3 Ways to Increase Your Business’s Chances of Success
by: Gloria Martinez
Starting your own business is a big decision, and you may be worried about failure. Fortunately, there are several areas you can focus on to increase your chances of success.
1. Budget Wisely
Although there are many reasons why businesses fail, data show that the most common reason is trouble with cash flow. Fortunately, financial forecasting can help you manage your company’s money. Estimate income and expenses to create approximated versions of the following documents:
It is a good idea to create both a conservative and an optimistic forecast and figure that your actual revenue will likely fall in between the two estimates. Use your forecast to create a budget for things like advertising, rent, office supplies and other necessary expenses. Carefully consider all expenditures to make sure you are using your money in the most helpful ways.
Look for ways to save money. Buy equipment and furniture second-hand. Use free social media tools to advertise. See if you can get a cheaper rate for recurring services (such as accounting programs) if you pay for a year upfront rather than on a monthly basis. Check with vendors and suppliers to see if they offer discounts for early payments.
2. Build Relationships
Your business does not exist in a vacuum. You need customers, suppliers and mentors. In general, the more people who know (and like) your business, the more likely you are to succeed. Use a variety of marketing strategies to attract customers. Word of mouth is one of the best advertising tools, so make sure you have top-notch customer service so that patrons recommend your company to their friends and family.
Professional contacts are also invaluable, so include networking in your business strategy. Consider joining your local chamber of commerce. This is an organization of business owners who advocate for the interests of local businesses. When you build relationships with the other members, you are building a network of mentors, suppliers and potential partners. Some chambers provide advertising and sponsorship opportunities to members, and many potential customers feel that membership in a chamber of commerce increases a business’s credibility.
3. Stay Organized
Even small companies can become chaotic without proper organization. To begin, choose the business structure that best meets your needs. For example, sole proprietorships don’t require as much paperwork to get started as other structures, but limited liability companies protect the owner’s personal assets. Depending on the location of your business and the structure you choose, you may need to register with your state. Online services can help you stay organized and streamline the formation process for your Maryland LLC.
After the initial paperwork, there will always be more to do. Fortunately, you can use accounting software and apps to minimize the physical paper. Depending on the program, you may be able to set reminders to file taxes, run payroll and perform other administrative tasks.
Regularly declutter your workspace. Set aside time at the beginning or end of every day to tidy up and make sure everything is in the right place for your next work session.
Many individuals dream of being their own boss and starting a business. Few go through with it, and even fewer succeed. Fortunately, by building strong relationships, managing your money and staying organized, you can help your business prosper.
Join the GBBCC (Greater Baltimore Black Chamber of Commerce) today!
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