As small business owners, we’d all love to know the proven recipe for success. Running your own business is full of uncertainty and lots of tough decision making, especially when you’re starting out.
While there’s no one perfect recipe, there are a few keys to business success that go a long way to helping you achieve your business goals.
So what are the keys to success in a business?
It’s a question I’ve been asked countless times and I always come up with essentially the same answer. There are hundreds of factors to consider that will shift as your business grows. But these 5 small business keys to success will teach you the fundamentals of how to make your small business successful.
5 Keys To Business Success
So, what are the 5 keys to success in business? Believe it or not, they have nothing to do with profit and loss margins, finding the right suppliers, hiring the right staff or any of the other big financial factors that come into play when running a business.
They have more to do with developing strong relationships and getting your processes right.
The following 5 small business keys to success are the fundamentals your business will be built on. Get these right to set yourself up for success and make every future step in your business that much easier.
1. Choosing The Right Niche
I’m asked ‘what are the most successful small businesses to start’ way too often. I see other consultants post lists of ‘hot new business ideas’ claiming to know what types of small businesses are most successful. While there are definitely businesses that are easier to run or have higher profit margins, ultimately that means nothing to the individual.
The best chance you have of running a successful business is by finding your niche. What is it that you alone can offer? What do you know the most about? What can you deliver that people actually want? The last thing you want is to start a stock-standard business with no point of difference.
Finding this sweet spot can be difficult. The initial temptation is to go broad so that you’re not excluding potential customers. Unfortunately, that approach leads to confusing messages, with nothing speaking directly to your real customers. Taking a generic approach often means you’ll get lost.
Finding a niche with strong demand will set your business off on the right footing. A good place to start is to identify what you enjoy doing but also what you’re good at.
This doesn’t mean your niche can’t evolve, but having some idea of the right niche from the start will give you an edge over competitors. For more information on niching, check out my podcast episode To Niche or Not To Niche.
2. Knowing Your Audience
Going hand in hand with knowing your niche is knowing your audience. The first step here is to know for certain that there is an audience to begin with. A fatal mistake for many small businesses is going way too niche. If there are only three people who are interested in your product or service, why will your business be successful at all?
If you know there is an audience out there who wants your product or service, learn everything you can about them. Find out where they hang out online, how many kids they have, how old they are, what problems they have and why they need your business. The more you know about them, the easier it will be to sell to them.
Surveying your target market to uncover their pain points can give you a lot of valuable information about your customers. Online platforms are a quick and easy way to do this. Find out what questions they have and what problems they’re facing.
You can also offer to help people (keep a limit on how many) and start testing your product or service.
3. Build Strong Foundations
How to run a successful small business ultimately comes down to building strong foundations. Without a strong foundation beneath you, the whole thing could fall apart.
Frequently a business owner starts their business because they’re good at their trade or profession. But many first business owners have never been taught how to run a business. They kick start their business and things seem great for a while. But as the business takes off things can start getting chaotic and out of hand.
It’s just like the three little pigs. Build your house from sticks or straw and the slightest breeze will knock it down. You need to build that sucker up with bricks so that it will stay standing through hurricanes. Building a business of bricks includes things such as, but not limited to:
- having a great product/service
- understanding your ideal client
- nailing your messaging
- having a conversational website
- knowing your brand
- having a sales funnel
- a great sales strategy and so much more.
Yes, it’s going to take you longer to build the foundations with bricks vs stick or straw but business is about the longer term strategy.
Building these foundations is one of the key factors I focus on inside my 12 month accelerator group business coaching program Profit Pillars with Angela Henderson.
4. Market Your Business
Marketing is a big one. It’s the bridge between you and your audience, which makes it an essential part of business success. Despite this, so many businesses leave it to the wayside and then wonder why they aren’t getting new customers.
Having a strong online presence for your brand is extremely important. Although it can be tempting to rely on social media platforms to save cost, it’s worth remembering your website is where you’ll build trust. And your customers won’t buy from you unless they trust you.
People aren’t just going to find your business. You need to put it right in front of them. All businesses should be doing some form of marketing, whether it be ads, social media posts, email drives, or even posting on your community bulletin board. Develop a plan to get in front of your target audience and make it your priority.
5. Find Support
The last of the 5 small business keys to success is so easy to overlook but can make the biggest difference for both you and your business. Find the support you need.
That can be in the form of a Women in Business community, a business coach, or just a friend who also works for themselves.
Running a business is hard and you’re going to face challenges along the way. Having somebody you can call who knows what you’re going through can make all the difference.
As your business grows, the support you need might change. Make it your business to understand where you can get the help you need. Building a network of peers will help you keep up to date with industry trends and emerging ideas.
With only one third of small businesses succeeding through the first three years of operation, it makes sense to get support and help where you need it.
Tips For Growing a Successful Business
Now you know the 5 keys to business success, here’s some tips for growing your business.
Hire The Right People
With limited budgets, most small businesses need to hire where they can get the best bang for their buck. That usually means hiring people who are good at what you’re not. Hiring your weaknesses means you can use your time more effectively doing the things you’re good at.
Always Look To Improve
In this fast paced world, things change quickly. Staying the same for an extended period of time will likely mean your business will become less relevant
Before you start making changes, it’s a good idea to get an understanding of the factors affecting your business success. Think about your current business practices, market trends or changes to the wider industry that affect your business.
Provide a Better Service / Product Than Your Competitors
Knowing who your competitors are and what they are offering can help you understand how to better serve your clients.
What can you do to make your product or services stand out? While it makes sense to run your own race, keeping an eye on your competitors can be helpful when it comes to better meeting your customers’ needs.
With so much to do, it can be hard to stay focused on what’s important and the things that will actually contribute to your business succeeding. Articulating your goals and how you plan to get there can help you and your team stay on track.
Plus setting aside time to work on your business will help you keep the big picture in mind when it’s so easy to get caught up in doing “all the things” of day to day operations.
Work On Your Mindset
Running a small business takes tenacity, dedication and confidence. You need to have a belief that you can succeed. But if you’re also able to incorporate a growth mindset into your business, you’ll be more prepared to navigate the ebbs and flows of the business.
To grow your business and achieve your goals needs ongoing effort. Plus you’ll benefit from the ability to face challenges and setbacks, and the willingness to learn and do new things.
Running a business is a journey, so having the right business mindset will help you stay in it for the long term.
Where to From Here
These 5 keys to business success have given me the foundations to create a thriving business. And they can do the same for you too.
Most often it’s No 5 Get Support that becomes the sticking point. All too often small business owners find they don’t have the time or resources to ensure they’re getting the support they need.
But a coach or business consultant to help you start or run a successful business could be just what you need.
Stop trying to figure everything out on your own and give yourself advice from someone who has created not 1 but 2 successful 6-figure businesses. Let’s hop on a 30-minute discovery call where we can chat about your goals, struggles and how I can help you as your business consultant/coach. BOOK YOUR CALL HERE.
Want all that coaching value plus input from other badass women in business? Secure your spot at the Action Takers Mastermind Business Group for Women. You can also connect with a community of small business owners by joining my Facebook group, the Women in Business Collaborative.