Starting, running and growing a small business can be challenging and daunting. Whether you are driven by passion, an extra stream of income, monetising a hobby or simply a more flexible working environment, entrepreneurs must constantly face up to uncertainty.
As a result of the competitive nature of small businesses, looking at your company plans through an alternative lens can help identify key areas of strength or weakness. It is important to conduct thorough research and develop a clear strategy to navigate initial business challenges.
Don’t start a small business for the sake of it
Starting a small business requires significant time, money and thought. Entrepreneurism is not for everyone and not everyone can be successful. Ensure you carefully assess your motivations and goals, along with an evaluation of your environment and finances. If you are capitalising on a new or existing trend, research the opportunities and threats of the current environment. This will help you form a clear understanding of what you aim to achieve.
Create a category rather than adapting an existing business
For an entrepreneur, adapting or disrupting an existing industry is no easy feat. Whilst existing products and services give an opportunity to improve on what is already out there, creating a new category can provide greater growth potential. Due to local connections and an investment in the community, small businesses have a unique ability to leverage regional networks to build leadership and guide expansion.
Focus on great work and output
Small businesses that cater to a specific niche are often the most successful. Concentrating your efforts on a specific problem can allow your team to run with greater efficiency and personalised customer service. Many small businesses generate great revenue from a few high value customers.
Scratch your own itch
This start-up model is simple: solve a problem you are facing yourself. This approach generally allows business owners to understand the problem and benefits in a deeper way. It may generate greater pride in your company, as you are more likely to be intrinsically committed to the cause. Success will be heightened by the ability to find others with the same itch.
Everything with measurement and objective
Setting goals and measuring the success of output can help your business on its growth trajectory. Analysing your performance can determine how effective an approach was and how to modify it for the future. However, it is key for small businesses to be effective in measurement. With limited resources, only evaluate those areas which are important. Being effective is not always about constant movement, action and hustle. Be precise in your thinking and objectives, and ensure you are working towards clear, measurable KPIs by having regular check ins.
About the author
Alex Alexandrou, General Manager, Reckon Australia