When you run a business, you’ll want it to succeed. That’s the same for any entrepreneur. No matter what kind of business they run. There’s no point in starting a business, and going through all the trials and tribulations that come with that, if you’re not going to want success from it.
And although the reality is that there’s no way to one hundred percent guarantee that your business will succeed, there are still some things you can do to help make it as successful as possible. Failure might still happen. And perhaps there’s nothing you can do about it. But if you do what you can from the start to make failure as unlikely as possible, then you’ll be doing the right thing.
But just what can you do to stop your business from failing, or even just to reduce the possibility of failure? It might seem like an impossible task. But that’s not the case. There are things you can do, and even if the outcome isn’t certain, that’s better than doing nothing at all. So, with that in mind, here are some ideas to help you make sure your business doesn’t fail.
Know Your Competition
There’s an old phrase that comes from a movie called The Godfather Part II (although it may well be a lot older than that, potentially dating back to ancient China), and it goes like this: ‘Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer’.
This is a great mantra to keep in mind if you want your business to be successful. And even if it sounds a little over the top – do you really have enemies anyway? It’s still a useful idea to bear in mind.
You may well not have enemies in the strictest sense of the word. But you will have competitors. And when it comes to ensuring your business is as successful as possible, knowing how they are and keeping up with them is crucial. They’re not exactly enemies, but keeping them close is a wise idea. If you know what your competitors are planning, how they’re marketing their products and services, their pricing strategies, their customer base, and so on, you can counter-attack (or come up with your own strategies that build on what you know and take things to the next level, in other words).
The last thing you’ll want is to avoid coping your competitors. Especially since that looks obvious and won’t get you very far. At best, people won’t use your business because someone else is already doing what you’re claiming to be able to do. And at worst, you’ll gain a bad reputation (and potentially even get into legal trouble) for stealing your competitors’ ideas. In other words, use their marketing and other plans as a jumping-off point, but do your own unique thing with the information you have.
When you’re already a step ahead, knowing your competitors is a useful tactic to boost your success.
Provide A Consistently Good Service
It’s a bad idea to discount how important good customer service is when you run a business. So don’t let that be a mistake you make. Consistently good service means consistently returning customers who consistently tell other people about your fantastic business, and the more that all happens, the more success you’ll see.
Conversely, consistently (or even intermittently) bad service will have the opposite effect. You won’t get returning customers, word of mouth will be negative if it happens at all, and in the end, that will lead to failure.
Which sounds like a better option?
The great thing about this idea when it comes to putting things in place that should help to keep your business from failing is that it’s something you should be doing anyway. When you start your business, you’re going to want to serve your customers well and do what you can to help them. After all, even if the main reason for starting your business is to make money for yourself. For example, the fact is that without your customers, that’s never going to happen. So you know you need to take care of them. And if you started your business from a more selfless standpoint, it’s sure to be on your mind all the time: how can you provide a consistently good service?
If you’re not sure what it is your customers want and need, just ask them. Not only will asking them outright, sending out surveys, or running polls on social media get you the answers you need in order to improve your business. But as a bonus, your customers will appreciate the fact that you’re asking and you’re interested in their responses. Especially if you act on the feedback you’re getting and let people know that you’ve taken their suggestions on board. This will make them even more loyal and more likely to spread the good word about your business.
This is a tough one for many business owners to hear, let alone do. But it’s vital! If you want your business to be successful and reduce the chances of failure, you need to step back from it. In other words, you need to create a business that runs without you.
This should be a goal for every business owner. And even if you start off with just you at the helm and no other team members, it can still be a goal that you reach. Having employees who you train up to take over from you might be the most obvious way to have a business that works without you, and that’s certainly a good place to start.
You can ensure everyone knows what to do by offering regular training sessions and checking in on what’s happening throughout the business. You shouldn’t micromanage things, but you can use live cinematic multicam setups to ensure you can keep up with your team even if you’re not in the office. For example, and you can delegate tasks slowly over time, to ensure you’re happy with the results before you hand over the reins.
Put Systems in Order
Alternatively, you might feel that hiring employees isn’t right for you (and it’s not right for every business). If that’s the case, but you still feel you want a business that works without you, there are options. After all, you may want to sell it at some point, or you want to retire and leave it in capable hands. Then it’s your systems that need to be in good order.
Your systems are a set of processes and tasks that have to be done in a specific way to keep your business running. They’ll be for everything from ordering more stock, to locking up the office at night. The more you have, and the more detailed they are, the better. It might feel like a tedious thing to do at the time when you have to note down every single aspect of every single job, big or small, but it will pay off in the end when you have a full set of detailed systems you can hand over to the next owner or manager who can then seamlessly take things over and keep your business a success.
Be In It For The Long Haul
It might seem as though there are plenty of businesses that become successful overnight. Giving their owners the life they always wanted without any hard work or effort involved. It might seem like this is the case, but it’s not. The truth is that behind the scenes of every ‘overnight success’ there are years and years of work. Just because you don’t know about it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
So if that’s the case for them, it could be the case for you as well. You might put in years and years of hard work and then become extremely successful. The thing is, you’ll never know if you don’t try. And that’s why, if you want your business to be successful, you need to be in it for the long haul. You need to be aware that becoming successful – really successful, at least – is going to take a lot of hard work, effort, and some sacrifices to get there.
That means, to begin with, you need to be comfortable with that. And be willing to put in the effort needed. Otherwise, owning a business isn’t for you. And it would be better if you got a job working for someone else. If you are comfortable with that, you’ll also need to be patient. As we said, overnight success is never really overnight success. And it could be many years before you get where you want to be. Be patient and work hard, and you’re much more likely to prevent failure. You are also more likely to become the successful business owner you planned to be right from the start.
There are all kinds of things that can cause a business to fail. And although some of them will be in your control, otherwise won’t. You might not even be able to properly plan for them. However, you have to try. And you have to do whatever you can to prevent failure. That’s a success in its own right.
For more on this topic, check out the full Work Life Balance collection