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Secrets to Small-Business Success
Small businesses are more prominent in the United States than you may think. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are 28.8 million small businesses in the United States, and they account for 99.7% of all business in the US. Even though there are so many small businesses in the United States, that does not mean that anyone can start a successful one. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 20% of small businesses fail within their first year, and by the end of their fifth year, that number increases to 50%. After 10 years, the survival rate drops to approximately 35%.
Although the long-term success rate of starting a successful small business is not very high, that does not mean that it is impossible to do. Most people who fail do not do proper research or listen to the right advice. Luckily, I have all the information you need to be successful. In this article, I will be discussing seven secrets to small business success that many people do not know.
1. Choose the Right Bank
Contrary to popular belief, a bank is not just a bank. Your bank should not only handle your money, but it should also act as your financial advisor.
If you need financial advice or have a general question about your finances, your bank should be able to help. If they aren't able to help, or if they keep giving you bad advice, do not hesitate to switch to a different bank.
Doing the necessary research to find out which bank best suits your needs is something that not many people do, but it is extremely important.
2. Get a Line of Credit
Acquiring a line of credit is one of the first things that you should do when starting your new small business.
Many people believe that you should only acquire credit if you need it, but this is not true. The reason why you should always apply for credit is that it can take a long time to receive it. Getting credit can take anywhere between one and two months. The chances are high that at some point in time you are going to need money, and it is impossible to predict when that is. Therefore, getting a line of credit immediately will better prepare you for when that time comes.
3. Use APIs For Your Website
An APIs primary function is to manage the interactions between applications on a website.
APIs help businesses cut costs and save money because they fill resource gaps and create efficiencies. This is especially important for small businesses because it helps them keep up with bigger businesses. For example, implementing a shipping API on your website will enable you to cut your shipping costs by eliminating the need for a third party.
Any time you can find a way to save money on costs, you are increasing your odds of your small business succeeding, and APIs do a great job of doing that.
4. Have a Board of Advisors
The more opinions and ideas that you hear about something, the better. That is why you should have a board of advisors for your small business.
Even though this will cost some money, the benefits of doing so far outweigh the costs. A diversity of ideas and opinions will only benefit your business in the long run. When choosing people to bring on to your board, try to find people who are passionate about your business, and are dedicated to making it succeed. I would recommend starting your search with a banker, lawyer or an accountant because these people are generally very business savvy.
5. Don't Be Hesitant to Hire Help
Many small business owners are reluctant to hire help because they believe they don't need it and can do all of the work by themselves.
However, the reality is that nobody can do everything on their own and, if your business ever becomes successful, there will come a point in time where you will need someone else's help. Just like when you are deciding on who to invite on to your business’s board of advisors, you also want to make sure that your employees are passionate about your business and dedicated to making it succeed. Not only should you look for these qualities when hiring an employee, but you should also look for people who are ethical, have a positive attitude, and possess the skills necessary to do the job effectively.
Hiring good help can help your business grow because it saves you time, and it can also help your business focus on multiple tasks at once as opposed to only one thing at a time. Hiring help will cost you some money upfront but, in the long run, it will help your business grow and become more profitable.
6. Keep Your Business and Personal Funds Separate
This is one of the most important things to keep in mind when you are starting a small business.
Do not dip into your business money to pay for personal items or vice, versa. If you do, you run the risk of buying things that you technically cannot afford.
In addition, it also makes it that much more complicated to keep track of your finances accurately. Keeping track of your finances is important because it allows you to understand your business more accurately and can help if you ever have to undergo an audit from the tax authorities.
7. Use Social Media to Promote Yourself
According to studies done by Hootsuite, 45% of the total world population uses social media.
With nearly half of the world on social media, it would be foolish not try to and promote your business on these platforms. Promoting yourself on social media is an excellent way to get the word out about your business to as many people as possible and, as a result, will increase the chance of your business succeeding in the long run.
However, promoting your business on social media is much easier said than done, and many people do not know how to do it efficiently. When promoting yourself, you must make sure that you are posting things that are not controversial, and that are relevant for your business. For example, if you are a clothing store, you shouldn't be sharing posts or publishing content that is food related.
Posting relevant content that your customers will read and subsequently share is the key to promoting your business successfully via social media.
Starting a small business is not an easy thing to do. Many people fail because they do a poor job of researching exactly what it takes to be successful.
If you follow these 7 secrets, your chance of being successful will be extremely high and your business will increase more than you ever imagined possible.
About the Author
Nick Rojas combines 20 years of experience working with and consulting for small to medium business and a passion for journalism to help readers grow.
He writes about technology, marketing, and social media for the aspiring entrepreneur. @NickARojas.