Tips To Increase The Odds Of Your Small Business Success! (written August, 2009)

It was once said, “Four steps to achievement: Plan purposefully. Prepare prayerfully. Proceed positively. Pursue persistently.” Use this advice while pursuing the following tips.

  1. Stay Current. Join an industry association related to your product or offering. Subscribe to magazines that cover your business. (They are tax deductible!) Research topics about your business. It’s easy on the Internet.
  1. Make Sure You Have A Financial Plan. You will also need a budget and a measurement process to keep track of how you are doing monthly. If you don’t know where you stand financially and you have no short term or long-term financial goals, then you are just letting fate dictate your success. Control your own destiny!
  1. Cash Forecasting. Keep it simple. Look at your next 3 months projected income then just laid next to it all the expenses you need to keep the business running. The difference is your cash flow. You must do this to avoid surprises.
  1. Get An Advisory Board Or A Mentor. The board can be family members that you trust or friends. Ask them to review your business plans and results. Having someone to bounce ideas off and get an objective opinion is critical.
  1. Maintain A Balance Between Work, Play And Family. This is critical for long-term success. We all put in crazy hours on a short-term basis to get a hot project done or the product out the door, but if you do this on a long term, regular basis, it is a dangerous sign that you are losing perspective. You nee to be able to step away on a regular basis and get your batteries re-charged.
  1. Network. It is easy to get isolated in a home business or your own small business operation. Force yourself to get out and meet others that can provide a business support structure for you. Don’t think you can do it all yourself. By talking to others in business you will find out great ideas and it will help motivate you.
  1. Discipline/Motivation. One of the hardest aspects of a small business or home-based business is creating the discipline or motivation to work each day. It is so easy to get distracted and put off the essential tasks that need to get done. Keep your work place and hours separate from the rest of your responsibilities. Develop a to-do list every day. Set goals for the week. Review how you are doing against them. We all struggle with this and it is one of the key elements of success.
  1. Don’t Rest On Your Laurels. Be prepared to always change. Look for things to do more efficiently or how to improve your offering or product. Constantly evaluate your competition and benchmark yourself against them.
  1. Do Something You Love. If you are in a business or job that you hate, then it is a good bet you won’t be successful. Find where your true talents and skills are and get in a business that exploits them. The saying, “if you do what you love, the money will follow” is so true. Remember success is more attitude than aptitude and never forget that failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.

The author of this article is Larry Costello, President of All-American Print & Mail, 2200 Wilson Blvd #102-57, Arlington, VA 22201.