Due to the constant pressures of tough competition and an ever-changing business environment, running a small business in today’s marketplace can be difficult. With all the pressure of trying to make the business work, owners often lose sight of the core principles that actually make a successful business. Here are 4 basic rules that will guide you through and get you back to standing strong on basics:
Know your customers.
Who is your business for? Are you targeting the right market? It is time to figure out your niche and focus on the people who will pay money for your products and services. For a small business, it is nearly impossible to serve everyone. Remember, you cannot be all things to all people. Decide on your niche, narrow your focus, and broaden your appeal.
Identify your competition.
Just like you can’t serve everybody, you also cannot compete with everybody. For a small business, there are never enough resources, time, and effort to beat everyone else for attention. The good news is, you don’t have to! If you sell fresh baked goods you certainly shouldn’t be trying to compete with McDonald’s prices, you should concentrate on the value of your product instead. By clearly identifying and studying your competition you can set a benchmark on what you should and shouldn’t be doing and where you should be expending your biggest efforts.
Just because your competitors are doing something doesn’t mean you should. Study an idea first and pinpoint exactly why it could be helpful to your business. Explore other options and strategies that meet that same need. Keep an open eye and an even more open mind. The world is constantly changing, along with the way businesses are done. Doing something different doesn’t always seem right at first, but it usually pays off in the long run.
Invest in your people.
Customers trust people. This is why your staff will always play an important role in your success. They are your greatest advocates, especially for a small, local business, where everyone in town knows another location to buy the same product or service you are selling. Your people can make the difference for you by creating a welcoming, friendly front that distinguishes you. Don’t hire someone just to fill a position. Employ a person to be a valued part of a team building your business.