Starting a small business is a dream for many Americans, but it can be daunting.
Here, entrepreneurs who are killing it in a range of industries share their best piece of advice for making your company a success.
- Deliver a consistent customer experience.
Damian Cerini, owner of cycling tour business Tour de Vines, says you need your business to almost run itself before you look at growth. “The thing about working for an employer is that the business model is already set, it’s about the execution of the idea, whereas a new business is about testing the idea first and developing the systems.” This may also mean that you need extra funding, and you can easily turn to a merchant cash advance from a specialist such as FAM to get the funding to provide the best possible experiences for your customer base.
- Add a personal touch.
Angus Askew, co-director of commercial asset financing company Magnolia Lane Financial Services, says: “In our industry like most service industries everyone is essentially selling the same thing, you’ve just got to do it better. Our number one goal when dealing with a new client is to establish a relationship and make them feel special. Make sure you are remembered. We make it our priority to see all of our customers face to face. Create a rapport as this is what will result in repeat business and an income stream for life.”
- Leverage social media.
A strong marketing strategy is essential in every industry, says Anthony Kittel, director of manufacturing firm REDARC. That means social networking — on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or all of the above. “Our brand is everything, so whatever we can do to promote that brand and consumer awareness is critical.”
- Write your own business bible.
Matthew White, whose firm Ergoflex sells memory foam mattresses, says the volume of information available can be overwhelming. He recommends writing ideas and tips in a notebook or tablet as they come up. “It has helped me make some major decisions, and also saved me hours of searching for something I’ve read somewhere.”
- Focus on your specialty.
In the first few years, there can be a lot of pressure to diversify your offering, says Paris Cutler, director of cake decorating company Planet Cake. “Stick to what you do best and do it better and with more focus than anyone else.”
- Keep it manageable
Kate James, start-up coach at Total Balance, says it’s important to remember that it’s not all about non-stop growth — bigger isn’t better if you’ve stopped enjoying what you do. “You need to define your own version of success. Mine is that I need to love my business.”