8 Keys to Running a Successful Small Business: Advice for Entrepreneurs

 So here is another post in our entrepreneur section, 8 keys to running a successful small business.

Starting a business is one of the most daunting challenges you can face in life, but also something that can be one of the most rewarding. Whilst some people say it something you are either born with or not, I believe that there are several key criteria you need are going to turn your venture into a real success, and here they are.


#1 – Perseverance

This is my number one criterion for anyone who is either starting out with a new business or currently running a small business. When you start out you will undoubtedly face many setbacks in what you are doing. Everyday there will be new problems, things will go wrong and you will wonder if you should be doing something else instead. But don’t give up. The only certain way to ensure your business will not grow and become great is to stop entirely. So take the good with the bad and keep on pushing, it’s the only way to progress.


#2 – Confidence in Who You Are

Running a small business is a trade-off. You are swapping all of the security, social status and anything else that comes with a role at a larger company for the opportunity to create something for yourself. There will be no big brand name when you tell people about what you do, just that of your small company, so it is essential that you are confident in who you are and don’t need these external boosts. It is likely that your cash-flow will be tight, you might not earn what you could elsewhere and you may have to cut back on some of the other things you do in your life. If you can be truly happy with who you are having taken away your job and financial security then you will be a great entrepreneur.


#3 – Accept the Risks

One of the things that quite often kills small businesses is the unwillingness to take risks. Playing things safe might seem like a good idea not to spend the extra money on advertising or not invest in developing new products until you are 100% sure where your cash flow will come from, but that can really slow down your growth to the point of standstill. Learn to accept the risks and use them to your advantage. Let them motivate you. Chances are, most of the time the risks don’t have the terrible consequences you imagine. At the end of the day, the worst that can happen is you run out of money, but you can make it back afterwards. All it takes is for one gamble to pay-off and you are in the big leagues. Sounds like its worth a shot to me!


#4 – Be Passionate

If you run a small business then there is no better way to succeed than to be passionate about two things; What you are doing and succeeding. Being passionate about the area where you run your business is essential. A great saying is “Do what you love and the money will follow”, not the other way around. Many of the biggest business owners in the world started out with doing what they loved and then came across something that people would pay good money for, and you can too. Secondly, love to succeed. Try to improve everyday, not only at work but on yourself. Every step forward you take brings you a step closer to your goal, so keep striving to succeed, and when you do aim a little higher.


#5 – Organisation

There is a big myth in society at large that entrepreneurs and reckless gamblers who will put it all on the line to win the jackpot. But that isn’t the case at all! The more organized you are in everything you do, the more you will see progress and your business will grow. Measure your progress and set goals for you to reach, look at the different ways you can find new customers and keep track of what works. Data analytics for small business is a rapidly growing industry for a reason, because the more you know about your business the wiser your decisions become.


#6 – Know when to Accelerate and when to Pivot

Some small businesses can spend years and years designing and testing their first product spending millions of pounds, only to take it out to the market and find that no one wants to buy it anyway! This is a crazy way to run a business and something that you should try and avoid. Instead, get your minimum concept designed and built as soon as possible and then give it to people to try. Get as much feedback as possible and then decide whether to accelerate with your product (i.e. put more resources into it) or to pivot into something knew (change your approach based on the feedback you have received). Pivoting doesn’t mean giving up, rather using what you already have to move into a new area that better solves your identified customers problems.


#7 – Use your Resources Wisely

Now this doesn’t mean save every penny you can. This means user your friends, family, friends families, anyone who you have met on the street! Do you know a web-designer friend who can help you with your website design, or perhaps someone else who works in a small store and would take your idea to their boss. Look for advice wherever you can. People working jobs are all specialists in their own small areas, so find out what they do exactly and see what you can learn from it. There is no advice like free advice!


#8 – Take Some Time off

One of the dangers when you start a small business is burning out. Your small business is probably driven by the work of 1-3 people, and if you don’t do it then no one will, but this doesn’t mean you need to work 24 hours a day every day of the year! Organise weekends away every now and again and give yourself some breathing space from the business. This will not only help you to de-stress and re-gain your passion for what you are doing, but also can often help your to see things from a different perspective and lead to lots of new, great ideas you wouldn’t have seen from the inside!


And there you have it. A simple 8 tactics you can use to make your small business a success this summer! If you enjoyed this post then you can also check out our post on 5 Keys to Finding your Niche in a Market.