Statistically, 4 out of every 5 businesses fail within 18 months. There is some debate regarding these numbers and what 'failing' really means. The hard truth is that most that don't fail or go bankrupt are merely paying their bills; aka staying afloat. This article is not intended to strike fear or dissuade you from starting your own business and being financially independent. On the contrary, it's to encourage you to consider a few factors that can help you succeed.
Key idea: A business does not exist to provide employment to its partners but to generate profits. We work day in and day out to make the business thrive. Consider: Will you feel accomplished by keeping yourself busy in the office or by significantly improving your lifestyle and possibly that of your family? While you ponder over that question, how about we answer this one:
How can you succeed as an Internet Entrepreneur?
1. Connect with your client base
It doesn't matter if you provide a product or service for a fee or are creating a community, there is no avoiding listening to what your customers have to say. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that most of us are likely not going to be the next Steve Jobs, but we can experience tremendous success if we keep this tip in mind. Apple has built a business based on what customers don't know they want and have created a need in people that most had no idea that they had. Although it's not easy to replicate what Apple has been able to accomplish no entrepreneur is going to fare off very well unless they listen to the client and provide real value and solutions to their demands and needs. You don't need to be the first, or the cheapest, you need to know your customer and serve them the best you can.
2. Spend smart
Even if you are well funded from day one, leadership cannot loose sight of smart spending. This goes for the initial stages when you're burning through your "seed" funds or later on when revenues cover expenses. Irresponsible spending was one of the main reasons many businesses were hurt by the Internet bust some years back and it continues to be a constant risk with today's small businesses. Startups need to move fast without burning through tons of cash and find their keys to success.
The highest costs are running a business usually include staff, office space & infrastructure, and marketing & advertising.
- Hire smart. Underpaying your employees is bad for business; and for karma, according to some. Hiring the right people will produce the best results, will keep you ahead of the competition, and will reward you with revenues and positive returns. If you need help in this regard, seek a professional or consider reading a book like "Hiring Smart"; Amazon.com link here.
- Consider flexible workspace solutions. When your business is new and growing, signing a long-term lease for a conventional office space can be immensely crippling. Uddy Carmi, CEO of OfficeList.com brilliantly states the conundrum faced by startups and offers a solution: Do you select an office that will accommodate future growth and pay for underused space for months or years or do you take up space for you current needs and incur penalties by having to break a lease to move to a larger space? Executive office suites provide full-service flexible office space so you can focus on running your business not your real estate needs. Your space grows with your company, you save in set up costs and monthly fees, and one bill takes care of everything. Uddy's company Officelist.com can help you locate a few offices in your area to inquire about.
- Marketing and advertising are the lifeblood of your business. Decreasing advertising spend should only be done if your ROI is negative. If you spend one dollar and get 80 cents in return, you clearly need to move your marketing dollars elsewhere. Google AdWords and Bing will probably be the two main tools you use for paid search advertising, while there are some others. For many businesses Bing has not generated the expected returns so they opt to focus mainly on Google, but each industry varies and you need to run your own tests to decide which works best for your particular business. While testing and experimenting with this, keep in mind that most of your online traffic will come from search engines so don't give up too quickly. Few if any potential customers will type your website address directly into the browser; unless you're doing advertising that is not entirely focused on the internet.
Many (or most) entrepreneurs start a business they're passionate about. That's of the keys to success for most successful business owners. If you are passionate about shoes and launch a creative and innovative way to sell everything footwear related, you'll problem succeed. Proof of this if what Zappos.com has been able to accomplish; selling $2 Billion worth of shoes and fashion accessories while others can't sell a pair of flip-flops if their life depended on it. Innovate, think and move quickly.
Entrepreneurship is fulfilling and rewarding and we can all succeed when we focus and work smart. We'd love to hear about your experiences and how you overcame your challenges. As a community we all learn from each other and can achieve exceptional growth.
Jessica has an interest researching and discussing subjects that not only relate to her role with Officelist.com, but also topics related to personal development, business, and technology.