Building your small business can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be impossible.
According to Search Engine Journal, more than 500,000 small businesses are launched every month. Anyone who has ever undergone the process of starting a small business understands that it can be difficult.
In fact, it feels impossible at times.
Between attracting customers, building a web site, publishing content, and developing your voice, you’ve got your hands full, and most founders are desperate for a few tricks of the trade to streamline the process.
Luckily, we’ve got a few tips to help you stay on-track, cool-headed and organized as you work to get your small business off the ground.
10 Smart DIY Tips for Building a Small Business
By following these ten tips, you can simplify your launch process and help turn your small business into a successful one:
1. Create an old-school budget
Budgeting isn’t about tracking where every cent is being invested. It’s more about discovering how you’re using your money, and planning to use it better.
If you haven’t already built a budget for your company, consider going old-school with it. Create an Excel sheet that will allow you to categorize your major spending categories, and then track your spending over a few months.
To ensure your budget is working for you rather than against you, remember to factor in the success (or lack thereof) of your various marketing tactics. For example, if pay-per-click marketing has been falling a little flat lately, you can either alter your strategy or allocate more of the budget to something that is working, like content creation.
By creating a budget and staying on top of it, you allow yourself to become the master of your financial house, which makes for a more efficient small business.
2. Outsource whatever you can
Outsourcing is a fantastic way to preserve your time and sanity without compromising the quality of your work. Popularized by lifestyle gurus like Tim Ferriss, outsourcing is an excellent tactic for any small business owner who wants to focus on what he or she finds fun.
For best results. Consider outsourcing things like content creation, keyword research, social media marketing, and SEO.
The average small business owner struggles with these things, and mastering them takes lots of time. Because of this, you’ll likely have less stress and a more lucrative and targeted marketing plan if you outsource some of it to a professional or team of professionals who can manage it for you.
3. Don’t hesitate to trim the fat
One of the reasons start-ups and small businesses get stuck in the “start-up” phase is due to an unwillingness to change their original modus operandi.
If we’re realistic, the original inception of your company probably won’t (and likely shouldn’t) be the same thing as the final product.
With that in mind, you must be willing to review your business plan from time to time and remove, reduce or reorganize what is not working for you.
This helps things stay functional and ensures you’re not wasting your efforts and resources in places they don’t belong.
4. Don’t stress if you aren’t raking in profits right away
When your business is in its early stages, it’s unlikely that you will be swimming in profit.
Of course, you don’t want to be in the red, or struggling to keep afloat, but you also shouldn’t worry too much about being in the “broke start-up” phase.
Remember: Apple, which has long since been the world’s most valuable company, was founded in a garage.
Right now, it’s more important to get a good business plan in place and to spend your time developing your product. In all businesses, it takes some time for things to take off.
Do not let this panic you. Establish the bones first, and the profit will come later.
5. Let go of perfection
In so many places in life, a project is better complete than perfect.
While we all want to show the world our best work, we’d likely never have any work to offer if we insist that everything we do be perfect. With that in mind, develop your standards, focus on quality, strive to be your best, but don’t stress over unrealistic ideals.
As a small business founder, you’ve got enough on your plate, and getting a quality product to your customers is enough to worry about – forget perfection.
6. Keep your customer in mind at every turn in the road
A small business that loses sight of its customers is one that’s bound to fail. With this in mind, ensure that your client is your priority at all time.
While there are many ways to do this, here are some of the most powerful things you can do:
- Poll your readers. Your customers want to take an active role in your business, and one of the best things you can do to build a bridge with them is to ask for their input and ideas consistently. According to the Harvard Business Review, letting your customers define perfection is a critical step in building a successful company.
- Read and respond to comments. Show your customers that you’re listening to them and engaged with them by reading and responding to their remarks. In addition to making your customers more likely to engage with your business further in the future, this step also positions you as an engaged, caring, active company that loves its customers. For an example of a company that masters this, check out Innocent Drinks:
- Adjust anything that isn’t working. A critical part of keeping your customers around is ensuring you aren’t doing things that push your customers away. Polling your customers regularly will help you identify what’s working and what’s not, but you’ll also need to tap into things like your website analytics and user numbers. When you locate something that could use an overhaul, change it or get rid of it completely. This will help you keep your customers close and ensure that you’re not inadvertently driving sales away.
- Strive to provide value, always. The best thing you can do to put your customers first is to provide as much value as possible. This means quality, well-written content, thoughtful problem-solving, helpful products, and experiences that keep the user at the forefront. By striving for these things, you can quickly help your small business build a stable foundation.
7. Nurture your community
Community is essential for so many things, and it’s especially critical for small businesses. Building a community of customers helps you make sales and build your brand while building a community of like-minded peers helps you mine new ideas and navigate your way to success.
With this in mind, make building your community while building your small business one of your top priorities. While much of this will happen naturally through quality content and a customer-centric approach, you can also take your efforts a step further by joining social media groups, attending trade fairs, and getting involved in your industry’s conversations with a platform like Quora or Reddit.
While so many marketers and founders get caught up in selling first, the real focus should be building your community, and trusting that the sales will follow.
8. Invest in your vision
There is such a thing as being too money savvy while building your small business.
While it’s smart for small business owners to strive to save money, it’s also essential for SMBs to invest in their vision.
According to WebStrategies, most companies are allocating 30% of their budgets to marketing right now. Experts estimate that this number will climb to 35% by 2019.
With that in mind, don’t hesitate to spend some money on quality marketing. This includes content, social media material, web page material, and custom graphics.
9. Set attainable goals
Every month, you should outline some clear company goals.
These don’t have to be elaborate, but they should be attainable.
By setting easily attainable goals, you can ensure that you’re meeting your milestones. You’ll also build your confidence, and learn to understand where you can best allocate your resources and efforts.
10. Stay patient and ask for help
Starting a small business is difficult, and you’ll face some trying times.
Luckily, you’re not alone.
All small business founders face these struggles, and you’ll be better off if you can simply embrace the challenges. With this in mind, ask for help when needed, and work toward your goals patiently and tenaciously.
Building Your Small Business Just Got Easier
While creating a small business can be difficult, it’s far from impossible. With these ten tips, you can streamline the process and ensure you’re avoiding simple mistakes. This, in turn, enhances your chances of success.
If you need assistance with your small business marketing, outsource some of your responsibilities to simplify your life.
At Proline Creative, we specialize in helping small businesses build their brand online. We’re happy to help take some of the load off of your shoulders.
Contact us today to learn more!