As more and more people join entrepreneurship, more and more information comes about the right way to drive the success of your start. The SBA offers a list of factors that are common among successful launches, such as having employees and knowledge of the business. The fastest growing business article 5000, Inc. offers other interesting statistics about the various factors that drive the success of these companies. By the end of the day everything can be successfully boiled down to three keys - Planning, marketing and financial management.
Planning does not mean to simply fill out the forms in a completed business plan template or worse, buy a completed business plan for your type of business. Good planning should result in a virtual roadmap for your business idea and include all the details of how, when, where, and who to sell your product. In order to create this depth of planning, you need a thorough understanding of your product and industry, your areas legal requirements, your target market, and the available ways of marketing to your most likely customers. You must develop an accurate assessment of your sales and costs and how they will be affected by changes in other factors. You need a general idea of where you want your business to be in the long run and plans that are flexible enough to respond to the rapid changes in todays marketplace.
Planning does not end when your business is running, but it is a continuous process that keeps your business on track and warns of opportunities when they arise. All planning should contain clear goals - goals that are specific, measurable and achievable - with set deadlines for implementation. Since the goals are met or not, the results should be evaluated and lessons learned from these efforts should be incorporated into future goals. Consider using a 90-day planning strategy, where the goals are determined and completed within a 90-day timeframe. The shorter time encourages a more realistic goal while the flexibility is necessary for small businesses to grow and thrive in a constantly changing market.
Marketing your business effectively is imperative for all new businesses, but often neglected for the first time entrepreneurs. It is not enough to place an ad in the yellow pages and add a simple website. Search engine optimization is an important marketing tool, but one that tends to scare non-tech savvy entrepreneurs. In reality, SEO is not difficult and much can be done free with just a few hours of computer work per week. In addition to online marketing, a combination of the five classic promotional elements advertising, promotional promotions, PR, personal sales and direct marketing must also be incorporated into a successful marketing plan.
Your marketing efforts must be carefully investigated and evaluated to give you the best return on your marketing dollar. Marketing is how you drive customers to your product and keep them back - its not a business factor to be taken easily. Take the time to learn and understand everything you can and use the right tools to ensure that your marketing plan is complete, useful and gives the company the best chance to succeed.
Financial management is a key to success for obvious reasons - the primary purpose of entering business is to make a profit. It is crucial for the entrepreneur to establish an exact accounting system and to understand how to evaluate the numbers. You must understand the companys financial reports and profitability levels to track and manage all areas of your business. For many first time entrepreneurs, overwhelmingly manage the numbers. In fact, its good for you with a good business accounting software by producing the required financial reports. Learning to read these reports and understanding how to use them compare past performance or industry average values, for example is not that difficult and is a major factor in whether a company succeeds or fail. The trick is to stop telling yourself that you are not a number person - if you are a business owner, you are a number person.