There are many ways to run a small business, but in order to succeed, there are five key things you’ll need to keep at the centre of everything you do.
Determination is the most important characteristic for an entrepreneur. Determination isn’t just a synonym for drive – it doesn’t simply mean never giving up. It means having a clear goal, a vision, and the belief and self-discipline to make it happen, and it’s this that will carry you past every other hurdle.
A Business Plan
It’s shocking how many innovative thinkers and experienced industry pros think they can set up a new company without a business plan. This is the road map that will guide your business, and planning your route is vital. The process of writing a plan will expose goals and risks that you may not have previously thought of, and when you’re making crucial decisions further down the line, it provides a reference and reminder of your long-term strategy. Startups can find advice and templates on the Government’s small business website.
Don’t be afraid to update your business plans when the landscape changes. Clarity and flexibility are compatible, and embracing change is vital in order to stay at the forefront of your industry. Many small businesses are built on the David and Goliath strategy, which involves using your flexibility to drive experimentation and innovation in a way larger competitors won’t: your larger rivals will then seek to integrate your assets or business model into their work, presenting the opportunity for lucrative partnerships and buyouts. Actually achieving this end goal is tricky, but keeping an open mind and flexible attitude to foster an innovative corporate culture isn’t.
Whether you have an exciting idea for a piece of software or you’ve found a niche market in retail, you need to protect your assets. Copyrights, patents and insurance are all vital tools that will help secure your business and minimise the risk of theft.
Funding is important but it’s not the only kind of support a small business needs. You’ll also need loyal clients, dedicated staff, and every favour you can find. Court these things through positive client engagement, rewarding employees, maximising business services, and tapping into local support networks like the Forum of Private Business, the Federation of Small Businesses, and the British Chambers of Commerce. You can even find support from your business necessities: for example, American Express Small Business Services provide their Platinum Charge Card customers with a concierge service to help with travel arrangements. By utilising helpful programmes like these, you’ll find the support you need to push past obstacles and reach your goals.