The typical 9 to 5 can get tiring and tedious.
From the early mornings to the long commute, to the nagging boss, and everything in between.
Most people can feel burnt out within just a few months of taking on traditional employment.
So it’s no surprise that there’s been a boom in small business ventures in Australia.
In fact, statistics have found that there are 2,065,523 small businesses currently operating in the country.
This accounts for 97% of all Australian businesses.
If there’s anything we can learn from these numbers, it’s that anyone can start a business these days.
So if you were looking for a way to leave traditional employment while still earning (possibly more), then there are a load of ventures you can start.
Keep in mind though, while it is possible to meet success with a small business, it’s not risk-free.
Before you dive right in and shell out your capital, here’s a bunch of stuff you need to know to secure success.
Make Sure It’s Interesting to You
One of the main reasons why people try their hand at business ownership is because of the pains of traditional employment.
No one wants to spend their days doing something that they don’t truly enjoy. So in the same light, it would pay to consider the kind of business that’s right for you not just based on what would make the most profit, but also on what you truly like to do.
There’s no point escaping a desk job if you’re only going to start a business that will make you feel the same way.
But if you choose something you’re truly passionate about, or something that you really know and feel good at, then your chances for long-term success sky rocket.
Here are a few tips to figure out what venture would be best for you:
- Think about your passions – What do you really like to do? Or what certain products and services do you find most interesting or satisfying? Debbi Fields can be a great example of turning a simple passion into a booming business. She started off just baking cookies in her home and selling them to neighbours. Today, she’s known as the iconic Mrs. Fields, with hundreds of branches worldwide.
- Think about your frustrations – The owner of the entertainment platform juggernaut Netflix one explained that he got the idea for the business because he had accumulated a late fee from Blockbuster. Although it might seem like a minor issue, his frustration with the available service urged him to establish what’s known today as the ultimate entertainment platform.
Get Ready to Dedicate Your Time
If you thought that putting up your own business would save you from having to spend all your time working, think again. A small start-up business will call for lots of your time. Think along the lines of every waking moment. Mostly, that’s because of these reasons:
- There won’t be a lot of other people. Unless you’ve got a lot of capital at the start to hire a bunch of workers and pay them regularly, then you’ll have to do most of the vital tasks on your own. That includes managing, auditing, accounting, setting schedules, and providing customer support, to name a few. Once you grow, you can start hiring more people to delegate tasks. But at the get-go, be ready to do most of it yourself.
- Start-ups require intensive care. You’re breaking into an industry that’s probably already satiated with other SMEs offering similar products and services. So unless you’re aggressive right off the bat, you might fizzle out into the background. Starting a new venture means bringing out the big guns and spending all your time to make sure you get enough traction to move into more stable ground.
- You know the vision. Even if you’re hiring a few people to kick off your new business, no one knows the vision like you do. So it will take your guidance and instruction for your workers to be on the same page. To do that, you’ll have to spend a lot of time working alongside your hires to make sure they’re able to achieve their tasks to meet the end goal you have in mind.
Competition Won’t Make It Easy
Aside from the internal challenges of running a business, there are those that exist outside of your control.
Your competition will be one of them. Businesses appealing to the same audience you’re trying to win over will do what it takes to maintain their dominance.
The last thing they’d want is to have a rookie venture take their growing patronage.
So expect a bunch of businesses to roll out their own discount offers and promos right around the time that you’re launching your brand.
This is their way of neutralizing any attention you get because it might damage their own sales and prominence.
There are a few ways to can minimize the impact of competition on those crucial first months of operation.
Here are some steps you can take to stand-out in the midst of thick competition:
- Differentiate yourself. Using a different approach to your marketing plan will help set you apart from your competition. And when your audience sees that you’re a fresh new brand, it becomes easier for them to step out and give you a try. If you go the other direction and try to exude the same qualities and personality as existing competition, then your market might not see the point of making the switch – since there’s not a lot of difference.
- Get aggressive on all marketing fronts. If there’s one thing that you can use to overtake your competition, it’s your marketing plan. Making ripples in the community through your marketing can increase public interest in your venture and thus generate more sales. Maintaining prominence int he public eye through digital and direct mail marketing tools can help make you look like a formidable brand.
- Know your target. While it might seem like your target isn’t any different from that of your competition, there are subtle differences that you can leverage to make a bigger impact. For example, minor differences in the age of your target demographic can mean that you can tweak your marketing voice so they can better relate with your brand.
Don’t Be Fooled By ‘Busy’ Tasks
There are a lot of things that need to get done if you want to see your business through to success. But don’t be fooled – there are lots of busy distractions that might seem necessary, but will only actually eat up your time.
Case in point – designing complicated logos, direct mail material, and posting on your social media pages.
Okay, don’t get this wrong. Those are important tasks. But you don’t want to eat up all of your time doing everything except actually selling or providing services.
As a rule of thumb, if it’s a task that you can get someone else to do, you probably should. This frees up your time and lets you focus on the core of your venture such as training your personnel and managing the provision of services or the selling of goods.
Our services provide you clear-cut solutions for kicking off your marketing strategy so you won’t have to.
We’ve helped countless businesses grow their small start-ups to self-sustaining income-generating success stories by way of our fool-proof, bespoke marketing plans.
So if you want to free up your time for more important tasks, pay us a visit to find out how we can help.
It Pays to Prepare for the Worst
Let’s say you run a home cleaning business, and a client gives you a call to tell you that they were absolutely unhappy about the services they received.
What would you do about it? How would you pacify them to prevent them from spreading the news and possibly tainting your reputation?
Before you even get started on offering services or selling products, you should consider the worst case scenario.
Coming up with standard responses and solutions for some of the problems you might encounter will keep you from developing contingency plans on the fly.
Think about your industry and the most common complaints that businesses in it face.
If you were a customer or client, what could a business like yours do to make you lash out and ask for a refund?
There are typical slip-ups and challenges that businesses face in every individual industry.
And knowing what those might be for your venture can help you develop a plan B in case you run into an untoward incident.
Math Can Get Tricky
Even the most experienced professionals who deal with complicated math day in and day out can easily get thrown off by the complex nature of business accounting.
Some people tend to feel comfortable and lax with their numbers because hey, it’s just a small business.
Unfortunately, that’s also the reason why lots of ventures fail. It doesn’t matter how small you spend or make throughout the lifespan of your business.
Those numbers can slip by and confuse you into thinking you’ve turned a profit when you actually incurred a loss.
Whether or not you’re seeking funding or paying for everything yourself, it pays to be pristine with your sheets.
Log down all of the money that goes in and out of your venture. By developing a solid cashflow, you can see whether you’ve paid off your capital expenses, and if you’ve actually made a profit after the time you’ve spent on the market.
Friends Aren’t the Best Partners
There’s just something comforting about having a friend or family member on the same boat.
Being so close to each other, there’s probably nothing that could go wrong if you decide to take on a venture as partners. Right? Well, not exactly.
The thing about partnering up is that you can’t just choose based on who you want to spend time with.
Finding someone with a similar mindset, goal, and work ethic can make it easier for you to manage your business without the minor rifts.
Even the best of friends can become mortal enemies in the thick of business management.
So there’s really a lot more to choosing a partner than simply skimming through your list of BFF’s.
In fact, most experts recommend steering clear of friends and family all together – not just when choosing a partner.
Hiring friends and relatives to work for you in any way, shape, or form simply opens up the possibility of disagreement and argument.
In that sense, it might be better off to hire complete strangers instead so you don’t end up losing all your friends.
Keep Prices Fair
When we say that you should ‘keep prices fair’, we’re not just talking about your market’s perception of cheap.
A fair price gives your clients or customers good value for the services and products they pay for, while giving you just compensation for the goods and services you provide.
That means that aside from your offers being affordable for your audience, they should also be big enough to earn you a substantial profit to maintain operations.
So what exactly is a ‘substantial’ profit? Let’s say you made $300 in revenue today, and $128 of that goes to your workers.
Another portion – $80 – goes to the cost of consumable materials you used to be able to render your service.
Finally, $24 went to miscellaneous expenses required throughout the day.
That leaves you with $68 in profit. Assuming that you operate five days a week, four weeks a month, and twelve months in a year, that only makes you a measly $16,320 in profit throughout a calendar year.
Now, sure you turned a profit, but was the profit enough to meet your needs?
Don’t be tempted into offering deep discounts and freebies to increase your sales.
While it might seem like a good way to snag the customers and clients, it can damage your income and push your business to closure.
Keep things fair – as long as prices are reasonable, there’s no reason to try to bring them down.
If you’re looking for expert consultation to help you out with the marketing end of your operations, don’t hesitate to reach out.
Having helped countless small business grow stable and sustained income, we take pride in our fool-proof marketing strategies that take the burden off your shoulders so you can focus on other core tasks that need your attention.
So contact us today and find out how we can help you move mountains and reach the right clients with your soon-to-be cleaning service.
Neil is the Founder at Get Found Marketing and Start Your Home Business. He specializes in managing marketing campaigns for local businesses and start-ups. He’s helped several start up business grow and profit. Neil is a certified business consultant. When he’s not writing, he’s reading books on marketing, self-improvement, or science fiction.