not harder and longer!
5. Narrow your focus, so you can focus
It would be nice to be all things to all customers, but it usually doesn't work that way. Narrow your focus and concentrate on what you do best. Determine your strategy, define your target market, and don't deviate. New opportunities and new markets can be profitable, but they must match the internal resources and strengths of a business. Be a great business in a narrow market rather than a mediocre business in a broad market. Focus first, then expand!
6. Do your homework
Of course you know that your product or service is going to be successful, but have you checked with prospective customers for what they want? Market research is a powerful tool that can help lead a new business in the right direction. You can do it yourself. Ask, talk, send surveys, read industry publications, search the Internet, have a "think tank" dinner with respected business colleagues. When so much information is available before you start your business, why not take advantage of it? Market research just might be an eye-opener!
7. Be prepared
It's exciting to get a new business off the ground, but you must be prepared. This means having everything in place, so there is no faltering when the "doors open." Financing, employees, marketing, procedures, etc. must be in place and ready to go. Why stumble at the opening when you can start running? It's all about being prepared!
8. Be passionately prudent
You can't be a small business owner if you're not passionate about what you do. Unfortunately, being passionate does not always equate to being successful. Be practical, wise, and sensible when making business decisions. New startups do not have the luxury of poor decision making...and survive. Take the opposite approach. Be prudent and succeed!
9. Be realistic
It's great to be a cheerleader for your business when dealing with customers, but you must be realistic when it comes to understanding the limitations of your business, making financial projections, accepting apparent weaknesses, etc. Not being realistic can get a new venture in real trouble. Be honest and realistic as you move forward; otherwise, trouble can come before success!
10. Have an obsession with numbers
Most entrepreneurs are not accountants and, quite understandably, don’t want to be. Not knowing your numbers is simply a recipe for failure. You must know all financial and statistical measures for your business... both inside and out. What is your estimated revenue, cost of goods sold, gross profit percentage, cash burn rate, or current ratio? What are your KPI’s and how do you measure them? If the numbers don't work, then your business probably won’t either. Don't leave the numbers to someone else. Perhaps, they can do the preparation, but you still need to know them.
About the Author
Jason Halberg is an accomplished executive who, in his most recent success, founded an internet startup and grew it into a company with 200 employees and $50 million in revenues. He is passionate and committed to helping fellow entrepreneurs take their businesses to the next level. Through this company, High Voltage Advisors LLC, he consults business owners and executives who are looking to achieve faster growth by leveraging his expertise in sales and marketing, business operations, process automation and problem solving. If you are looking to increase profits and reduce stress, then schedule your complimentary business assessment consultation with Jason today.