As we continue to navigate our way through the current pandemic, during the spike in unemployment, many are seeking to become small business owners. Ohio has continued to see a record number of incorporated businesses year after year. That trend is continuing in 2020.
Here are some tips for new small business owners as they join the nearly one million Ohio entrepreneurs:
- Have a strong passion for the product or service you want to sell. Often business enterprises start from a hobby or a unique passion. Be confident in the skills necessary for the type of business you want to start or run.
- Do it right the first time by getting the professional help you need. All businesses need good accounting, legal, insurance, and marketing advice.
- Make sure you have the financial resources necessary to start. It can often be done with $5,000 or less but usually requires tapping personal funds. Establish an annual budget for your business and stick to it.
- Be as creative and adaptable as possible. Know your competition and find ways to differentiate your business’ products and services from them. One thing that will happen for sure is the need to change strategies and adapt quickly.
- Starting a small business is never easy. In fact, the average entrepreneur will fail three times before being successful. Plan on a lot of hard work and long hours which is why you must have the belief and passion in what you are doing.
- Market your business to customers and potential customers. Create attractive and user-friendly social media marketing platforms, develop customer e-mail lists, and do not forget to ask your early customers, family, and friends to help promote your business. Always be looking for ways to promote, promote, and promote.
- Understand all the local, state, and federal laws that apply to your business. Make sure you are legally structured the correct way, have all the correct licenses, permits, and are paying all the correct taxes and fees. This is the reason why it is so important to have professional help.
- Think big but start small. Have a realistic and well thought out business plan and put it in writing. In addition to your budget, know how you want to grow, have strategies to manage your expenses, resources, and inventory. Finally, include an exit strategy if you need to stop or slow your business operations down.
- Provide excellent customer service. All successful small business owners will tell you that what gives them their competitive advantage is the amazing customer experience they strive hard to achieve. The corporate culture must be that every customer is valued as being number one. In addition to friendliness, customers must be extremely satisfied with the price, quality, and timeliness of their shopping experience. This is what will keep them coming back and what will cause them to refer you to others.
- Make sure you are having fun! Yes, there will be plenty of days where nothing seems to be going right and there will be plenty of frustrating challenges, but in the end, you have to demonstrate you love what you are doing, because that is what your customers will see, and it is what will keep you motivated each and every day.