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Image by: Annie Annie Pancake
By Alexa Hughes
Starting your own business is an impressive venture that is full of opportunity…and also a few challenges here and there. Ideally everything will fall into place and expanding will become the next step in the plan, after all you can’t keep that blossoming project running out of the basement office forever!
Statistics say that almost half of the reasons why home businesses fail has to with incompetence, such as neglecting to keep records or being overwhelmed by the emotional investment, so staying organized and making necessary changes as they arise is truly important.
Once you get over the initial hump of starting and feel stable in your goals you will want to take your business to that next level, whatever that may mean for you. Here are some tips for doing so.
#1) Evaluate Where You are
You’ll know you’re ready to make some changes when you start feeling like you don’t have enough space or enough hours in the day to possibly handle the workload that your business is demanding. Evaluating where you currently stand is the best way to decide what needs to happen next. Keep track of money, hours, product, and how quickly the demands are changing.
Depending on the type of business you’re running, getting a bigger office might be a life changing option, or you might just need someone to answer the phone for you and field out any unnecessary (and time consuming) phone calls.
#2) Think About Where You’d Like to Be
Sometimes when we start a new venture we’re not even sure it’s going to workout, so we don’t want to think too big, but that’s a mistake. Envisioning the best possible outcome in your opinion is the best way to make it a reality. Know that every successful business had to start somewhere and for the most part beginnings tend to be humble ones.
This doesn’t mean that creative visualization is going to make you a millionaire over night necessarily, but it does mean that you can start to think of yourself as a businesswoman and be open to new and different ideas and opportunities as they come along. Any dream is a worthy dream. Assume that if you see a spot in the world where your business could be of service, then other people are going to feel the same way too.
#3) Take Steps Toward Your Big Goals
The only way to get anywhere is to just put one foot in front of the other and start walking. Say it would be ideal to get your crafty bowls featured in a home spread in an interior design magazine. Besides just running your sales through an Etsy store, see if you can get some local businesses to sell your product or reach out to some smaller interior design blogs and offer up what you’ve got in trade for being featured on their site.
Taking steps toward your goals might also mean delegating some of the workload to the most efficient people to increase your productivity, and it might mean committing to continuous learning to stay on track with continuous growth. Taking classes and asking other business owners for advice can open your perspective and ignite creativity.
Plant as many seeds as possible and the odds are that at least some of those seeds will sprout. Collaboration and networking can be a great tool for turning those baby steps into wider strides.
#4) Put Importance on the Customer Connection
Every business works by exchanging some sort of goods or services between people, so having a great customer service practice in place can really make a small business. A pop star wouldn’t be a pop star without her fans, so think about your business in the same way. Regular customers not only mean a steady income for you, but word of mouth referrals are one of the best ways to get new clients or customers.
These days Yelp and other online review services carry a lot of weight too, so you might as well try and make every person as happy as possible (within healthy reason). Address problems as they arise, answer questions thoroughly, have a website that is easy to use, and be efficient with appointment times and product turnaround.
#5) Stay Focused
By the time we hit certain goals we usually have even larger ones looming in the distance, which is a great thing, but it can sometimes feel like we’re never getting “there” wherever that imaginary place is. Accepting the journey is crucial for being able to enjoy yourself during the process, because yes there will also be another milestone to get to.
Don’t lose track of the things you have already accomplished along the way, remind yourself that a couple years ago the life you’re living was merely a dream to keep some perspective. Plus, thinking about how far you’ve come can be a powerful boost for the next steps. If you’ve accomplished all this great stuff so far, it’s only a matter of time before the next round lands in your lap too.
Do you have a business that’s bursting at the seams and ready to take on the next level? Let us know how the process is treating you and if our tips have spurred your motivation!