Starting a business is easy, but running a successful business is an entirely different story.
For instance, in the United States alone about 9% of businesses both new and old close every year. The failure rate of new businesses is relatively high, with about 50% failing within the first five years. That’s astonishing! However, this also means that 50% of new businesses survive past the five-year mark.
There are many reasons a business may fail. Here are the common ones:
- No demand: A great service or product won’t get you anywhere if there’s zero demand for it. So, market research is crucial in the initial stages. It’s been proven that there is great demand for a virtual assistant, but is what you offer in demand?
- Lack of money: Starting and running a business is expensive. You need money to get you started as well as carry you through the rough patches.
- Hiring the wrong people: The most successful entrepreneurs surround themselves with people who are smarter than them. You need a competent and skilled team to grow your business. This includes hiring your own VA, web designers, bookkeepers, etc.
- Too much competition: Venturing into an already saturated market with plenty of established providers is like fighting an uphill battle.
- Pricing: Setting your rates too high limits your customer base. And if your prices are too low, you’re losing revenue and you’ll struggle to stay afloat. Setting the best rates for you is a fine line.
That’s not all. Don’t forget that if you venture into the business world hoping for the best, you’re more likely to fail. It sounds harsh, but it’s true. You must actively work to build a successful business. You need to research, study, and learn.
Six Tips for Running a Business Like a Pro
- Know What You Want
Conducting careful and detailed market research is crucial if you want to build a successful business.
This market research is very important because it helps you identify your ideal customer, the existing competition, expected growth and demand, and market trends. These market insights are invaluable and they help you make informed decisions.
With market research and business goals in hand, remember to think about what you want to achieve personally. Because if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of anyone else.
- Write It Down
Even if you have a rough plan of what you want to do and who you want to work with, write it down. It’s not enough to dream and wish and set lofty goals. Studies show we’re more likely to achieve and remember our goals if we write them down. Also, we learn better if we write instead of just read.
To run your business like a pro, make a plan, set goals, create workflows, and write everything down.
- Be a Better Leader
Before anything else, you need to develop the leadership skills necessary to build your business’s long-term vision. Great leaders exhibit accountability, integrity, empathy, influence, humility, vision and organizational skills to drive their ideas to completion.
Even if you’re a new business owner with no clients or a team to support you, you must be able to lead your business to success. And as you grow and others come on board, this becomes even more important.
Do you have what it takes to become a better leader?
- Build a Strong Team
Don’t just build any team – build a strong, competent super-team.
As budget and demand allow, surround yourself with people who are competent in areas you are not. Seek their input and feedback. And involve them in decisions that directly or indirectly impact them; this will foster greater investment in what you’re building and it’ll help you make better and more informed decisions.
If you want to scale your business, don’t try to do everything yourself. No matter the size of your company, there are low-cost and accessible ways to get some things off your plate such as social media, copywriting, bookkeeping, etc.
Successful entrepreneurs and business owners delegate and outsource as necessary. This lightens your load and it lets you focus on your specific areas of expertise.
- Offer Great Customer Service
Clients are the backbone of any business. And clients want and expect an excellent experience from you. 86% of customers are ready to pay more for excellent customer service and 73% say customer experience is a key factor in their buying decisions. This not only applies to large multinational companies, it applies to your VA business too!
Since clients value great customer experience so highly, if you can provide it your customers are more likely to come to you again when they need something instead of going to your competitors.
- Listen to Your Clients
When it comes to listening and gathering client feedback, there are a myriad of options available. You can engage with your clients on social media, conduct surveys, or you can gather feedback by calling or emailing them. It’s essential to listen and consider what they’re saying.
To run your business like a pro, listen to your clients. Adapt and be flexible.