June 11, 2019
Top 5 Things to Consider When Starting Your Own Business
By Jenna Paulus, Public Relations Manager, Deluxe
For the “Small Business Tips” series, we met one-on-one with inspiring entrepreneurs all across America. Each one shares actionable insights and lessons to help other small business owners overcome some of their biggest (and most common) challenges.
It is a fact that we fail more often than we succeed. For small business owners, this fact is known, since many small business owners find out early and often what steps they need to take to thrive, and which are holding them back.
Traveling from one small town to another, the Small Business Revolution team at Deluxe Corporation meets dozens upon dozens of entrepreneurs and small business owners who share their advice, their mistakes and their wins. As a unit, small business owners are an incredibly agile, positive and resilient group, always finding ways to come back to life. Today, we share some of the best tips we received this year, direct from the mouths of entrepreneurs:
- Know your strengths
As a small business owner, you are in charge of everything. If you own a retail shop, you’re in the business greeting and selling to customers, and you are the accountant, the marketing manager, social media guru and human resources director. Yet, with only so many hours in the day, you can’t do everything.
April Pomeroy of Mita’s Coffee Lab in Corsicana, Texas had a corporate background, but lacked experience running her own shop. A website with top-notch photos was something high on her list yet she didn’t know where to start. “I know I’m not a website designer and I’m not a photographer, so those were two things I knew I was going to outsource.” Too often, small business owners think they need to do it all themselves and end up having a less than stellar website. Recognizing your strengths and what you should outsource is a true key for success.
- Standardize training
When the business takes off and you need to hire more people, there is a need to make sure everyone who works for you is on the same page. Hiring employees, can be daunting, especially if training is involved. By establishing a standardized training regimen, it can make things much easier when you find yourself hiring employees. Having a pattern, doing things the same way, makes it easier to train, and it helps new employees know their boundaries and parameters when it comes to the job. This way, everyone knows what they need to accomplish to be successful.
- Set aside time for social media
At Deluxe, we emphasize the need to spend time on a business’s social media pages. It’s how you reach customers and many times, how you advertise your products. It was a pleasant surprise when many of the small businesses we spoke to also emphasized the importance of setting aside time for social media.
Mandi Straub of Mandi Moon Artistry in Camas, Washington said she wished she had known just how much time you need to set aside to take pictures for social media and to schedule social posts. Being a makeup artist, her business is incredibly visual, so knowing the importance of social for her business and scheduling posts, helps her gain more recognition for her business.
- Give value to your product
Valuing your time, your skill, your abilities is never easy. Be it a retail shop, a trade shop or a restaurant, finding the right price is extremely important. How do you compare to competition? Are you pricing for quality or value? Are you pricing by volume? Are you factoring rent and utilities into your pricing structure? Asking relevant questions to your business will help give value to your product, while showing customers you’re worth the amount they’re paying.
- Have space for your business
Sometimes, as a small business, you can’t afford a brick and mortar store right away. Ian and Mandi Straub of Mandi Moon Artistry currently have seats in Mandi’s mom’s business, Wild Hair in Camas, Washington. Not having a space makes it hard to get business, because you don’t have the normal foot traffic that a brick and mortar gets. You must be creative in getting business until you can afford space of your own. Being able to set up in an already existing business can help, because customers are already visiting the existing business. In Arlington, Washington, FauxyFurr Vintage, which sell custom boots, hatbands, feather earrings and more, are set up inside The Country Rose, which sells home décor and custom paints for refinishing furniture. With people already walking in, they’re able to also see what FauxyFurr has to offer. Using your website or social media as your storefront can also help get you customers when a brick and mortar isn’t in the cards right away.
Starting a small business is a feat in and of itself, and sometimes, businesses jump in head first without thinking through everything. There are many more tips we could add to this list, because so many things are overlooked in the process of starting a small business. If the passion is there and if you’re willing to work hard, utilizing these tips will put you on your way to success.