by Kurt Scholle
Are you struggling with your business?
Many entrepreneurs do.
I recently drove by a business, whose owners I mentored as part of a chamber of commerce group about 10 years ago. They said my advice helped them significantly.
That made me feel good.
But I also learned A LOT from helping them out. So much that I would do it again for only that reason.
Working with SMBs on their websites is only a small part of Business Success.
Devising and implementing a website project plan includes identifying goals, evaluating resources, monitoring KPIs, revising as needed, etc.
Kinda like a business plan.
You DO have a written business plan of some sort, right?
“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
Ben Franklin, Winston Churchill and others have said that or something similar. (Google it!)
I prefer owning a business to working for a business for many reasons.
My first wife hated it. “I don’t understand why you do this. I like getting a paycheck every 2 weeks.” she said.
Unless you’ve been a solopreneur or entrepreneur, you may feel like she did.
If you’re a owner, you may feel much differently.
But it can be stressful!
According the the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 80% of new businesses will survive their first year. That’s been the case for 20 years or so.
But only about half of all businesses no longer exist after five years. Only one-third make it past their tenth anniversary.Are you struggling with your business? Only half survive after 5 years. Click To Tweet
Keep in mind that some business are sold and some owners retire, which the bureau includes as a ‘failure.’
These figures are also fairly consistent over the past 2 or 3 decades, which includes the advent of the Internet. So the web has not improved or harmed a business’s odds of success.
Interestingly, major economic downturns don’t seem to affect the survival rates for new businesses either.
According to a recent Global Entrepreneurship Report published by Babson College, over half of discontinued businesses halted operations because of lack of profits or financial funding.
Which seems pretty obvious.
Some businesses are doomed from the beginning due to under-capitalization. Business owners frequently underestimate how much money will be needed to fund operations or overestimate how quickly their products and services will catch on in the marketplace.
If they catch on.
If I had a dollar for every ‘good idea’ or awesome opportunity someone had approached me with, I’d be a rich man.
I guess if you’re going to fail, you’d want to fail fast and get it over with!
My company has survived and often thrived for more than 20 years. How did I do it?
Tips on How to Succeed in Business
Keep It Simple
The first thing that comes to mind. Before I was an entrepreneur, I had a successful career as a radio programmer. I turned a few radio stations around.
I was asked the secret to my success and I always said that I only concentrated on 5 top things. Fix one and add another. (Some consultants advise focusing on only ONE THING at a time.)
It was also amazing how many smaller things fixed themselves as a result of fixing one of the five biggest problems.
It also reduced stress and overwhelm.
I worked a lot of hours in those days. I wanted to be successful and get promoted, loved what I was doing and had a lot of energy.
Later in life if I began feeling overwhelmed, I would remind myself to concentrate on the biggest opportunities and priorities.
Have Attainable Goals
Yogi Berra had a famous quote, ““If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.”
At the top of the list would be, “What do you want to do?” What makes you happy?
Another quote I like is, “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”
I like that, but if you have a family to feed, it may not always be your best option.
You should probably do something you have some skill with. You’ll make more money.
If that’s important to you.
Maybe you’d rather change the world.
That’s cool too!
Evaluate Your Resources
While you’re doing whatever you decided, you’ll need a roof over your head and food on the table.
If you’re in business, you’ll need some sort of offer and marketing to back it up.
It may be that you’ll need to wear several hats, especially at first, but also to fill skill gaps and provide needed manpower you may need a full or part-time employee, Virtual Assistant or somebody from Fiverr.
How and when will you afford that, especially when you achieve some success and need to scale?
In addition to having help from others, you need the help of others. You can’t always talk about your business with staff or vendors (even though you may be able to learn from them). Find people who have experience in areas you need help with. Join a Mastermind, hire a mentor, check options with a chamber of commerce or SBDC (Small Business Development Center).
Find a S.C.O.R.E. chapter near you. SCORE is a non-profit organization and the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors. They have more than 10,000 volunteers in 300 chapters.
Continue to Learn
There is a reason why some occupations require continuing education. I think all should be required to fill skill and experience gaps or to be more productive.
Participate in Masterminds, read books, magazines and blogs like this one, attend conferences, take a course at a local college, watch videos, listen to podcasts. Being in a Mastermind or going to conferences also allows you to interact with like-minded people.
The Small Business Administration Learning Center has a variety of courses for entrepreneurs wanting to know how to succeed in business. Learn about sales, marketing & social media, accounting, customer service, understanding your customers, taking your business global, getting government contracts, etc. Well worth your time!