How to start a small business – the easy way

Running a business is like anything else in life – there is the right way and the wrong way. Run things the right way and life will be a lot easier and you will be able to achieve more. Here are three simple tips that will help you get ahead in business.

Research the market before you start the business.

First mover advantage and having a unique product are all very well but if you’re starting from scratch it’s a big ask to make it work (unless your time and funds are unlimited). However, if a market already exists for your product or service then you can piggy back on the success of others – and use what they’ve done to assist you. If there are competitors in your market area then embrace the idea rather than be scared of it. If there are competitors it means there is a market – all you need to do is demonstrate that you’re better than the competition and you will take their custom.

Next time you’re in town have a look at how the town centre is laid out. Very often you will find areas where for example, all the restaurants or cafes are clustered, or all the attorneys or real estate agents. It sounds counter-intuitive but these businesses benefit from being placed close to their competitors.

Systemise the business from the start.

You might be the sole employee of the business today but in the future you will take on others. However, if you’re the only one who knows how to do something then they will sit idle while you continue to do the work.

Break your business down into areas (eg finance, marketing, sales, packaging, delivery etc) and write a system manual for everything that needs to be done, step by step. The idea should be that someone walking in off the street should be able to follow the system without referring back to you for assistance.

If you’re looking at buying a franchise as your way into small business then what you are really buying is a model of a business that has been systemised. Think about McDonalds – how can they take unruly teenagers and make them turn out burger after burger of the same standard? They teach them the system…

Believe me, this will save you a huge amount of time and energy later.

Work/life balance.

One of the reasons many people start a small business is to spend more time with the family. Then they end up spending 18 hours a day, 7 days a week on the business. Pretty soon they’re worn out and the family have forgotten what they look like.

Make a conscious decision to work specific hours and stick to it. If you work from home have a separate room/office area that you can physically or metaphorically lock the door on at the end of the day. Remember when you worked in the corporate world and productivity peaked when people were due to get away on holiday? Well, the same will happen with you if you know you need to be out of the office in an hour!

So, there are three simple tips for running a business the easy way, use them and your life will be easier.