Running a business is hard work. Running a successful business is even harder. If you're a greenhorn entrepreneur, or an aspiring one, there are a few challenges that you'll have to overcome. You'll soon discover that problems arise faster than you can solve them, your company isn't growing fast as you hoped it would, and, despite your best efforts your business just isn't making enough profit. But overcoming challenges is what entrepreneurship is all about. And here are a few simple tips that can help you turn your business into a successful venture:
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Customer satisfaction is everything
The customer is king. This adage holds true for all businesses because unless your customers are happy, your business doesn't stand a chance of being successful. To ensure maximum satisfaction, abide by the highest standards of quality in every single thing you do. Launching a new product? Make sure it's the absolute best it can be. Trying to woo customers through online marketing? Always go for quality over quantity with content and advertisements. Customer service too plays a vital role in cultivating a successful business. Solve your customers’ problems proactively and immediately and you'll win yourself a fan for life. And after all, a satisfied customer is the best marketing policy a business can have.
Take quantifiable actions
Like Newton said, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. As an entrepreneur, it's your job to make sure that the unique reaction of each individual action is measured so that you know what is working for your business and what isn't. For example, if you're offering a discount and are sharing coupon codes for this purpose on several websites and social media apps, you can use unique codes on each platform to see which one is yielding the highest returns. This allows you to concentrate your efforts on those few platforms where your business has the highest success.
Break it down
Grand visions are seldom achieved by taking grand actions. Oftentimes they are the result of smaller actions that accumulate and ultimately contribute to the greater whole. Entrepreneurs would do well to remember Laozi's saying: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Every time you have a daunting task to complete, break it down into as many smaller tasks as possible and get started on solving them one at a time. This will make your goal a lot easier to achieve because each smaller task you complete gives you a sense of satisfaction and keeps your motivation levels up.
Build and maintain a stellar reputation
Reputation is everything in the business world. No one wants to work with a person who has a bad reputation, and since entrepreneurs are the face of their businesses, a bad personal rep translates to the same for the company. The surest way to build a solid reputation is by always delivering on your promises. No matter how insignificant it may seem to you, if you've said that you're going to do something then do it. And do it on, or preferably ahead, of schedule. Make this a regular habit and people will start viewing you as a reliable person and they'll be more likely to refer you, and by extension your business, to others. And one more thing – always under-promise and over-deliver. Making extravagant promises when you have no chance of fulfilling them will only serve to damage your credibility.
Be a frugal spender
A lack of financial control is one of the most common causes attributed to the failure of a business. Out of the several financial mistakes that you can make as an entrepreneur, spending excessively and without reason is the most easily avoidable. It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of running a company and splurging to upgrade your office with a fancy decor, Play Station, Foosball table, and fridge stocked with the most expensive energy drinks. While ‘cool offices’ are one of the main attractions of working in a startup, remember that you can't afford a fancy office, much less hire employees, if your business isn't returning a regular profit. The same goes for over-hiring or spending massive amounts of money on dubious marketing practices. Frugality is a trait that always serves entrepreneurs well. You can hold off on the lavish spending until your business starts returning sizeable profits consistently.
The 80/20 rule, or the Pareto principle as it's also known, states that, for many events, 80 percent of the output comes from 20 percent of the input. This rule is a favourite of entrepreneurs for one key reason — it can be applied to almost all aspects of business. From developing an effective marketing strategy to increasing sales to measuring and improving productivity, the 80/20 rule serves as the governing principle for maximising effectuality. Take marketing for example, nearly all businesses maintain an active presence on all the major social media sites to increase awareness, engagement, and conversions. But you will notice that most of their customers are arriving from one or two platforms at the most. If your online advertisements or marketing campaigns are seeing more engagement on, say, Facebook and Instagram, it makes sense to curb your efforts on sites like Twitter or LinkedIn and focus more on those sites which are working for your company.
In an addition to their business, entrepreneurs need to make sure that they're at their individual best as well. Here are a few skills and principles you as an entrepreneur would do well to inculcate.