Guest Contributor

5 Ways to Start a Successful Business

By | Craig Middleton

Starting a new business is a major turning point in a person’s life. There is tremendous potential for success, but there is also the risk of failure. Nothing worth having comes easily, but it remains important to minimize the risks you take and to maximize your potential for success and profit. Here are a few methods you can use to gain the upper hand and give your business a chance to thrive.

Study Success Stories

One method of preparing yourself to succeed in business is to study the successes of others. Knowing what obstacles a successful company has encountered and how they overcome these obstacles can be of tremendous benefit to a fledgling business. The Salesforce history, for example, chronicles that company’s rise to power, so to speak, which can serve as a template. Studying competitors is especially helpful, as the information received is more pertinent to your company’s specific needs, but any and all success stories warrant a closer examination, and you stand to learn a great deal from failures, as well.

Chart a Clear Path

Despite what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men, having a plan is crucial, even if you will invariably have to work around changing circumstances. This starts with developing a clear idea of what kind of business will be profitable in the current business landscape. Playing to the crowd and finding your brand’s niche are both crucial parts of the process, but they often seem diametrically opposed. Finding the balance between them is, however, essential for economic viability. When trying to secure funding, you’ll need to pitch your business to loan officers and investors, so you need to refine this pitch into a clear money maker.

Create a Stable Supply Chain

The term “supply chain” refers to the multi step process that a product goes through in order to be produced and sold. A given business almost never produces their own products, as manufacturing and selling products requires substantially more resources and more coordination that would be viable. Therefore, the process is typically split into three steps: manufacturing, distribution, and retail. Even if your company doesn’t specialize in retail, the first two steps will remain an important part of almost any business, because businesses universally need various supplies. Making an arrangement with a cost effective and reliable distributor for whatever supplies you need is a crucial part of a healthy business.

Reduce Spending Responsibly

Every business has a bevy of associated operational costs that are referred to as “overhead.” These costs are unavoidable, but there are ways to reduce costs in order to maximize profit. However, there are also a number of ways to reduce business expenses that also contribute to poorer quality in your products and services, for example, and these will hurt your business in the long run. Therefore, finding the delicate balance between cost effectiveness and ethics is crucial. Digital file storage is one way to reduce your cost of operation in a way that won’t create additional problems. Physical file storage requires additional space and contributes the use of additional resources like paper and ink, so moving those files onto your office computer, or even into the cloud, can save you a ton of money over time.

Professional Marketing

Marketing is the primary vehicle through which your brand proliferates. While a base level of marketing knowledge is easily obtainable, you should avoid the pitfall of homebrewed marketing. There is a science to effective marketing and advertising that can prove elusive to in house marketing teams. Hiring a marketing agency will prove more costly, but it will also prove more successful. Marketing is also a broad topic, as it entails things like advertising, branding, and even social media, making it a complex field in need of a lot of attention and time, making a dedicated marketing team essential.

Starting a business will provide a number of challenges that can feel like a gamble. However, there are a number of proven methods to engineer the greatest possible change of success. Following these tips can help even the odds and allow your small business to grow.

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