Many people’s dream is to become an entrepreneur and start their own business. While many try to achieve this dream, an awful lot eventually end up failing in the long term. Only 50 percent of small businesses survive to their fifth year.
Knowing how to run a business doesn’t come naturally to most people. Instead, it’s a continual learning process. If you are open to learning how to improve your business and what mistakes to avoid, you can improve your company’s chances of long term survival. Below are some of the things you should keep in mind when running your small business.
Just because there is demand for your product does not mean selling that product in that market is actually feasible. The demand may already be met by companies that have been at it for decades or even generations before you even thought up your idea.
This is part of the reason why market research is so important. You need to determine whether or not you’ll be able to obtain a piece of the market share. If a town already has KFC, Popeye’s and Church’s Chicken, you may not be able to get enough business in that market to justify your own new fried chicken restaurant.
Your Web Presence
These days, you need to have an internet presence. Even if you’re a local small business with a brick and mortar location, you need to have a website as well as a Facebook page. Having a website can increase your revenue by as much as $1.43 million.
This is due to the fact that most people look up businesses online before they actually show up in person. 81 percent of consumers now perform internet research before making a purchase. If you don’t have an internet presence and good search engine optimization, you’re going to lose a significant portion of your business to competitors that do.
However, your business appearing in searches performed on Google and Bing isn’t the only thing you have to worry about in regards to the internet. Your online reputation can also have a huge impact on your success. These days, customer reviews and ratings on websites like Yelp, Trip Advisor, Foursquare and more matter a whole lot.
If you receive positive reviews and ratings, it could act as fantastic marketing that drives customers through your doors by the bus load. If your reviews and ratings are poor, on the other hand, the exact opposite could happen. Your business could be halved or even worse. While manipulating these websites in your favor is unethical, you can still use them for good intelligence on ways to improve if you do get negative feedback. In certain cases, you may even be able to directly respond to those customers and fix their issues.
It is also important to make sure your employees are happy online, especially with many small businesses going remote this year. Invest in efficient online software to help ease the responsibilities of your team and increase employee satisfaction. For instance, if you are in the construction industry, check out construction site employee tracking to help keep your business on track.
Cyber Security Threats
While there are many upsides to being a business in the digital age, there are a few serious downsides as well. One of them is the fact you could be targeted by hackers, cyber criminals, malware and more. The actions of hackers cost businesses $400 billion every year. Sadly, most small business owners don’t have the technical skills or knowledge to keep up with the changing nature of cyber security threats.
However, this does not mean you have to give up on protecting your business. One solution is to invest in MDR services. MDR stands for managed detection and response. Using these services means outsourcing the monitoring of your network for threats as well as the response needed once serious threats are detected.
Running a small business is not easy by any stretch of the imagination. However, if you become more aware of the challenges you face as a business owner, you will improve your ability to meet those challenges head on. If you do take the right steps to protect your company, the possibility of prospering for the long term is very real.