Journal | Our Top 7 Tips for Small Business Owners
Studies have shown that 50% of start ups fail within the first 3 years. So I guess we're part of the lucky 50% that have made it this far.
We are super proud of what we have achieved over the past 3 years with our baby and brand, Golden Grind.
Some of the big wins and best moments from us include; winning best beverage product at the Naturally Good Expo, securing ranging in some of the worlds top retailers including Self Fridges, supporting hundreds of other small businesses, working with precious communities in our local area, successfully working with family and of course, the best and biggest of all, providing you, our customers, with genuine health products that better the quality of your health and life.
Although for this particular BLOG, we wanted to focus on our business learning's and share them with you in case you are going through a similar journey. If you're trying to launch a new idea, do something better or make a buck doing your own gig, we hope we can share some advice that helps YOU. Some of our experiences over the past 3 years have been invaluable learning's and we love knowing that by sharing these, maybe someone can benefit.
So our top 7 small business tips for the fellow start ups out there....
- Have a super strong and thorough business plan. It may seem like a huge amount of time and investment but without a solid foundation, your business will be harder than it needs to be. Put time in the early days into learning who your customer is, what they want, how they want to be spoken to, how to do your accounting properly and register business names and ideas. Have a sales and marketing strategy (even if it's super basic) so you structure and accountability from the get go.
- Communication is king. If you have business partners or investors and of course, with your customers. Talk talk talk! It's the very best way to ensure internally you don't have issues that become bigger than they need to be. It's also the best way to get to know your customer. Hold focus groups, engage with what they're liking and not liking about what you're doing. The more open your channels of communication, the more feedback you will receive, and the more customer centric you can make your business.
- Have a point of difference. As must as starting a business can be built from the concept of reinventing the way things have been done previously, or improving an existing product or service, don't just rip something else off and hope you can get their customers. It won't work. Copy cats never survive long enough to have a successful business. Consumers are far too savvy these days with the transparency of businesses that they will know if you've just ripped off someone else's idea/product/service and put your own name on it. Know from day dot your POD and share it in all your comms.
- Share the workload. If you have started with a partner or team, use those resources to your advantage. Don't think that if you do everything yourself, then everything will better. The reality is, you are more likely to burn out and compromise the quality of your work. If you are a sole founder, identify your strengths (and shadows, which we prefer over weaknesses) and then implement a strategy that has you doing the things you're really good at in your business and hire or outsource for the things you're not so good at. If you're a killer sales rep, but not so good with accounting and finance, don't spend all your time trying to learn how to do the finance and accounting and then compromising the time spent on sales. Do sales and do it well, and then hire a great accountant to work with you on achieving your goals.
- Know your numbers. The concept of ignorance is bliss certainly does not apply when it comes to your businesses finance. Know from the get go what your product or service cost, what overheads you need to cover to run the business (do you need a website? a phone? an office?), and work out what you need as the bare minimum in sales to cover the cost of the goods and those overheads. This is your break even point. Know this figure back to front and inside out. If you're not hitting this, your business isn't sustainable and you will with longevity. If you're planning on selling through distributors or wholesalers, know what they need in terms of margins before you set your RRP. You don't want to get down the track and not be able to fit in the wholesaler margin if a great retailer wants to stock your product.
- Know your 'why'? Simon Sinek said it best in his ted talk. Always focus on your 'why' and come back to your 'why'. Your 'why' is your purpose, your cause or your belief. Why are you starting what you're starting and why do you think customers should buy what you're making or selling? Always let this drive what you do in business. We recommend watching the video, Simon explains it best.
- Create a brand not just a product. Consumers are more likely to buy into what you're selling if they buy into your brand. If a consumer likes a brand, and follows that brand, not only will you maintain their loyalty, but you'll also increase your ability to sell them multiple products or services. Having a strong brand will also help you immensely if you do find competitors/copy cats enter the market you're in. It will help set you apart if a consumer becomes overwhelmed with choice in your category. In terms of how to create a brand, it goes back to focusing on who you consumer is and what they like. Create content for them that's not just selling your product or service, but that's something they resonate with, or something they laugh at or find interesting. Be a source of information, inspiration or entertainment for them, as well as a place that sells them a product or service.
We hope these tips help you on your journey! Good-luck to all the fellow start up founders out there. Reality is, it can be a seriously tough, lonely, long hour-ed journey, we know that just as much as anyone else. Focus on the wins, focus on your why and you've got this!
xx Tahli, Renwick and Sage, the Golden Grind Founders.