10 Keys to Small Business Success
1. Pay Your Taxes
I know it sounds like a given but if this is your first small business, you may be surprised at how often you have to handle taxes. As a rule of thumb, if you make more than $400 in one year, you have to file taxes quarterly. However, if it’s in the middle of a year and you shift from being an employee to being self-employed, there aren’t any penalties if you don’t file quarterly taxes for the rest of that year. That being said, make sure that you’re saving up money for your taxes but if you are in doubt, check with an Accountant.
2. Don’t Forget Your Small Business Plan
It’s an old-school method but its “tried & true” and works. Before you try to open up your doors and build a website, make sure that you have a business plan set up and that you’ve checked up on it at least once. This plan will include goals, a marketing plan, etc.
3. Assess Your Business Goals
I just mentioned it in the previous bullet point but it’s so important that I want to mention it again. Make sure that you’re checking in with your small business goals. In the beginning, you should be checking in on it at least once a week after you open your doors.
4. Updated Website and Blog
A “dead” blog is worse than not having one at all. So if you don’t have time to update it regularly or the money to hire someone to do it for you, then don’t have one at all. It should be updated at least once a week to make sure that there is current information and that you’re keeping up with the trends.
Your website should be updated with new information as soon as possible. As for the layout and design, I suggest doing a quarterly change (change it every season). If you don’t have that much time or money yet, change it at least twice a year.
5. Networking Is Annoying but Important
Socializing is a great way to meet new clients, potential customers, and possible partners. Not only that, it’s healthy to get up and out from behind your desk once and a while. Going to trade show is good for building connections and relationships with people, and for generating new ideas.
6. Celebrate Your Successes with Your Team
Your employees will enjoy the break from work and it will help build morale if you celebrate even small successes. It may sound cheesy but if you keep a goal up in the break room and update your progress, it will help motivate your team to reach that goal. Then celebrate your success after you have all completed it by whatever seems appropriate: a party, new supplies for the break room (something fun – not staplers), etc.
Remember that you hired your team for a reason. They all have a job to complete. Micromanaging their job for them wastes your time and theirs (and also your money). You’re paying them to do their jobs, so let them.
In addition to that, don’t be afraid to delegate work as you see fit. You are pretty awesome for being able to turn your dream into a reality but you’re not Superwoman. You can’t do everything yourself.
8. Target Located and Locked On!
You can’t be everything to everyone. Just the same, your target market (for your product or service) can’t be “everyone”. You need to zone in on a target market. You may attract a lot of people outside of that market and that’s great. However, you still need to create a focus in order to make a good marketing plan.
9. Show Your Gratitude
Don’t forget to show your gratitude toward the people who helped you open your doors. In addition, you should constantly be showing your gratitude toward your team and your customers as well. “Customer Appreciation” events are a great way to show that. As are incentives and treats in the break room for your staff. Company trips are also a great idea.
10. Don’t Be Afraid to Be Different
Standing out from the crowd is a great way to build up your brand. Your “brand” is basically how you want to represent yourself and your business. Nike has branded themselves as a great athletic shoe. Starbucks has branded themselves as a trendy café with a cozy environment. Convey a unique brand for yourself as well.