Follow These 7 Key Tips to Get Your Business Going

Ask anyone who’s ever started their own business for tips on how to be successful and you’ll get a whole range of answers. However, there are several strategies that the best entrepreneurs have in common that can help you on the road to long-term profitability.

1. Be passionate. If you don’t love what you’re doing, you won’t have the desire to put in the energy necessary to make a business work. Setting your sights on getting rich quick will only lead to disappointment. You need to really believe in your company and the products you offer. This not only provides motivation but also conveys to customers that you’re serious about what you do.

2. Have a common goal. Make sure everyone from employees to investors shares your vision for the company. Being on the same page is important, but enthusiasm is what truly gets a business running and keeps it going through successes and pitfalls.

3. Don’t rush the process. As an entrepreneur, you should have clear goals for your business. However, don’t become so focused on the “destination” that you miss important steps along the way. Starting and growing a business is a learning process that requires care, attention and dedication. Try not to view success as getting to a particular goal; rather, take each step as it comes and do your best at each stage of the journey.

4. Learn to be adaptable. As you move from stage to stage in your business, things will change. There will be times when your original plan will no longer be the best route to follow. Learn to recognize these times and adapt to changes without losing the overall focus you established for the company.

5. Develop unique delivery. Every business has a product or service, a story and an angle. Yours needs to be different from the myriad others crowding the market. Do comprehensive research of the competition and use it to develop a marketing plan that entices customers in unique ways. Good marketing is all about how you present your offerings to the public. Go beyond simple advertising and ask yourself how you can best connect with customers and develop lasting relationships.

6. Trust your support. Remember that your employees are the core of your company and choose people whose strengths complement yours to form a solid team of reliable workers.

7. Remember that honesty is still the best policy. Business owners who rely on deceitful marketing tactics and unreasonable promises may profit at first, but it always comes back to haunt them. Be honest in all you do from advertising to daily business operations and you’ll build a reputation that your business will be able to stand on for many years. Customers will trust you over the competition because they know you can and will deliver everything you promise.

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How These 7 Common Misconceptions Entrepreneurship Can Hurt You

People have different thoughts on what being an entrepreneur means. Some come from reading success stories while others stem from the wistful thought of getting away from the “daily grind” to run an exciting new business. Here are a few of the most common—and completely wrong—ideas about entrepreneurship.

1. Entrepreneurial spirit is inherent. Nobody is born with a talent for business. Though some may have a personality that makes it easier to commit to the amount of work involved in starting and running a business, all of the necessary skills can be taught and learned.

2. You have to be young to be an entrepreneur. Everyone from ambitious teens to innovative retirees has started businesses that became successful. The only effect age has on business is that young people have more time to develop ideas and see things through while older people bring more life experience to the table. With the reach offered by the Internet, it isn’t even necessary to be in the same location as a potential target market. It’s possible to be anyone, anywhere and still run a business.

3. Inspiration is the only way to get an idea. Many people have lost out on business prospects by waiting for a “bolt from the blue.” Entrepreneurs are much more likely to succeed when they keep an eye out for opportunities to fill the needs of potential markets.

4. Entrepreneurs have to go it alone. When one person tries to do everything necessary to run a business, it inevitably leads to burnout. Discovering personal strengths and sticking to the aspects of the company where those strengths can be applied is a smarter approach. A team of talented employees can pick up the rest.

5. Entrepreneurship is all about risks. All business endeavors carry some level of risk. However, that doesn’t mean throwing caution to the wind. Successful entrepreneurs research and test ideas before investing time or money in a new endeavor. Called a calculated risk, this allows for the development of contingency plans should something go wrong.

6. There is such a thing as “overnight success”
The entrepreneurs whose success stories wind up selling books and making blockbuster movies didn’t get where they are in a day, a week or even a year. They worked hard for a long time to develop their ideas, grow their companies and generate interest. True success isn’t a glamorous Hollywood story; it’s a journey that requires dedication, time and effort.

7. Owning a business means having flexible hours
Entrepreneurs who go into an endeavor expecting to have more time to themselves will find it’s exactly the opposite. All hours can be, and often are, work hours, and it’s not always possible to disengage when trying to juggle all of the elements of a business.

3 Key Ways to Develop Your Company’s Niche

As a new business owner, finding your niche is one of the most important parts of getting your company off the ground. The definition of your niche includes the needs filled by your products or services, the experience your brand brings to clients and the environment you’re most comfortable working in.

Having One Clear Focus

Many business owners fall into the trap of trying to be too many things to too many people. Having a niche creates a clear picture of what your business does and what it offers customers. Instead of providing a broad set of services, focus on one or two things that you do well. Specializing allows you to truly define your company. When you choose a niche, you have the chance to get very good at what you do and build a solid reputation that customers come to rely on.

Leveraging Networking Opportunities

When you have a clearly defined purpose for your business, it’s much easier to get relevant leads. A company that knows its niche knows its customers and can use that knowledge to market to the correct subset of people. Think about what your company does and how it pertains to the lives of your customers. Who is looking for what you sell? How can they benefit from it? Asking these questions will help you build the profile of an ideal sales prospect.

Reputation also ties in to lead generation. Working within your niche means providing a specific service that’s hard or impossible to find elsewhere. When you do well in your niche, people are going to tell their friends and recommend your company. This word-of-mouth advertising has the power to exponentially grow your customer base over time.

Creating Better Connections

Passion and direction are an integral part of your company’s niche. When you’re passionate about something, that enthusiasm shows and makes it easier to connect with customers. Customers will also want to connect with you, as they’ll see that you care about what you’re doing and have the knowledge necessary to apply your business offerings to their specific needs.

Focusing on your passion means you get to work with people who share your interests and your vision. Staying within your niche lets you concentrate on the things that you truly love so that each day feels fresh. Rather than methodically plugging away at a bland and stale marketing plan, you’ll always have something new to share with a target audience you can identify with.

Once you’ve defined and settled into your niche, keep an ear out for feedback. Use past feedback to create future marketing and target it to your audience. Though needs and buying habits may change over time, offering a specific set of products or services ensures that you can always connect with potential customers.