We can all use some good advice now and then, especially when we’re tackling something as difficult as getting a small business up and running. With that in mind, we take a look at some sage business advice from small business leaders who have accomplished exactly what you are trying to accomplish.
We can all learn from others who have gone before us and who have walked the path that we are trying to walk.
And, with that in mind, we take a look at some business advice from small business trail blazers.
1. Be discerning with your social media
Don’t just blindly get on as many social media platforms as you can. It’s no use for a business to be on Pinterest if none of your potential customers are there.
“Know where your customers are hanging out online. You don’t have to be everywhere. Be where your customers are … and communicate with them there.” – Laurie McCabe, Partner SMB Group, SMB-GR.com
2. Variety is the spice of small business
“If you get more than 50% of your business from one customer or distribution channel, diversify. Don’t become overly dependent on one source for your long-term economic well-being.” – Rhonda Abrams, USA Today
3. Don’t try to compete on price alone
There is no way a small business can compete with big box stores on price point. The big box stores have the lowest prices wrapped up and it would be foolish for a small business to even try in most cases. Instead, try to compete in other ways like offering customer service that goes well above and beyond.
“This is where smaller businesses have the chance to thrive in offering other experiences that stand-out from prices alone.” – Nicole Leinbach-Reyhle, Retail Minded
4. Keep a journal
Not your typical, boring journal that talks about what you did each day, this type of journal is just a place where you can store good ideas and tips when you think of them or read them.
“It has helped me make some major decisions, and also saved me hours of searching for something I’ve read somewhere.” – Matthew White, Ergoflex
5. Embrace freebies
Many times, just offering a single free item will be much appreciated by potential clients.
“‘Free’ doesn’t mean offering an entire job or product for free. It could mean a free initial consultation, free component of a project or complimentary muffin with every coffee.” – Vanessa Emilio, Legal123
6. Just say no sometimes
If a client comes to you with expectations that you strongly suspect you will not be able to fulfill, just say no to that client and refer them elsewhere. It’s better to do this than to take on the job and fail to meet those expectations.
“Try a formal, structured response and keep returning to it. Try: ‘Thank you for the opportunity, but we are so heavily committed we can’t give your project the time and attention it needs.’” – Andrew Griffiths, author
7. Stay positive
“Our first three years were brutally tough… every day was about survival. Then I remembered a lesson from my father. Your mind is everything, yet it’s not what you know, but rather how you deal with it. It is about your mindset and positive thinking.” – Clate Mask, Founder and CEO, Infusionsoft
Great advice for entrepreneurs can come from anywhere, but it’s especially valuable from experts who have been there and done that before.
[Main photo courtesy of Neil Rickards on Flickr]