Thinking about starting a new business? Prepare for the stress that’s inevitably going to come along with it before you do.
According to a study conducted in 2017, about 41 percent of small business owners say that their business is the leading source of stress in their lives. They say running their business is more stressful than managing their personal finances, maintaining a romantic relationship, or—get this—raising their kids.
“Learn how to deal with stress” isn’t the only advice on starting a business that you should keep in mind, either. There are other tips for starting a small business that you should commit to memory as well. They’ll improve your chances of achieving small business success.
Here are 5 pieces of advice that you should follow if you’re getting ready to try and get a small business off the ground.
1. Think About If There’s a Real Need for Your Business
First, the good news: About 80 percent of small businesses are able to survive their first year.
Now, the bad: Only about 30 percent of them stick around long enough to celebrate their 10th anniversary.
Small businesses fail for a number of different reasons. In some cases, they’re run by owners who don’t spend enough time nurturing them. In others, they’re not able to generate enough profits to cover the expenses that come with running a business.
But there are also many instances in which business owners fail because they open small businesses even though there isn’t a strong need for them in their city or town.
People open restaurants in cities that are already filled with food options and hardware shops in towns that already have several big-box home improvement stores. And when they fail, it’s not really a huge surprise to anyone.
So if you have an idea for a small business, ask yourself: “Is there a real need for this business? Is it something that people in this area can’t live without?”
If you can’t make a strong argument on behalf of your business idea, it’s probably wise to pull the plug on the operation before you even get started.
2. Set Goals for Your Business From the Start
Did you spend some time soul-searching and determine that there is a real need for your small business?
Great. Now, let’s set some goals for it.
Before you apply for a business loan, pick out a physical location for your business, or even design your logo, you should have a long list of goals in place. Your goals are going to be what keep you going when times get tough during your first few years.
Your goals are your goals, so we can’t tell you what they should be. But we can provide you with a few examples of good goals to have as a small business owner:
- Come up with the perfect name for a small business
- Figure out who your target customer base is going to be
- Plan out how to provide customers with superior products and/or services
- Generate the right prices for products and/or services to ensure profitability
- Track down the right location for a small business
- Connect with other local business owners for networking purposes
- Learn everything there is to know about digital marketing
- Start turning a profit as soon as possible!
You can use all of these goals, some of these goals, or none of these goals. But your business won’t stand much of a chance if you don’t establish your own clear goals for it.
3. Create a Foolproof Business Plan
Putting together a list of goals is great. But—and this is a big but, so pay attention—potential lenders and investors aren’t going to give you a dime to open up a small business if goals are all you have.
You also need a plan to attack and hit those goals! A business plan is of the utmost importance and will show others that you’re serious about starting a successful small business.
Your business plan should include:
- The name of your small business
- A description of your company
- Information on the products and/or services that you’ll sell
- An in-depth analysis of the local small business market
- A strategy on how you plan to launch a successful business
- Financial projections
You might be passionate beyond belief when it comes to your small business idea. But without a business plan, lenders and investors are going to slam the door in your face when you come to them looking for a loan.
4. Make Sure You’re Ready to Work
Do you love spending time at home with your family? Hanging out with your friends every weekend? Traveling as often as you can?
All those things will need to be put to the side when you’re in the process of launching a small business. Small business owners work hard, regardless of whether their business has been around for a month, a year, or a decade.
Studies have shown that the average small business owner works for more than 50 hours every week. And that number will almost definitely be much higher than that during the first year that your company is in business.
It’s important for you to be gung-ho about getting to work right from the start, even if it means sacrificing time with family and friends or putting travel plans on hold for a few years. Read more here about taking action to get your business started off on the right foot.
5. Be Realistic!
Some small business owners make the mistake of thinking they’re going to be profitable right away. They dream about having overnight success and believe that they’ll be rolling in the big bucks in no time.
This is not how it usually goes. Most small businesses take a year or two to turn a profit, and many take even longer than that.
“Be realistic” might be the most valuable advice on starting a business that anyone can give you. By being more realistic, you can avoid disappointment and stay motivated when your business fails to pull in a huge profit during its first few years.
Use This Advice on Starting a Business to Succeed
You can get all the advice on starting a business and still fail. There is no advice that will guarantee success in the small business world.
But you can increase your chances of succeeding by keeping the tips for starting a small business listed here in the back of your head. Let them lead the way as you attempt to kickstart a small business from scratch.
Read our blog for some tips on how to find the right niche for your small business before you get going.