9 Business tips that work
Astonishingly, 96% of businesses fail over a 10-year time period. The 4% of businesses that survive are still operating, but are not necessarily thriving. In fact, sometimes they’re barely scraping by. With so many budding entrepreneurs with incredible business ideas, how is it possible that so many businesses fail – and how can an entrepreneur succeed against the odds?
The most important business tips for any entrepreneur to focus on come down to the same core concepts – using innovation, marketing, differentiation, drive, leveraging and fearlessness to set yourself apart from the competition. Here’s how you can implement these concepts to help your small business achieve explosive growth.
When you look into the minds of today’s entrepreneurs, you see that many of them are not confident in the skills and tools their businesses use. An innovative business must have the skills and tools to meet the needs of its clients in a unique way that no one else can master. Since you need confidence to tackle challenges and solve problems, a lack of confidence will impact your ability to innovate. This is why, even though business strategies evolve over time, timeless business tips and tricks always focus on creating a culture of innovation.
Today, the word “Google” is synonymous with using a search engine, but Google wasn’t the first search engine online. Why has the brand been so successful? Because Google was able to provide real value to its customers in a way that other search engines could not. They innovated, improving and expanding the offerings of other search engines, and ultimately became a dominant force in the industry. If you want a sustainable business, always ask how you can innovate aspects of your business. Once you can offer value to a larger group of customers, you can reevaluate from there.
No piece of business advice would be complete without a focus on marketing. Marketing can make or break your business, which is why you have to ask yourself the following questions: Where does your product add value and what do your customers really want? Who is your ideal customer, and what’s the best way to reach them? Even more to the point, beyond your ideal customer, who is your customer right now and how can you give them what they want? If you need to, pay to gather the data you need so you can find the people who need your product or service. The best product or service in the world will never be used or appreciated without great marketing. Marketing exposes your business to the masses and makes people aware of your offerings. Without a solid marketing strategy, you could have the greatest business in the world but no one would ever know about it. Marketing is the essential tool you use to amplify your business’ message and all other business tips become irrelevant if you aren’t doing this successfully.
Differentiation means knowing what business you are really in, instead of merely focusing on what product you’re selling, and analyzing the facts to discern what business you should be in. For instance, one of the things that’s made Starbucks so successful is that they recognize they’re not in the business of coffee – they’re in the business of bringing people together. Once you have the right information, respond accordingly and highlight what sets you apart from competitors to your target audience. What business are you really in? How do you enrich the lives of your customers? What are your competitive advantages and how do they differ from companies who are in the same industry? Remember, you don’t have to focus on just the products or services you offer. Many times, focusing on an advantage that has little relevance to your actual product is the best way to break new ground and take a step ahead of your competition. Once you can master differentiation, your customers will start talking about you – and that’s when real growth begins.
Ambition or channeling your drive to succeed is one of the business tips that never loses relevance. A lot of people have natural talent, but it takes more than that to be wildly successful. It’s not enough to recognize you have talent – you have to have the determination and discipline to work toward your goal every single day. As you work on innovation, marketing and differentiation, you gain the power to change your offer, change your business and change your life. Of all the small business tips and advice offered, one of the most effective tips is to work with a business coach. A coach will be with you every step of your business journey, helping you spot the flaws in your business plan and mindset and develop a game plan for success.
Nick Sonnenberg is a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of Leverage, a company that helps entrepreneurs focus on their core assets and outsource the rest. Leveraging – optimizing your time and resources in a meaningful way so that you’re able to execute your ideas efficiently – is one of the most powerful business tips out there. As Sonnenberg explained in his interview with marketing guru Jay Abraham, getting stuck in day-to-day business operations doesn’t let you truly leverage your assets. Instead, maximize your productivity – your activities as well as how you’re spending your time thinking. In business and in life, it’s the latter that holds the greatest promise of success. As an entrepreneur, it’s critical to practice a can-do mentality by avoiding the “bigger is better trap.” Rather than assuming the risks of growing too quickly, opt for sustainable scaling so you’re able to cement your internal processes and operations. To get a jump-start on leveraging, take Jay Abraham’s assessment tests designed to optimize your business from every angle.
In addition to being a sports legend, Super Bowl star Fran Tarkenton is also a successful businessman, having launched eight separate businesses from scratch. What is the key to his success? Mindset. In an interview with Jay Abraham, Tarkenton outlined his approach to give you business tips and tricks you can count on. From wooing customers to creating efficient business operations, business savvy boils down to cultivating a mindset of fearlessness and tenacity. The desire to meet people’s needs is at the heart of any successful business, from customers to staff and partners. Your priority is always to create real value for your customer. Take an honest look at your company and target your problem areas with people-driven solutions. You want outcomes you can measure, so if you implement new personnel practices to reduce employee turnover, measure your turnover within a year’s time to evaluate your approach. In an era of constant change, it’s prioritizing your customer that will equip you for lasting success.
None of the business tips in the world will matter if your customer-facing staff is turning away business with a bad attitude. Whether they greet customers on the phone, via email or in person, your customer service reps are the face of your business. Research your target market, gauge what they want in their customer service reps and develop a recruitment strategy that addresses this. Your customer service reps should be friendly and focused on solving problems efficiently. A cheerful smile and greeting can go a long way, especially if your reps have face-to-face contact with customers. If you aren’t in a position to monitor how your reps interact with customers, consider a secret shopper program or regularly ask your other team members for feedback.
The secret to living is giving, and one of the best business tips is the one that feels the best for you and your team. Find ways for you and your employees to give back to the community that are in line with your core values as a company. For example, if you value technology and innovation, you might consider supporting a nonprofit that provides free mobile devices or tech classes to underprivileged children. If a core value is sustainability, you could volunteer hours at a recycling facility. When you give back to your community, you elevate your corporate culture, provide a more fulfilling experience for your team and set yourself apart by showing your clients and customers that you care about more than just the bottom line.
No list of business tips and tricks would be complete without a nod toward social media. Not only is social media a solid tool for fundraising, but it’s also an ideal way to put your business in front of its ideal target market and strengthen brand identity. To win at social media, you need to focus on being interactive with your followers and provide them content that is useful or entertaining. Too many businesses view social media as a platform to make continuous sales pitches instead of using it for what it is: an opportunity to give value and learn from potential customers.
Ready to take your business to the next level? Use these nine helpful business tips and tricks to achieve sustainable growth and build a lasting legacy.