When you first started your small business, you already knew the statistics regarding failure rates; after all, you made sure to do a thorough job of researching your endeavor to ensure that failure wasn’t going to happen to you and your dream. But now you’re a few years in, and the struggle to succeed hasn’t been easy. In fact, it seems as though it hasn’t let up at all.
While you may not be drowning in a sea of collections notices, you still sometimes feel as though you’re barely keeping your head above water. Succeeding in business takes a unique combination of luck, hard work, and know-how, and while there’s nothing you can do about the luck, and, you’re probably already working like there’s no tomorrow, there’s got to be a little more you can learn to tip the odds further in your favor. Here are six little known tips that can help your small business succeed.
1. Invest in the Right Resources
When you own a small business, it can be tempting to put off expenditures that aren’t emergencies, but when it comes to your business’s success, what you spend money on and when you spend it can be just as important as making money at all. If you fail to invest in the right resources — especially at the outset — you may set yourself up to fail. To avoid that fate, invest in those things that will ensure your success in the long run. While every business is different, investing in marketing and good employees is almost always essential, and due to the ever-changing technological landscape, having a firm plan of investment in your company’s technology needs is a wise move as well.
2. Get Professional Tax Help
Getting professional tax help from a qualified firm like Wallace APC is a smart move for small-business owners. Besides helping you stay on the right side of the law, a crack tax team will assist you in nearly every aspect of your business’s planning to help you spend in a way that relieves your tax burden. From appreciable stock contributions to health care tax credits, the tax code is complicated, lengthy, and constantly changing, which is why getting professional help should be a priority.
3. Find a Mentor
A mentor or coach can help you think through everything from shifting business plans to marketing campaigns, and because a mentor, ideally, isn’t on your payroll, she can be an honest and safe sounding board for you. Pick someone you admire with proven experience with whom you can speak freely, and keep in mind that a good mentor will ask you questions to help you arrive at solutions; she won’t tell you what you should do.
4. Always Do What You Say You Will
There’s a customer service adage in the trades that states, “Under-promise. Over-deliver,” and while that’s one approach to keeping your business’s reputation on solid footing, the real goal is to simply do whatever you say you will. With customers, business partners, service providers, and employees, work hard to follow through on what you say you will, or people will talk, and your business will suffer.
5. Pay Yourself
Many first-time business owners make the mistake of not paying themselves a salary when first starting out, and though it can seem like an obvious way to save money at first glance, what it will actually do is create unnecessary stress for you during a time when stress will already be a near-constant companion. In addition, it’s important for the people with whom you do business to understand when and how you expect to be paid. Whether you collect half your fee up front or you only accept PayPal, make sure your customers and clients understand the ways in which you get paid.
6. Ask for Help When You Need It
While it can seem counter-intuitive, the most important time for a small-business owner to seek out and, if necessary, pay for expert help is when finances are stretched thin, because it’s at this type of crucial juncture that you literally can’t afford to spend any money unwisely. Ask for help whenever your experience or training don’t seem as though they’re on par with the situation you’re facing. Whether you’re in over your head with a potential lawsuit or approaching a significant cash flow crisis, head for higher ground by getting some assistance.
Succeeding in small business is a race not easily won, but by following these six lesser-known tips, your small business stands a greater chance of doing just that.
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