10 Keys to Starting a Successful Business

So, you’re planning to start a new business or your business could be doing better and you need to upgrade your strategy – here’s your essential top 10 keys to making it work:

1) Check out the competition. What are they doing? How come they make more money from what they’re doing than you do? Where do they advertise? Who responds to their advertising? How have they become an authority in their area of business?

2) Be cautious. Don’t go out and spend all your money on stock straight away. Don’t go and get a massive bank loan and send that either! Whatever you are thinking about spending – why not just spend half of that and keep the rest as backup. You will always need more money for unexpected costs. Don’t put it all upfront.

3) Do some research. Seriously, are you really going to invest in stock, equipment or whatever without checking first to see if anyone will buy your products or services? it sounds obvious but I’ve seen many a new shop open, sell nothing and close down 6 months later. How? Well obviously they never really bothered to check if there was a market for what they sold. Don’t just trust your intuition – do real tests.

4) Make a plan. Planning sounds obvious but many people skip it. Writing stuff down really helps to get your thoughts out, and gives you a frame of reference for later on. Brainstorm on paper for ideas – make mind maps and go back to them as your business progresses to update them.

5) Listen to advice. Wow – the amount of business owners I have met who just won’t listen to to othher people’s advice! Why not? They are basically stubborn and think they know it all I guess – so please, don’t be one of them. When someone says to you “maybe you should change the color of that carpet” or “why not think about changing your web design” – LISTEN TO THEM!

6) Listen to your customers. Ask them what they like about you and what they don’t. Ask them what more they’d like. You will probably be very surprised about the answers you get and most probably will get some of the best new ideas you have ever had.

7) Get help. Don’t try to do everything yourself. You will burn yourself out and how can you compete with another company that has 5, 10, 100, 1000 employees? You can’t, so get as much help as you can.

8) Be willing to change. Everything changes, so you have to too. Don’t think that because people have always liked chocolate that they always will. Many things go out of fashion – don’t let your business be one of them!

9) Dare to be different. It’s usually the ideas that are a bit different to the norm that do well. So make your business as unique as possible, but remember – unique doesn’t mean strange!

10) Get into your business. Find out everything about it. Research, read & connect with people in the same area. There will always be valuable information that you will get from simply getting into your subject area. How can you sell surfboards if you don’t know how to surf? You might be able to, but to be really successful you need to know your business area inside out.

Starting a new business can be a real challenge, that’s why I’m always advising my customers to do everything they can to promote their business online, especially in their local area. The City Web Guide Australia offers a completely free business listing service in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane & Adelaide. You can register here: [http://www.citywebguide.com.au/login/register/]

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