Sawaram Suthar is the founder of TheNextScoop and Jagat Media. A digital marketing consultant, he has experience in branding, promotions, page optimization, research, and strategy. He has an MBA from the University of Pune. Anyone can find him on Twitter @sawarams.
Are you contemplating starting a small business? If yes, here’s a blog that consists of six essential points to consider before taking your first steps.
The entrepreneurial streak among the population is at an all-time high. Owing to the digital revolution and booming startup culture, more and more entrepreneurs continue to bud in different parts of the world daily. However, it is a fact that half of these businesses wind up in the first five years.
In the case of small businesses and startups, the percentage is phenomenally higher. With the competitive business environment and dynamic consumer preferences, a small business owner, before starting operations, must take note of the following vital pointers before starting a small business to rest assured about the sustainability of a business model:
1. Define the target audience beforehand
All successful business empires have one thing in common: they focus on their product offerings and know what runs inside the minds of their consumers. They achieve this by defining their target audience beforehand.
To succeed in a business from a startup, it is really important to identify your target audience and conduct a beta test. When an entrepreneur has the right insights about how consumers feel, he is destined to succeed in his/her entrepreneurial venture.
With its proposition of environmentally friendly products, a growing cosmetics brand, Lush Cosmetics, identified its target audience beforehand and refined the same for better sales. They found out that women will buy their products more than men.
Additionally, they discovered that among women, the ones who are vegans would resonate with the brand better due to its proposition. These findings helped them refine their marketing efforts and streamline their product propositions.
2. Conduct Solid Market Research & Get Useful Insights
A small business is always short on resources. Therefore, the margin of error is quite small. In order to succeed in the venture, it is essential to conduct detailed market research to obtain important insights.
A business owner must focus on involving the target audience in product development through preliminary surveys. This will help him/her deliver according to consumer expectations and minimize chances of failure due to experimentation.
There are several ways for a small business to conduct market research. They can either resort to primary research methods that potentially involve surveying customers digitally or physically or use published data to allow them to understand competition or create benchmarks.
Also, a business must analyze the data and act using digital analytics tools to analyze the data collected from various mediums.
3. Have a solid documented
Planning is the foremost and most important aspect of the success of a business. Failing to plan is, bluntly put, planning to fail. A small business owner must realize this fact early in the game.
A business must have a solid strategy for managing various aspects of business, and everything must be documented clearly to ensure minimal errors during execution. As a plan offers a clear direction to efforts, it offers a better chance at success rather than haphazard experimentation that can potentially cost a business dearly.
Writing a business plan.
To create a solid documented business plan, an entrepreneur must: write down his business’ mission statement, and standards of performance, perform situation analysis; write down strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats; write down buyer persona, target market, and other aspects related to budgeting and marketing to create a document that serves as a guiding stone for future endeavors.
4. Identify innovative technologies for sustained business growth
Technology is the biggest growth facilitator for every small business. Due to disruptions and innovations in the digital sphere and technological advancement, new tools are introduced daily to improve efficiency.
A small business owner must take the time to identify innovative technologies that save time and money; improve control over key decisions, service delivery and customer support for better customer engagement.
After analyzing the latest innovations, he/she must audit the actual business plan from time to time to include the innovations for improving business efficiency and sales revenues.
A small business can use multiple techniques like live chat to improve customer delight, such as utilizing automated chatbots to help handle queries and customer grievances and get qualified leads.
Also, cloud computing makes it possible for small businesses to improve their processes and provide real-time support to the end consumer while helping businesses save money on standalone systems.
5. Arrange for business loans to fund growth ambitions
Funding is an important aspect of any business enterprise, and when it comes to small businesses, it is very important to have sufficient funds to manage operations as well as fund growth ambitions in the long run. In order to succeed in a business venture, an entrepreneur must focus on arranging a business loan at a favorable interest rate.
When getting a business loan, a business needs to understand the loan qualification process and prepare to increase the prospects of approval for the small business loan.
A small business might require a short-term loan to take care of merchant cash advances, receivable financing etc. Also, several methods exist to take care of a business’s long-term funding requirements through business loans for small businesses.
6. Develop a clear marketing strategy & web presence
Small businesses are short on marketing budgets. So, small business owners must be focused on developing a clear strategy for marketing to enable them to avoid excessive expenditure.
Also, a small business must develop relationships with local journalists, industry experts, business organizations and other stakeholders. A small business must also use digital and social media channels for marketing and build a strong web presence that ensures better discovery and improved sales leads to a nominal cost.
According to a study conducted on the ‘benefits and barriers of bringing small businesses online,’ online mediums help small businesses effectively compete with big names in the industry and capture market share at a nominal cost compared to big organizations' budgets.
Also, social media is the preferred mode among small businesses to engage customers online, and they are much more comfortable interacting with customers on social media than hosting a full-fledged website.
Starting a business is an upheaval task, and an entrepreneur has to wear multiple hats while planning for a business. Planning beforehand for a small business makes an entrepreneur better equipped to tackle challenging hurdles easily.
By planning and analyzing various aspects optimally, an entrepreneur can avoid downswings and take a business toward sustainable growth.
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