Owning a small business means you need to forge your own path. It’s in the DNA of an Entrepreneur. That said, you can learn a lot from those who have come before you. Many successful small business owners share their tips for success, and we’ve identified a few common themes that can guide you to the right path.
Your first idea won’t be your last, and it may not even be your best. If your customers are telling you they ‘like it, but…’ ask them what would make it better, and keep trying until you get it right. Nearly every successful business person has had to make changes from their original plan.
But it isn’t just small businesses that can benefit from being flexible. One of the most successful products of manufacturing giant 3M is the Post-It Note. Everybody uses these removable sticky notes, but not everyone knows that a 3M employee invented them because they kept losing little scraps of paper on their desk. The management at 3M, which was originally a mining and manufacturing company, saw that there was a need for the now-ubiquitous notes and put them into production.
If one product or service doesn’t sell well, try another. If one customer demographic isn’t right, target another. If you suffer a setback, get up and try again.
Many legendary entrepreneurs credit their initial failures with giving them the drive and ambition to succeed, including Bill Gates, James Dyson, Steve Jobs, and Thomas Edison, who famously said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Surround yourself with people who are as flexible and persistent as you are, and who are dedicated to achieving (or have already achieved) success. Self-proclaimed ‘serial entrepreneur’ Adrienne Graham says, “Align yourself with visionaries and game changers who are about forward movement. They are always mindful that what got them here won’t get them there.”
Use social media
Social media for small businesses is a game changer. It’s pervasive, it’s immediate, and it can be free. If something doesn’t work, you can take it down and start again. Social media is the fastest way to get the word about your products and services, and it truly levels the playing field for small businesses.
Keep a positive attitude
If running your business isn’t fun, you shouldn’t be doing it. There will be bumps in the road, certainly, but overall you should be able to keep a positive attitude. Believe in yourself and in your business.
Take the right risks
Entrepreneurship is a risky endeavor, and if you don’t want to take any risk at all, it’s probably not for you. But you need to know which risks are worth taking. Know which risks to avoid, and which to protect yourself against because they’re unavoidable. The first step to protecting yourself is making sure that you have small business insurance that is tailored to your specific risks.