Eight out of ten businesses fail within the first 18 months, according to Forbes, because of poor leadership, a lack of communication and the failure to stay in touch with customers. Another reason businesses fail is because they run out of cash. But your business doesn’t have to succumb to these same statistics. In fact, you can increase your chances for success by following just four major tips.
Create a Business Plan
Your business plan is your blueprint for what you’re trying to achieve. Create at least one plan each year and communicate your goals and objectives to employees. Some of the elements of a successful business plan are a company description, list of your products and services, market analysis, the organizational structure of your business, a marketing plan and financial projections, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. Use metrics such as market share, earnings per share and sales to track your success. Tweak your plan as needed to meet all objectives.
Conduct Marketing Research
You must obtain feedback from your customers to track their satisfaction levels and needs. Execute in-person, phone or online surveys, depending on the type of business you run. If you sell medical products and need to collect a plethora of data, an in-person interview may work best. Conduct an ample number of surveys so your data is projectable across your entire customer base. Three hundred surveys is usually adequate. Study your customers’ feedback and make changes as needed to keep your customers happy.
Manage Your Expenses
Always look for ways to cut unnecessary or superfluous expenses. Shop around for cheaper office supplies and equipment. Install energy-efficient lighting. When choosing vendors, such as restaurant supplies for your business, select those which meet your demands with respect to offerings and delivery schedules. Some companies, like Budget Restaurant Supply, have a myriad of kitchen and food preparation equipment. It’s important to get the right supplies and be prepared for opening day. Don’t hire vendors until you get at least two other price quotes from their competitors.
Learn to promote your products online. Hire a search engine optimization specialist who can help you achieve high rankings in major search engines. This is the best way to drive traffic to your site. Create interesting tips about using your products and services. Share them on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Include your website on business cards and all printed materials.
Start putting these tips into action if you haven’t already, as you will be pleasantly surprised by the results. But don’t try to accomplish everything yourself. Delegate to competent employees and departments and hold them accountable for attaining goals, too.
What top tip can you share to help other startup businesses surpass the 18 month failure rate? Please share in the comment box!