In the last session, I gave you some statistics about small business failure rates. There will be different rates in different countries, and in different sectors, but clearly survival is not a given.
What I want to do here is offer some advice that will lengthen the odds in your favour if you are thinking of starting a new business, or are in the early stages of a business.
First let’s take a look at the stuff no one tells you about.
How to find new work when you are working
Suppose you are a builder, or a dressmake, accountant, or architect, operating as a sole trader. One of the most difficult problems is that you are the income generator. You are only making money when you are working, so you concentrate on the current project, do your best at it, try to please the client. Then it ends.
Now what. The income stops. you need more work.
So, you have to learn to look for the next job while you are doing the current one. Then you may have several jobs waiting, so now you have to start juggling start dates, materials and equipment.
Sales is the key
It has been said that the only problem any business has is sales. Everything else is fixable. This is true. You can throw money and resources at other problems, but if your product isn’t selling, there is no income stream to provide the resources.
If your product isn’t selling because of issues with advertising, marketing, competition or price, then that is fixable, and it must be attended to. If, however the product isn’t selling because the public simply doesn’t want it, then the business is doomed.
What you need to do is move quickly, make a success of the venture before you lose a ton of money, if yours is going to be one of the companies that doesn’t make it. Get your business model sorted quickly.
Man, for all seasons
You have to be able to be successful in many areas of endeavour, as we discussed earlier. You must turn your hand to anything and everything. Or else get help advice from someone, probably at a cost. You may be a brilliant IT technician, or sales person, but the chances are you are not expert on legal and financial matters, marketing, insurance …………
We talked in point 1 about getting jobs. Getting clients is a related topic, but what I mean is converting the people you do a job for into lifetime clients. Ideally you want them to always unhesitatingly come back to you whenever they need the type of service you provide. This is how your business becomes successful. Your target is a reliable steady stream of work, with people referring you to friends and family.
Fabulous work, customer care, and after sales service, that is how you will convert work into clients.