Starting a Small Business? How to Stack the Odds in Your Favor

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You want your small business to succeed. It’s why you started it in the first place. However, after you launched your business, you probably experienced some unexpected setback. Researching the issue, you may have come upon statistics that said that 50% fail in the first year while 95% are gone within five years.

The good news is that these dismal figures have been updated by a 2016 Small Business Administration (SBA) report. New statistics suggest that 78% fail in the first year while 50% fail within five years. Much better statistics, no doubt—but the message is still clear. Unless you’re highly proactive in building your business, the odds are still not stacked in your favor.

One proven strategy to improve your chances of success as fast as possible is to focus on building your brand name.

Build Your Brand

Regardless of your choice of brand building strategies, your small businesses need to be “event ready” – primed to appear at a tradeshow, convention, demonstration, or public ceremony with short notice. These settings are ideal for making a lasting impact on people in ways which are otherwise very expensive and time-consuming to accomplish. One way to make a lasting impression for your brand is to use an inflatable tent. Other things that would be useful for your trade booth are signage, promo items, and giveaways.

Managing enterprise events will go a long way to improving your chance of business survival. The next thing you need to do well is to get good at marketing.

Use a Holistic Approach to Marketing

When most small businesses focus on marketing, they tend to either focus on online marketing or offline marketing. Focusing on one over the other is a mistake, because both work, although in slightly different ways.

The benefit of online marketing is that it’s cheaper to launch marketing campaigns and easy to measure everything. Your metrics give you a very good idea about how many people come to your website and what pages they visit most frequently. If you have a blog, you quickly learn from comments what your audience likes and dislikes. Your social media also gives you deeper insights about your audience. Finally, you can quickly tell which of your paid ads are working well and which need to be tweaked or dropped.

With offline advertising, you can reach a broader audience ranging from hundreds of thousands of people to millions depending on the media you use. However, it’s more expensive and harder to measure. For instance, if you place a display ad in a magazine that has a readership of 300,000 people, you don’t have a clear idea of what percentage read your ad. Despite these setbacks, proof that traditional advertising is still alive and well is that you will see the same company advertising in a particular media over and over again. If they had a poor ROI, they would have discontinued their advertising efforts.

Run A SWOT Analysis

Besides building your brand and using a holistic marketing, what else can you do to improve your chances of success? Analyze your existing structure to see if there are any weak links that you need to fix. One management tool you could use to do this is a SWOT analysis. S stands for Strengths; W for weaknesses; O for opportunities; and T for threats.

Review if you have a good handle on administration, accounting, and production. If you don’t, then this is the first thing you need to improve. Next, review your sales. If they are low, then this could be a threat. You may not be getting enough sales to bring in the revenue you need to make a decent profit. This can be puzzling because you may have spent time and effort in training your sales team. However, chances are that they are not the cause of lackluster sales—they just aren’t getting enough leads. If your sales are low, then marketing may be the lowest link in your chain.

By evaluating the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to your business, you can ensure that all parts of your business are working in a systemic way. There is no point, after all, in spending money on trade shows and marketing, for example, if your accounting department can’t keep track of your finances well enough to create realistic forecasts or your sales team is not doing enough follow-ups. When you take care of any weaknesses in your business, you strengthen the business as a whole.

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