Thursday, 23 September 2010

Five obstacles for the small business owner to overcome

Entrepreneurs are the foundation of any economy and have been around since there was profit to be made. However Rome wasn't built in a day and the company founder didn't start out working from a top floor, corner office. All entrepreneurs have obstacles that need to be solved.
Below are some points gathered from successful businesses for you to consider.

  • New businesses need capital
    The rule of thumb is that the entrepreneur should have access to a sum of money at least equal to the projected revenue of their first year plus anticipated expenses. Without this sum, a new business runs a high risk of failure.

  • Costs of Marketing
    It's no secret that traditional forms of marketing can be quite expensive. However, with the evolution of social media marketing, marketing and promotion are easier cheaper and arguably more effective thanks to the wide and integrated audience at one's disposal. A company website has the ability to project a business owner's vision with companies operating from a bedroom able to look as competent, and often more professional, than larger corporations!

  • Juggling priorities
    Things go wrong and multiple small tasks need to be completed. Whatever the business, the phone needs answering, the printer needs mending, the post needs sending, and the clients have to be invoiced. Whereas in a big office there is an employee for every role, working from home means answering every call and dealing with admin as much as building the business. Expect this and either budget the time or calculate how much this is costing you and outsource where possible.

  • Starbucks is not ideal
    The struggle for the small or one person business is to appear credible against larger more established competitors. An account with a virtual office offers access to meeting rooms, receptionists, admin support and more on a pay-per-service basis. It projects a professional image for a new business economically.

  • Fear of the unknown
    Choosing an unknown name presents risks for the buyer if things go wrong so you will need to build relationships and a trustworthy reputation. Monitoring feedback enables you to respond promptly and show growth. Unique selling points, case studies and testimonials can all help.
Successful entrepreneurs will admit to having faced a variety of obstacles along the way. In fact they take pride in having overcome those obstacles. Success in business is a process. There is no beginning and end. There will always be hurdles to overcome. Don't feel discouraged. Running a small business has a lot of advantages, so hang tight. With patience, creativity and resourcefulness, that big mountain will soon look like a little bump.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Five questions to ask yourself before you start your small business

Starting a business is a daunting and exciting prospect. Before you jump in here are some questions to ask yourself:

1. What do I enjoy doing?

Consider what you love to do, your passions and skills. It will be your passion that drives you forward through the tough times when you are building your business.

2. Can I improve on current offerings?

Look at the current market and evaluate your future competitors. Develop and define a unique selling point for your business whether it's a personal mission statement, green ethics or innovation.

3. Is there a gap in the market that I can exploit?

Maybe you have tried to find a service or product that just doesn't seem to exist. If you are looking for something it is possible that others are too. Research the idea and potential market thoroughly and gauge how much people would be prepared to pay for it.

4. Does my business have a niche market? And how do I access them?

If you can find a niche market for your business then this can reduce the barriers to entry by reducing competition. However consider how you are going to access the niche market and it's potential for growth.

5. Am I making all possible profit from my business idea without compromising the delivery and my ideals?

Consider other ways to deliver your service or knowledge, online, in print or in person. Also, if your website performs well, can you make extra money from advertising or paid for content. Make sure all actions are consistent with your brand and don't diverge from your ideals.