You may be a fresh entrepreneur with a brilliant business idea and it could perhaps be the result of intensive research and long hours of hard work. However, one universal rule applies in business, and that is, ‘nothing is certain’. No one can guarantee whether your start-up idea or business will last successfully past the one year milestone. But we see companies being started every day and new products being launched in the market. This clearly indicates that entrepreneurs can and do overcome the challenges and succeed in their ventures.
Here are five tried and tested tips that can help you emerge on the winning side.
1. Build a business that will stand the test of time
When you start a business you are pursuing your dreams . For dreams to come true, you must start with passion and focus. Moreover, the secret lies in first making employees happy and then going on to satisfy customers and vendors. Beyond the vendors it is the community that you serve which determines your success. Therefore, you can improve your odds of success by building a strong team. The reason why many entrepreneurs fail is that they they lack the strong and deep experience in the industry in which they wish to operate. The answer to this shortfall, is recruiting experienced team members, or getting experience yourself by working in a similar field for a while before starting your business.
2. Make your business attractive to investors
It would be a godsend for your business if you can get investment from Venture capitalists. But VCs are very exacting and fund only about one out of 100 business plans which are submitted. Improve your chances by approaching the right investors. Do a bit of research on what types of investments a particular VC fund usually makes. Go to the firm’s websites to find out if they invest in your specific industry and in start up companies. Try to get your proposal submitted by a reputed person or deliver it yourself, so that you will know that your business plan will have a chance of being studied with some interest. Present your investment plan with passion and skill.
3.Give your customers the right products
The most important thing to remember is to try and make your product one of the best in its category. Many new products fail to capture the market as a result of companies not paying enough attention to customers. There are a lot of products in the market which claim the latest technology in doing things faster, or being more efficient or high-tech. However, people buy products for different reasons than these. Customers buy products because they are perceived as the right tools for them. It would prove beneficial to your business to talk with the customers indepth on an ongoing basis and try to find out what they need. And, it is equally important to convince them that your product is the best and the ideal one.
4. Turn your sales leads and web visitors into buyers
Market knowledge tells us that approximately only 4 percent of cold sales calls are likely to turn into sales. The odds are tough but you can attempt to generate quality leads by studying the market and warming up cold calls with a combination marketing campaign of e-mail, direct mail and other channels. That could translate into business. But it will need a lot of persistence which eventually pay off as rewarding sales. As for online sales, conversion rates for most websites are in single digit sales. What entrepreneurs should do, is build visitors’ confidence and trust while measuring and testing to find ways to make navigation persuasive and customer focussed. Taking into consideration the nature of your product your conversion rate can be brought up higher with a bit of intuition and innovation.
5. Build your financial worth – Become Creditworthy to Banks
Many a start up entrepreneur has discovered the hard way that banks will not readily sanction loans to companies that aren’t established. To overcome this situation, one has to begin by starting small with whatever funds you can raise from other sources, growing gradually and building up both assets such as accounts receivable and your own personal equity in the business. This gets you to the position where you are an attractive proposition to banks. Another way around this obstacle is to find a banker you can relate to and develop a personal relationship. Taking the help of a banking advocate can help you get across a lot of hurdles.
Above all you should not forget to build work-life balance into your business plan, by knowing your work tolerance and picking a suitable business. You can also fashion a business that encourages balance.
Starting a business requires passion, focus, persistence and hard work, but when it does take off and succeed…you will be the master of your destiny.