Most of the new business owners do not come with any prior experience running a business, and often it is all about learning from trial and error. This is especially true in the case of first-generation entrepreneurs when they are expected to make many decisions each day without any knowledge of business management and associated aspects.
Most of the decisions made by them involve smart, educated guesses or calculated risks, to say the least. This notion of only relying on guesswork can be done away with to a certain extent. This blog is an attempt to enlist tips for first time business owners that can save a lot of headaches for new business owners. These are meant to inform and educate business owners on aspects they need to be aware of when running a business.
It is potentially a guiding document for new business owners who want tips for business owners
Practical Tips for New Business Owners
1. Create a Support Network
First-time business owners often complain about the sense of isolation while running the business. This can be exacerbated by the fact that everyone working for the business expects the owner to provide the necessary vision, guidance, and inspiration. This can create an unusual situation, where the owner does not have anyone to look up to due to their preoccupation with their business.
This calls for business owners to create their support network or safety net to prevent losing perspective of their business. They can either join the larger business community in the area or employ the services of a personal coach or trainer. Both these avenues will allow them to express their challenges in the business to people outside their immediate network. They will also serve as a ‘sounding board’ for new ideas that the owners think can be implemented in their own business.
Although there is enough emphasis in entrepreneurship about forging close ties and family being the first line of support, often, family and friends are unable to offer the expected support to an entrepreneur in the context of running a business. This can be one of best business advice to small business owners.
2. Bring in Specificity to Goals
Every entrepreneur who enters business has overarching goals that they seek to achieve in the long run. While it is plausible to have big and audacious goals, it is equally important to have actions to back the goals. This calls for entrepreneurs to break their larger goals into smaller objectives to make them achievable.
Instead of chasing yearly or quarterly goals, it is pragmatic enough to create monthly goals for the business. They need to be created so that monthly goals feed into the quarterly and yearly goals. And yearly goals allow the accomplishment of 3-year goals. For instance, if you have yearly revenue goals, you need to have explicit numbers forecasting product sales for a given month. Accomplishing revenue goals in successive months would help achieve yearly goals.
This kind of approach allows you to remain on track to achieving your goals. The same principle can be applied to other facets of the business, such as improving brand awareness and productivity, etc. The key here is to start small and allow small wins to accumulate and make a visible difference in the numbers eventually. This is one of the best business tips to small business owners.
3. Delegate Wherever Possible
As a business owner, one is expected to wear many hats at the same time. It may seem entirely possible at the onset of the business. But you will soon realise that much of your schedule is spent looking after the day-to-day running of the business. This will leave you with no time for strategising and growing the business. As your business gathers pace, you need to get into the habit of delegating responsibilities and tasks wherever possible.
Bring in people who are more suited and experienced than you in doing things like accounting, HR, etc. While your chosen team takes control of the business, you need to slowly start observing from the sidelines and devise ways to forge new alliances and bring new processes that will allow the business to scale without hiccups. By doing this, you will realise that delegating was perhaps the best decision you made for the business in the long term. This is advice for new business owners.
4. Keep the Overheads Low as Far as Possible
Gone are the days when a business needed to have a physical address, a landline number, full-time employees, and so on. Technology has incredibly transformed the way offices are run today. This also allows businesses to keep the overheads optimally low. For instance, if a job role does not require full-time attendance, it is better to make it remote. The same can also be applied to the IT infrastructure.
Companies today are not expected to invest in expensive IT resources since everything is available on-demand for a relatively low fee or on the cloud. It is highly practical for new companies and startups to do everything possible to keep the overheads low. This will also allow them to face challenging times without having to shut shop. Moreover, by saving on costs, it will be easier for the entrepreneur to make the most of the available finances and deploy them in areas that will help the business in the short and long term. This is one of the best tips for business owners.
5. Stick with your Niche
It is extremely enticing to diversify once your business starts gaining some traction. But there is always the danger of spreading yourself too thin and losing perspective. If something clicks in the business, it is extremely necessary to ascertain the underlying factors that are making it succeed. With the knowledge of these factors, it will be possible to replicate it at scale. This can be mainly done by standardising the processes and systems that go into creating the product.
Once a company gains mastery over the product, it will be entirely possible to remain ahead of the competition for a long time. Until a company gains a strategic hold over the market with its manufacturing, packaging, marketing, and sales of the product, it is ill-advised to diversify and switch over to another niche. This is a piece of practical advice for business owners.
6. Learn from Customers
For any upcoming business, it is extremely pertinent that they remain sensitive to their customer concerns and issues. For this, they must provide necessary forums and platforms. Normally, communication between customers follows a one-way street pattern. This needs to be altered to a 2-way street, where feedback is actively solicited by customers, implemented, and communicated by all means necessary.
By practicing ‘active listening’, the business will be able to garner authentic and resourceful communication from customers to improve their product or service by a significant margin. Further, by remaining true to customer needs, the business or the brand stands to gain the confidence and trust of its customers.
In this day and age when multiple business ventures are failing, it becomes extremely important for entrepreneurs to heed to potentially beneficial advice. This write-up shows the way forward for the wannabe entrepreneur and clearly specifies actions that will allow them to put the best foot forward when starting a business.
In line with this thought, there are tools that can come in handy to make the entire entrepreneurial journey smooth. OkCredit is one such App that is a digital ledger that allows the recording of transactions from small business owners all over India. Download it now to make the best use of it in quick time.
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Q. How much capital is needed to start a business?
Ans: The rule-of-thumb says that you must be able to sustain a business for the initial 6-9 months without any income. Generally, this is the average time taken for a business to turn cash-flow positive. This means there needs to be return on the invested capital along with profit from the business.
Q. What are the chances of attracting venture financing?
Ans: Once you have a product or service in place and when the business is able to make a decent amount of sales with an impeccable management plan that can steer the business through choppy waters, then it is safe to say that the business is ready for venture financing.
Q. Do I need a business plan?
Ans: It is good to have a business plan because it allows you to articulate the ‘proof-of-concept’ and the financial viability of the business idea. When everything is put down on paper, it becomes easier for potential stakeholders to make an informed judgment about the business. A good business plan must contain market research, competitive analysis, managerial hierarchy, the gist of the products and services, marketing, and sales strategy.