5 Useful Tips for Small Business Owners
It’s 11pm and you’ve sent 200 emails, made 50 phone calls, became an expert at payroll and counted your revenue for the day, twice. To put it simply, you’re overwhelmed with the feeling that you’re stuck running in place – but remember, it’s all part of the path to profitability. As you begin to run a small business it’s not just important to build new areas of expertise, it’s crucial. The expertise, faith and passion you put into your startup is enough to give it a fighting chance. It’s everything else that it takes to run a business that requires your focus. In order to help, we put together 5 useful tips for small business owners, which includes how small business owners save money.
Running a business means you are constantly learning. Your struggles will turn into triumphs and you will learn new things about yourself and your business in the process. This can also be accomplished by discovering a blueprint for growth for your company. With this, you will find the processes and practices that fits your business best. Once this is done, you’ll need to focus on yourself. Sometimes this is the hardest part. Becoming a skilled business owner takes time, dedication, and sometimes advice from others.
Coming from someone who has walked the startup journey, it’s our duty as entrepreneurs to share our learnings and help everyone we can reach success. Continuing on from part 1 of the Blueprint of Successful Business Owners, here are the 5 useful tips for small business owners that will aid your business’s growth process and ease the shift from being a skilled expert to a business owner:
- How small business owners save money = Become process minded: You may have quit your job because you didn’t receive the freedom you deserve; a business owner would take this opportunity to get ready for structure. You must constantly be looking at how to build processes for your team and customers that will make their jobs easier.
“It’s about finding your values, and committing to them. It’s about finding your North Star. It’s about making choices. Some are easy. Some are hard. And some will make you question everything.”- Tim Cook
Becoming process minded means breaking the habit of being goal oriented. In startup companies and in life, goals are necessary. However, achieved goals are not the only trademark of success. Olympic athletes acquire their gold medals by perfecting their processes and implementing them into every training, competition, and trial. The same should go for your startup. A proven plan of action will be the MVP of your business.
You will need to begin focusing on the ‘how’ and make sure your team is synched into the flow. This means implementing ethical practices that take twice as long as an easy fix. It’s looking at what worked and what didn’t work, what could be improved upon next time, and ultimately swapping out ingredients until you find your company’s secret sauce to efficiency, your process.
Keep in mind, your business’s process is only as good as its level of efficiency and effectiveness. In an essay titled “Advice to a Young Tradesman, Written by an Old One” (how fitting) Ben Franklin scripted possibly the three most iconic words in business, “time is money”. This concept was true in 1748 and now, 268 years later it still applies it you, me, and every other business owner out there. To put it simply, you and your team’s time needs to be focused on producing desired results in a timely manner. You can’t afford to waste time, becoming process minded will save you money.
- Create a Marketing Strategy for your Small Business : In today’s digital world, we suffer from content overload. Consumers have many channels fighting for their attention – Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, TV, Text Messaging with GIF’s, YouTube – all of which take time and energy to ingest. This means that the time devoted to seeing your advertisement is shredded by everything else. You must spend more time preparing creative strategies (audience, advertising channels, time of day) and run them through a sales machine that can turn them from prospects into customers.
“I measure my success by asking myself some very simple questions: Did I go to bed richer than when I woke up? Did I help my investors do the same? What can I do better, or differently, tomorrow?” – Kevin O’Leary
If you’re embarking on your startup venture without a marketing background, figuring out how to make your brand known can be daunting. I left the comforts of a corporate office to address this trend for small businesses everywhere. There are too many small businesses and tireless entrepreneurs out there not reaching their full potential. Not because of their product or service, but because creating a world class marketing strategy that produces results is rarely an organic internal function. We believe in your beautiful product, your business, your vision, and you. Bluume was created to help business owners just like you because we see the struggles you face.
We understand that your business is unique and we know that you can take it to the next level. Our company specializes in transforming businesses into sales machines. We help business owners attract new customers, build them into raving fans, and generate growth. Our mission is help companies “Bluume”.
- Growing a Small Business Means Trusting Others with Your Vision: That’s right – It is important to understand that since you are running a business and you will end up spending more time doing things such as; technology selection, raising capital, financial deals with partners, employee relations and everything else in between.
You will need to be flexible. Some aspects of your business will require much more attention than others. You will find yourself obtaining new skills and using old ones. In the early stages of your business, you will always be spending a significant amount of time on everything, but your product. It might be a scary thought, but in the end not only will you evolve and grow, but your business will as well.
“Nothing in life is more wonderful than faith-the one great moving force which we can neither weigh in the balance nor test in the crucible.”- Willaim Olser
Up until this point in your career you probably had a steady job, most likely a consistent job that you excelled at. A job that through the years depended less on webinars and google searches and more on your expertise. These are the comforting delights of being an expert in your field and soon they become found, distant memories when you shift to a small business owner. There will be days, weeks, and maybe even a month where you don’t touch your product because you’re too busy wearing every other hat of the business. Get comfortable wearing the project manager hat, banker hat, tech support hat, and human resources hat. Wear them as long as it takes – don’t worry they will look great on you.
- Successful Business Owners Know How to Balance Theory and Action: When you run a business you need to find a good balance between theory and action. If you spend too much time on one or the other your company won’t function the way it should. This will eventually leave your clients and customers waiting, while your internal processes stay broken and you won’t make any money.
“Life is about execution rather than purpose.”- Nassim Nicholas Taleb
You’re only human and abstract thoughts are inevitable. While in the midst of developing your small business you will be bombarded with meetings, conversations, podcasts, and articles that will have you speculating and second guessing. Frankly, your thought receptors will be firing off likes its the 4th of July while trying to grow your small business. The balance part is contingent on your personality. Are you the sit, stir, and stress type who shies away from action? Or are you the notorious impulse decision maker? Whichever you are, it’s important to recognize these personality traits and work to balance them.
Somewhere between your theory and action are your instincts, something that shouldn’t be ignored. Steve jobs referred to intuition as, “more powerful than intellect”, in which I agree. You have been preparing your whole life for this, It’s not always easy, but go with your gut. The success of your start up depends on it.
- Time Management Tips for Business Owners– Free time will disappear (if you aren’t protective): Creative people cherish their free time, in fact, they generally use it for inspiration. Once you shift from being a skilled expert to the one in charge, you will always be on the clock; most business owners know this feeling. The challenge with this is your creative time will begin to dissipate. You must protect how you refuel and how you stay motivated – don’t excuse it away.
“We hold ourselves back in ways both big and small, by lacking self-confidence, by not raising our hands, and by pulling back when we should be leaning in.” – Sheryl Sandberg
Pulling the keyword from my previous thought, balance is something to strive for. A healthy work-life balance will maintain your inner equilibrium and keep creativity in reach. According to Forbes, “creativity is perhaps the key attribute most needed and desired to address our 21st century business challenges”. Think of this in terms of a canoe floating downstream; paddle too long on side you’ll never reach your destination. You didn’t work tirelessly all these years to ultimately burn out. The stats, facts, and expertise you have acquired are your foundation, it’s your ingenuity that will make your business unique.
Getting locked in your work grind/ tunnel vision for days on end will leave you wiped of creativity and color. Whether it’s a gym class or trying a new restaurant with friends, these bursts of inspiration and energy are crucial in the “shift”. Any and all free time can double as research and development for your business if you look at it the right way.
Transforming your passion into a profession and profession into ownership is one of the most rewarding accomplishments in the world. At the end of the day, you know that you are fighting for your team, for your clients and for your beliefs. With those priorities as your foundation, you know you can’t fail.