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How to Grow a Successful Business

small business idea example: food truck owner

How to Grow a Successful Business

Charles is a nationally recognized capital markets specialist and educator with over 30 years of experience developing in-depth training programs for burgeoning financial professionals. Charles has taught at a number of institutions including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Societe Generale, and many more.

Jiwon Ma is a fact checker and research analyst with a background in cybersecurity, international security, and technology and privacy policies. Before joining Dotdash, she consulted for a global financial institution on cybersecurity policies and conducted research as a Research Analyst at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

To succeed in business today, you need to be flexible and have good planning and organizational skills. Many people start a business thinking that they’ll turn on their computers or open their doors and start making money, only to find that making money in a business is much more difficult than they thought.

You can avoid this in your business ventures by taking your time and planning out all the necessary steps you need to achieve success. Whatever type of business you want to start, using the following nine tips can help you be successful in your venture.

Key Takeaways

9 Tips For Growing A Successful Business

Analyze Your Competition

Competition breeds the best results. To be successful, you can’t be afraid to study and learn from your competitors. After all, they may be doing something right that you can implement in your business to make more money.

How you analyze competition will vary between sectors. If you’re a restaurant owner, you may simply be able to dine at your competition’s restaurants, ask other customers what they think, and gain information that way. However, you could be a company with much more limited access to your competitors, such as a chemicals company. In that case, you would work with a business professional and accountant to go over not just what the business presents to the world, but any financial information you may be able to get on the company as well.

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8. Life/ Career Coach

If you have experience navigating career, personal, and social transitions successfully, put it to good use as a life or career coach. Many of us are looking for guidance in our careers — and finding someone with the time to mentor us can be tough.

Life/career coaches don’t come cheap, but they are able to offer clients the intense and hands-on training and advice they need to make serious moves in their personal and professional lives. After all, everyone needs some uplifting advice from time to time.

small business idea example: Career Coach Nariah Broadus

Looking for inspiration? Nariah Broadus has dedicated more than 20 years to helping people create better working environments and navigate change successfully as a career and leadership coach. Check out her story for more inspiration to get started with this small business idea.

9. Resume Writer

Creating a resume, cover letter, and — when necessary — portfolio for a new job can be tough and time-consuming. That’s why many people hire help. Assist clients with tailored resumes, beautifully edited cover letters, and carefully-crafted portfolios that make it impossible for employers to ignore. And if you’re feeling nervous about writing resumes from scratch, you can use the templates below to get started:

→ Download Now: 12 Resume Templates [Free Download]

13. Photographer

Start by conducting photo shoots for your family and friends. As you build a body of work, ask for referrals and reviews. Photography businesses often grow by word of mouth, so create a Facebook page where you can tag recent clients. Photos where you tag those clients will show up in their friends’ newsfeeds, where they can view your work. You can also ask them to leave reviews on your Facebook business page.

Like with a video production small business, you’ll want to specialize. Will you do product shoots or portraits? How about wedding or fashion photo shoots? Once you specialize, you’ll be able to create a body of work that most accurately represents your strengths.

There are no educational or licensure requirements for starting a small photography business, but we recommend investing in a few photography courses, especially if you haven’t used your camera in a while. Some courses you might start with include:

If you’re not sure where to start with freelance photography, take a look at Erica Clayton’s journey into the business below. Her advice? Give yourself a firm deadline to turn a profit.

If you’re not sure where to start with freelance photography, take a look at Erica Clayton’s journey into the business below. Her advice? Give yourself a firm deadline to turn a profit.

14. Bed and Breakfast Owner

small business idea example: bed and breakfast

This is another business venture that will require you to research the correct licensure from your state, but it will be well worth it to see your dreams come true. Consider what guests will be traveling to your area and create special packages and themed stays that coincide with their interests in your locale.

To start a bed and breakfast business, you’ll need a physical business location and a small staff for maintenance, customer service, and upkeep. For that reason, we recommend it if you have startup funds to start your business. (Don’t have any? Here’s how to start crowdfunding to launch your new business.)

A successful bed and breakfast business will also need an SEO-optimized website with a hotel booking system. If you create your website on the WordPress platform, you can easily create a B&B website using a hotel booking plugin — so there’s no need to code the booking form from scratch.

With Airbnb and hotels stealing market share, the competition is tough in the bed and breakfast space, so we recommend providing a unique angle to the stay. As mentioned, the stays can be themed — maybe your B&B is a vintage home with all original furniture, or maybe you offer traditional fare from your homeland.

15. Clothing Boutique Owner

If you dream of building your own fashion empire, why not start with a local boutique? Build buzz with impressive clothing styles, inspiring social media accounts, and heavy community involvement. While you can open a physical store, you can easily start online — and if that proves profitable, you can open up a local shop.

Best Businesses to Start with Little Money

1. Translator

Speak a foreign language? Start a translation service. Consider specializing in a specific genre of translation, like medical or financial translation, as you might be able to fill a niche need in your community.

2. Garden Designer

Many people have the willingness to do the dirty work in their backyards, but few have the know-how to complete the first part of this process — designing and planning the backyard space. Draw up the designs for your clients’ outdoor spaces and let them do the actual digging.

3. Ecommerce Store Owner

Do you create, collect, or curate anything special? Consider starting an ecommerce store and turning your hobby into a full-time job. Whether you need somewhere to sell all that pottery you’ve been making, or an excuse to search for the sports memorabilia you love tracking down, an ecommerce store can make it financially viable for you to pursue your passion.

Download Now: Ecommerce Planning Templates + Kit

17. Event Planner

You might choose to specialize in a specific type of event — like weddings or company meetings — or set yourself up as an event planner of all trades. If you’re highly organized, are detail-oriented, and have experience planning large events, it might be time others benefit from your skills.

18. Personal Assistant

Again, if you’re an organized, highly-detailed person, the life of a personal assistant might be for you. Don’t want to be tied to one office or person all day, every day? Consider becoming a virtual assistant, which allows you a more flexible work environment.

19. Consignment Shop Owner

If you have an eye for style but don’t want to invest in the inventory of a brand-new boutique, consider going consignment. It will allow you to curate a collection of clothing that matches your goals and aesthetic, without the overhead of a boutique selling entirely new garments.

20. Caterer

If that personal chef gig is too restrictive for your schedule, consider catering instead. Pick your projects, work on fewer but larger events, and hone in on your time management skills.

21. Gym Owner

Kickboxing gyms, yoga studios, CrossFit, oh my! Turn your passion for fitness into a community for others by creating your own gym — start one from the ground up, become an affiliate, or open a franchise location.

22. Boutique Agency Owner

What’s your specialty? Whether it’s marketing, social media, or PR, it might be time to start your own agency. Many other small businesses need this type of help but don’t have the resources or volume to necessitate a full-time position.

23. Coffee Shop Owner

Turn your caffeine addiction into something a little more lucrative. Opening a franchise or buying an existing shop are lower-risk entry points to the coffee game but they usually require a little more cash upfront. Starting a shop from scratch requires a little more planning and a lot more work — but it also maximizes your earning potential in the future.

24. Moving Company

A truck, moving equipment, manpower, and the correct permits and insurance are the building blocks of starting your own moving company. Before you buy your first fleet of trucks, however, start small with a moving van and keep your costs low.

small business idea example: moving company

25. Home Staging

If you have a flair for interior design, a staging service might serve as your creative outlet and professional calling. You can build a portfolio with little initial investment by staging homes using the owner’s existing furnishings and decor. Most stagers eventually build up an inventory of furniture as they become more established and network with area realtors.

26. Makeup Artist

Many people prefer to have a professional do their makeup because they may lack the proper products or just the skills. It may be for a special occasion, photoshoot, or video shoot, or another event. Being able to do a variety of different looks will make your business more attractive to more customers.

27. Professional Organizer

A lot of people struggle with clutter or disorganization in their homes and offices. It can be a large undertaking to create systems and habits that will create continuous organization. Grab a lot of storage bins and a label maker and get started!

small business idea example: gosimplified

20 Tips for Small Business Owners

1. Stay organized.

  • Keep accurate records of business finances: Record every transaction (customer billings and vendor payments) into the proper account at least once weekly and keep an eye on the bottom line. Keep copies of all invoices, cash receipts and cash payments for bookkeeping and tax purposes.
  • Set (and keep) deadlines: Stay on top of administrative tasks using project management software — this lets you set deadlines, assign tasks to employees and upload documentation to a central repository.
  • Plan ahead: Plan your social media campaigns in advance using social media scheduling software. Use email marketing automation to follow up with new leads. Use Slack, Zoom and Microsoft Teams for quick communication with your team. If something can be explained in an email, you don’t need to have a meeting about it.

2. Learn to be flexible.

Agile businesses can quickly pivot in response to changing market conditions, while the slow movers struggle not to become obsolete. Lean into your data and be willing to change course. Listen to customer feedback and don’t be too wedded to your own opinions.

For example, let’s say you’ve conducted interviews with prospective customers and it turns out your product isn’t well-received or the market for it is too small. Don’t cling to a business idea that won’t float. Be willing to change your business model or pricing strategy if your current approach isn’t working for you.

3. Automate as many things as possible.

Automating repeatable tasks saves time and ensures small things don’t fall through the cracks. Recently met a prospective client at a networking event? Use your CRM tool to automatically follow up with new contacts within 24 hours or send emails to new leads who visit your website. Use accounting software to automate your day-to-day bookkeeping so you don’t waste time on data entry.

Salvage abandoned shopping carts by sending an automated email to nudge shoppers to complete their purchases. If you don’t use payroll software, learn how to automate payroll management in Excel.

4. Maintain a personal touch.

Small businesses are uniquely positioned to offer a personal touch — especially if you have a small team or run the company yourself. Handwritten thank-you notes go a long way. Or, you can include a simple gift alongside the purchase or offer freebies in exchange for reviews.

Use your CRM tool to make notes of personal details for each customer so you can offer more high-touch personalizations. For example, say you’re a jeweler who recently sold a custom engagement ring. You can send a simple wedding gift and a discount offer for a future purchase after the couple marries.

5. Protect your intellectual property.

For a small business, this means protecting things like designs, business ideas and trade secrets. If a competitor tries to copy your product, they can erode your market share and damage your reputation. If you decide to register a trademark or apply for a patent, it’s best to seek an attorney’s help to make sense of the legalese and avoid making minor mistakes (eg: omissions in descriptions or drawings, missing deadlines) that can result in your request being denied.

6. Have a great website.

Treat it as sacrosanct. Keep the design clean and simple — limit colors, banner ads and pop-ups — and invest time in proper SEO. Before you build a website, put some serious thought into branding. Branding builds trust and differentiates you from your competitors.

State your brand’s value proposition upfront so first-time visitors understand your offer. Take it from the search engine DuckDuckGo. Its homepage states simply: “Search the web without being tracked” — a worthy appeal to today’s consumers who are concerned about data privacy.

Use high-quality images (stock images don’t build trust) and hire a professional to take photos of all your products. Also, write thorough product descriptions — focus on product benefits, highlight key features and, where possible, tell a story.

7. Create unique content.

Say you run a bakery. Find a way to bring people into the kitchen by filming your process. If you run a clothing label, create unique lookbooks featuring your female friends as models to show a variety of body shapes and skin tones, rather than hiring models from an agency.

If you’re an interior designer specializing in small spaces, upload videos on YouTube or start a podcast to share DIY tips for renters. Find ways to be authentic, share your expertise and tell the story of your business.

The Final Word

For example, an early-stage startup might want to have positive cash flow within one year, while an established business might look to increase word of mouth referrals or tap new markets.

How can I make my small business successful?

Successful small businesses are run by passionate entrepreneurs who also possess strong business acumen. To maximize your chances of success, keep accurate records of all transactions, cut costs wherever possible (without sacrificing product quality) and focus on providing an outstanding customer experience. Successful businesses offer products and services that ease a pain point, solve a problem or serve a passion.

What are the best business tips?

One of the most helpful things a business owner can do is write a business plan. This document lets you define the scope of your business needs, startup costs and the target market.

What do small business owners need most?

More than anything, small business owners are pressed for time. Using automation — email marketing, social media scheduling, lead generation — cuts down time spent on administrative tasks while ensuring nothing falls through the cracks.

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Sources:

https://www.investopedia.com/articles/pf/08/make-money-in-business.asp
https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/small-business-ideas
https://www.bigcommerce.com/blog/tips-for-small-business-owners/

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