[Opinion Piece] Business Essentials for Start-ups
You have secured the finance, found the perfect location, and have signed a contract. Congratulations, you are now the owner of a business. For many business owners, the most important part is securing finance and signing that all important contract. What follows is business as usual; staff training, stock management and then trading. However, “business as usual” can turn into a failure faster than you can say profit.
Small and medium enterprises rarely survive beyond their emerging phase, this is according to research conducted by the DTI (2008). There are various reasons why businesses fail – lack of funds, support, crime – the list is endless.
However, Jan De Beer, Managing Executive at Taste Holdings adds that businesses mostly fail when owners rest on their laurels. The real work starts from day one and even before the contract is signed says De Beer. “It is so important that any business has a clear vision of where it’s going including a single-minded proposition for its customers, robust service levels agreements, and an innovative approach to marketing.”
How, as a small business do you navigate these pitfalls? “Nothing is guaranteed and that’s the reality but it’s also true that you can equip yourself and your staff to deal with the curveballs. Being prepared is a combination of experience, knowledge and the ability to change in order to see you through the tough times.”
De Beer cites four fundamentals to fail-safe your business.
Failure to plan is planning to fail
First and foremost, assess your skill and knowledge, and identify the gaps. Armed with business acumen, entrepreneurs are more likely to see the long term goals and what is required to reach that goal.
If this is a get-rich-quick decision, then don’t even think about starting a business. A business is a labour of love and it takes patience, just ask Richard Branson who spent years crafting, changing and perfecting his businesses.
Make sure that your offering is unique and of a high standard.
Customer journey implies that your responsibility as a business continues even after you have introduced your quality product. Service level is crucial to customer retention and enhancing the customer experience.
Gone are the days of relying solely on Word of Mouth advertising. Ever since the Mad Men era, advertising plays a major role in the success of your business. However, marketing has changed with the advent of online and social media platforms. How people interact with a brand has changed and so, your business will have to adapt. Find new and innovative ways and platforms to create positive conversation and visibility for your business.