Success for new small businesses doesn't have to be hard, the key is in your processes and decisions.
Today we are giving some love to the start-up small businesses of the world. We were all there at some point and so I think it's important to help them become successful as soon as possible. Especially in today's world.
Starting a business is exciting, sometimes scary and can sometimes be confusing so below are a few tips to help you out.
Tip 1 - Make decisions quickly and without regret.
• You started a Small business right? That probably took a lot of courage and faith in yourself to do and so as you move forward with your business continue with making decisions based on passion and from the "gut".
In the beginning you need all of the momentum you can get so don't allow the opinions of others or outside information to slow you down or make you second guess yourself.
• There are so many things to consider and to evaluate in the beginning of owning a small business and so making quick, decisive decisions based on the best information that is available at the time will keep things moving forward.
You can always fix something in the future, but if you slow down because of "choice paralysis" you could end up without a business!
• If you are afraid of making decisions quickly because you might "mess up", you are probably comparing yourself to other more established businesses and this is pointless because you are different and should be! You're also forgetting that the majority of your business systems and success is going to come about BECAUSE you made these mistakes. You can not learn anything and make things better for yourself and your industry if you don't know what those problems are. MAKE MISTAKES! they are good for you 🙂
Tip 2 - Represent yourself as you actually are.
• If you are a home based operation do not pretend to be like you are some kind of large corporation!
• I think almost everyone runs into this issue in the beginning. I know that we did it in the beginning of Pixel Me Pink and I know now how silly it really is. Think about it...you probably started your own small business to make things better in your industry, to break the mold of how things are done because you know you can do it better! So why do we think that we should answer the phone like a call center - or say "we" when really there is just you and the "cat" - and copy all of the other things that somehow has been deemed the "right" way to do business.
• People are not turned off by home operations or smaller start-ups as you may think. There are benefits to working with these types of businesses and people know that. So by "acting" like you are something that you are not, not only are you attracting the WRONG type of clientele for yourself, you are also potentially losing out on those clients or customers that would love your style.
This white lie will show itself eventually in one form or another and that is no way to start the reputation of your new small business.
• When doing your marketing or basically representing yourself at any point it is so important to be who you really are. The reason for this is because every business has an "Ideal Client". Really, the last thing you want to do is attract ALL and ANY business you can get...even in the beginning. If you are attracting clients that you can not take care of properly or that for some reason do not jive with you and your business model you will in fact "lose" money every time.
Tip 3 - Don't make your prices low just because you are new
• Look, I get it, your new. Maybe you are not yet comfortable with charging what your really worth because you feel like if people know that your new that you wouldn't be able to charge the same as someone else. Regardless of how obvious this seems, it simply is not true.
• There is nothing wrong with giving discounts and having sales and in some situations there is nothing wrong with doing free work so that you can gain some exposure or build your portfolio. But there is a big difference between doing that and making your prices extremely low just so that you can get more clients.
Remember you will attract the wrong type of clients because of this (people looking to scrape the bottom of the barrel usually expect more then what they are paying for and will never value what you do).
• Instead start your business with a fair rate that will keep your business thriving. It will be much harder to raise your prices in the future then it will be to lower them and you also need to remember that you and your small business can only help so many people in the world if it is broke all of the time as compared to how many people it could help if it is successful and fueled by the energy of money.
• If you make your prices low you could start a butterfly effect of destroying your own industry. If you make your prices far below that of your competitors suddenly they will need to lower their prices as well to stay in the game.
The entire standard of pricing in your industry will eventually change to be much lower and so when you are finally ready to raise your prices you won't be able to because those prices are now not seen as "standard" by the common public (remember you are not the only new business in your industry doing this). Not to mention this could negatively effect the other companies in your industry, possibly put them out of business and hurt your economy even further.
Of course this is a bit of a dramatization, but I think you get the point :).
Tip 4 - Treat your business and responsibilities as if it were a 9 to 5 job
• It's a new business so of course you want to work 50 hours a day and 9 days a week. STOP! 🙂
• "Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion" - Parkinson's Law. This is to say that because you have told yourself it is acceptable to work 70 hours a day and 14 days a minute that the work that needs to be done will always take up the available time, but that doesn't mean that what you are working on will drive your small business forward.
• Instead you should always have a plan of action for each day. You can then focus on one task at a time that is within any project you are working on.
Sure there will be some distractions as you probably "where all of the hats", but no matter what happens you should redirect your entire focus into whatever task you have set forth for yourself and do not stop or move on to anything else until it is completed.
• Having a set of working hours will also do many things for you and your business. Your clients will respect you more. You will complete tasks faster. You will inherently gain more control and structure over your business in general. You will prioritize better and you will have a more balanced life-style. I don't care WHO you are...if you don't get some rest, entertainment and physical activity, you will eventually sputter out and lose all of the ground you have worked so hard to gain. You will have more energy to handle the important things you need to do on a daily basis which will provide you with a better end result in the long run.
Tip 5 - Don't be afraid to share some of the responsibilities
• One of the biggest if not THE BIGGEST mistakes a new business can make is being scared to hire people. Whether it is an intern, part-time or full-time help, there is nothing that can help your small business grow faster and better, short of tripping over a rainbow and falling into a pot of gold.
• Fabienne Fredrickson may or may not have coined the term "brilliance work", but what it means is vitally important to your future success. Everyone has it. It is the type of work that your not good at or excellent at. It's the type of work that you are utterly "brilliant" at. This is up to you to figure out.
At the same time other people in this world are brilliant at something that they can probably help you with in your business. It could be aspects of accounting or managerial work. It doesn't matter. What's important is that you find people to help you based on THEIR brilliance work and not based on how low you can pay them to do a mediocre job for you.
• THIS IS SO IMPORTANT!!! Every-time you do a task that could be done by another person better and more efficiently, you are literally losing money. The sooner you can come to accept this the sooner your business will flourish.
Here is a great example: we once had a client who was managing their own twitter account for 30 minutes a day. They had been doing this for 6 months. Not only could this client of ours not manage their account as good as we could (because it is our brilliance work) or derive the results they were looking for, this client had also lost money 2 times.
1. Once was because he spent 30 minutes a day for 6 months. That comes to 90 hours and his hourly rate happens to be $100 per hour. So he spent $9,000.00 of his time to obtain 600 followers on twitter with no return on his "time" investment.
2. The second way that he lost money was because for 90 hours he could have been focusing on his "brilliance work" and the after effect of working on your brilliance work is always further business success, monetarily or otherwise.
To have hired us to do it for him it would have cost a total of $174.00 ($29 times 6 months) and he would have received more twitter followers (at least 100 per month, usually more) and would have received a return on his investment because of the free training and material we provide.
I truly hope this helps you break out of some of the molds that have been put in place by old beliefs and habits. To have started a small business you are a rare kind of person. Embrace this and remember that you can have anything you want in life by literally and simply envisioning what you want, believing that it is for you to have and putting one foot in front of the other in pursuit of it.
As long as you don't quit, no matter the mistakes...you can never actually fail.