8 Tips for Entrepreneurs (Part 2)

Solution vs Problem Solving - Business ConsultingIn Part 1 of this series (Tips 1 – 4) I said that running a small business is not a whole lot different to running a large business. The difference is just one of scale. The key issues are much the same.

Here are Tips 5 to 8 in the series:-

5.   Charge sensible prices

It is easy when you’re a small business to undervalue your products and your time. The result is that you undercharge for what you have to offer. This is particularly true when professionals are selling their expertise and time on the basis of a consultancy arrangement. It’s common for first-timers to lack the confidence to charge what they might perceive to be a high rate for their services.

The problem is that selling things cheaply can be counter-productive because customers then think they are getting an inferior product or service and can be put off. Price can often be used as a proxy measure for quality when your business is being judged.

You have to be very business-like when considering the pricing of your products and services. So look at what your competitors are charging and then analyse where you think your products and services fit into the market. If you struggle with that idea then you can always seek guidance from someone else, like a fellow business owner or your accountant. However you must always remember that you must believe in your products and services. If you don’t then why should anyone else? So you must project confidence. If you don’t have the courage of your convictions then the chances are that your business will never succeed. Believe in yourself and charge what you’re really worth. Sell yourself on the basis of the value you bring.

6.   Make the best use of technology

Sometimes small business owners think that because they are small they can act in a small way. Donald Trump would tell you that that is not true and on that point I agree with him. For instance investing in up-to-date technology like the right phone system and websites do not have to be expensive but they can be the difference between a customer contacting you or not.

These days no business, large or small, can operate without a website. And that website needs to be as user-friendly as it possibly can be. Make sure your website provides customers and potential customers with the opportunity to sign up for a regular email newsletter. And offer them encouragement so they do sign up. Make sure your telephone system allows customers to reach you at their first attempt. Certainly customers won’t make too many attempts to call you before they will simply go elsewhere. If you don’t know how to do all this yourself then go on a course or seek guidance from someone with the right expertise. Good communications will pay handsome dividends over time.

7.   Set goals

You have to know what it is you’re trying to achieve, if you are to have any chance of successfully achieving it. Never set your sights too low either. Set yourself a challenge and then put all your energy into achieving it.

Once you’ve set a goal then you need to establish a plan as to how it is going to be achieved. For instance if your goal is to achieve a certain level of turnover over the next year, you have to break that down into the small steps you will need to take for it to be achieved. How many sales will you need to achieve each day, each week and each month? What implications will those sales targets have for production? Do you have enough sales staff to generate that amount of business? And so on. Always create a plan and review it regularly making adjustments as and when necessary.

8.   If you got a great idea then do something with it

How many great ideas never see the light of day because the person with the idea fails to do anything about it? And how many times does someone with an idea see someone else come along with the same idea and beat them to market? Procrastination stops many entrepreneurs from cashing in on a great idea. Don’t let this be you.

If you’re waiting for the perfect time to do anything you will be waiting for the rest of your life. Now is always the perfect time. Don’t wait until you think the economy will be better or your children have left home or some other arbitrary barrier. The right time to start your business is right now. So go for it. Yes you will make mistakes. You won’t get everything right first time. You will not become an instant millionaire. However by getting started you will be heading in the right direction and you will learn along the way. Hard work combined with implementing good ideas will get you there eventually.

That concludes this short series. It was not intended as a comprehensive guide for entrepreneurs but I hope the tips presented will help you in your quest for business success. Good luck.

© RJ Sutton and Mann Island Media Limited 2014. All Rights Reserved.

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