Business ownership has always been a part of the American Dream. The popularity of television programs like Shark Tank where entrepreneurs pitch to a panel of affluent investors shows just how alive and well that dream is today. Many people tune in to live vicariously through the entrepreneurs who dare make their case in front of the world. As much as we see successful entrepreneurs as brave, risk-taking heroes, the truth is the most successful entrepreneurs recognize risks in advance and try to eliminate as many of them as possible with proper planning. They also develop the ability to go after the right opportunity at the right time with focused action. If you want to launch or improve your business with great success there are ten tips to keep in mind:
- Do proper business planning.
- Make sure you are sufficiently capitalized.
- Track daily and weekly progress.
- Maintain excellent relationships.
- Build an incredible team whether you have employees or work with freelancers.
- Decide on your competitive advantage whether it is the best pricing, service, location, marketing or something else.
- Talk to your customers all the time to create an endless feedback loop that helps you improve.
- Develop and distribute content that shows your expertise.
- Stay on top of taxes; once you get behind this is a total nightmare to fix—and totally expensive.
- Start your days clear about what absolutely must be done by the end of the day.
Let’s discuss the top three in detail:
Do Proper Business Planning
People hear business planning and think they need a doctoral thesis. A business plan does not have to be long to be effective. The plan is not about how reams of paper you go through to make it seem important—it is about the depth of thought you give it and the research you conduct to answer simple but critical questions like: What are you selling? To who? How will they know you exist? Why will they want what you have? How long before they will buy? How much will they buy for? What potential profit can you make? You would be surprised how many people launch businesses without being really clear about these questions and answers.
Make sure you are Sufficiently Capitalized
A company is out of business when it runs out of money. This is true whether they are on day five or year five of business so making sure you are properly capitalized is critical to the survival and success of your business. Even if you have been in business for a while you may still need investors or business loans. Startup and growth both require capital. Investors want great returns on their investments so they want to hear about opportunities to invest but they only want to “risk” their money with businesses that are well run by competent professionals who properly plan and consistently execute. You can increase your chances of getting capital from investors by reassuring them about the quality and profitability of your business. Work with a business plan consultant who has established relationships and a track record of success to further boost your credibility with the investment community.
Track Daily and Weekly Progress
Waiting until the end of a month or quarter to check the health of your business is quite dangerous. You should check your revenue, profits and other critical growth metrics every day at best and every week at least. This gives you an opportunity to change your marketing, pricing or lineup of products and services if the numbers are not as high as you would like them to be. If your numbers are on target then this gives you empirical evidence that your business leadership, pricing, product and service offerings and marketing messages are working.
Stay mindful of all ten tips and especially aware of these top three and you will be on your way to Shark Tank or at least satisfying business success!