So you’ve established a somewhat successful business for yourself from scratch. That is awesome! Congratulations on finally being a business owner! But we all know building a business is the easy part. The hard part is how to keep standing and growing despite challenges. Many have succeeded, many have failed, and ultimately, every business is different and there is no proven, one-size-fits-all formula that can be applied to all businesses. However, we do have some helpful tips for small business owners to decide whether you can utilize them or not.
1. The customer is (sometimes) right
So if you have ever been a customer service worker, I bet you loathe the “the customer is always right” saying as much as I do. Because you and I both know, the customer is rarely right.
However, we do need customers in order to thrive as a business. So even though it might be unpleasant, first on the list of tips for small business owners is to listen to your customers. Sure, sometimes they are not right, and sometimes they are outright ridiculous Karens, but sometimes their concerns are also valid. Constructive criticism, positive or negative, can absolutely help to motivate and make your business better.
Set up feedback and/or comments section on your website, contact your customers after a purchase, keep in touch with them on social media, and establish good customer service. If you constantly try to listen to your customers and cater to their needs, you can get some valuable feedback, along with a deeper connection to your customers.
2. Data is important
Oh, I hate data and analyzing - it’s the most traumatic thing for me to do. But even I have to admit, data is extremely useful if you want to develop your business.
Tips for small business owners: Data analyzing is vital for business because it can tell you everything you need to know about your customers and your business. Who are your customers, where they come from, what are the best sellers products, the most preferred shipping methods for your customers,... Everything can be seen, everything is visible and crystal clear with data.
That is why you need to up your Google Analytics skills. Sure, Google Analytics can be basic, but who says basic is bad? It’s an online platform offered by Google to help you keep track of your website, track down traffic, and generally make your life a lot easier.
3. Be omni
You know how God is supposed to be omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, and all the other "omnis"?
Well, you are not God, so there is no “all the omnis” for you. The only omni you can be though, it’s omnichannel. Omnichannel is simply to provide service on all the channels, but it’s one of the most useful tips for small business owners wanting to boost sales and promote their brand awareness.
With all kinds of platforms blooming in the age of the internet, customers have a lot of channels where they constantly visit and shop on. I practically live on Shopee and spend money like my dad is Bill Gates. But with Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and all the social media, and all the eCommerce platforms being born and online shopping slowly replacing the brick-and-mortar stores, it’s easy to see that if you don’t catch up with all the channels, you are potentially losing a lot of customers.
4. Stay focused
Ever heard of “shiny object syndrome” - ways to boost products that promise fast results? It’s a trap. Earning money is not easy. It shouldn’t be easy. But money is so tempting, and that is why a lot of businesses get bogged down with this “shiny project syndrome” and eventually lose their way.
Tips for small business owners who want to avoid the quick money trap? Stay focused. I mean it’s pretty obvious when I say it like that, but you know what I mean. Not just focused on your goal or your plan, focus on your niche also. Small businesses often have a small customer base, and I understand that in order to grow, you need to expand your market. But here is the thing though: if you spread yourself too thin, you have no resources left to focus on any niche at all. And that’s a slippery slope to becoming a bland, corporate-vibe type of business, with no authenticity and individuality left, which is honestly not a good look.
Stay true to yourself, keep an eye on the goal at all times, and remember why you started a business at all. Have a passion for your work, and do not be sidetracked by your greed. If you can do all of that, then your business is looking pretty stable.
5. Work-life balance
You know how you always say “I’m going to rest when I finish this task” but you never do because other tasks just keep coming? I know, I haven’t been sleeping for three days straight and I promised myself to rest when I finish this article, but we all know that day would never come.
It’s easy to overwork when you cannot schedule and be balanced between work and life. We live in a capitalist world where working and money are praised, but honestly, working like a dog is just making you exhausted and burn out and not good for anything in the long run.
One of the hardest tips for small business owners to follow is probably knowing when to rest. Put down that phone and forget about work when you are relaxing or with your loved ones, schedule a short vacation, or make it off-limits to work when you are at home. One needs time to stop thinking about work completely and rest, and I should be listening to my advice right now and go to sleep.
Again, you are not God. You are not omnipotent - you cannot do everything. So instead of fumbling and trying and failing to do everything by yourself, why not outsourcing?
Knowing what and when to outsource is one of the best tips for small business owners. Granted, you have to find a place that offers quality service and also fits your budget, but when you leave all the assorted tasks for the professionals, you will have much more time on your hands and your business will look a lot more solid than you can imagine.
7. Utilize your resources
There are countless tools out there for you to incorporate into your business, and you’d be a fool not to try and utilize them to your benefit. Why bother looking up tips for small business owners, when the easiest way to make things better for you is to digitize and automatize with apps and extensions, and digital tools?
For example, you can check out our ERP & Accounting Integrations, which include integrations for Quickbooks, Xero, and Odoo that will guarantee a seamless managing experience and help you to manage your business with ease.
8. Be kind to your employees
No one likes a mean boss. If you can organize a good training course for your employees and create a friendly yet professional and healthy environment, their efficiency goes way up.
Here’s another one on the list of tips for small business owners: treat your employees with respect. Pay them the salary they deserve. Give them sick days and paid leaves. Don’t make them work overtime and extra tasks without paying extra. Do not be mean and selfish when it comes to paying your employees, because if you give them good benefits and treat them with respect, they will commit to you for a very long time.
9. Social media
What do Mountain Dew, Target, and Chipotle have in common?
They all have their own official TikTok account.
Is it necessary?
TikTok? Debatable. Social media in general? Hell yeah! Why are you even asking this question now?
With more than 1 billion active users on Instagram and around 2.85 billion active users on Facebook, you are actively throwing away money if you don’t have any presence on the social media scene. Social media is where people connect with you, voice out feedback, and relate with you. This might not be one of the most revolutionary or shocking tips for small business owners, but hey, sometimes a TikTok campaign can do you wonders.
Being present on social media is one of the commonly-known tips for small business owners to redirect traffic to your website as well. You can help your followers to log into your website by sharing links, or you can try out our Social Media Login and Share extension, which removes complicated registering steps and allows your customers to quickly log into your store using their social accounts. Or if you have an Instagram account, we can help you synchronize your entire gallery with our newly updated Instagram Shop extension.
10. Separate business from personal - financially
Everything is more complicated when it involves money. And if you have your own business, oh boy, I cannot possibly stress this enough: Keep. Your. Business. From. Your. Personal. Finance.
Taxes, that’s why. Technically, you and your business are two separate legal and taxable entities. Therefore, your accounts and your finances, and your legal paperwork should be separated. It’s as simple as that. This is probably one of the most important tips for small business owners in this list because things can get messy and you can be involved in complicated legal incidents and possibly have to deal with an audit - even if you’ve got nothing to hide.
11. Learning is a life-long journey
This is one of the tips for small business owners that I think can be applied to anyone as well: A degree or certificate might not mean anything, but your education means everything.
You don’t stop learning when you get out of school, but I guess you’ve already known that. Learning is a life-long journey, and it’s never a bad idea to learn new skills or update on some knowledge that is relevant to your field. The world is changing every day, and what is true today might not be true tomorrow. So invest in learning and education because it’s an investment that can never come with losses.
12. Know your market
This is one of the most basic tips for small business owners and anyone who wants to be involved in business: Know your market. Know your customers. Paint a picture of them.
The point of marketing - any type of marketing - is to reach the right people who have interests in what you are selling. This is why identifying your target audiences is important - because it helps you to limit and focus on the right groups.
Everyone wants their business to succeed, but no business can achieve it if the right people aren’t coming to them. Therefore, pinpointing who your target audience is and going for it is one of the easiest tips for small business owners.
13. The most important tips for small business owners: Be prepared
When COVID-19 hit, the world was in chaos. No one was prepared for this kind of massive social disorder. And so, small businesses fell like leaves in the fall. Even huge corporations struggle to stay alive.
And if you are still in the picture, I do hope that COVID-19 has taught you a valuable lesson and one of the best tips for small business owners: always be prepared. Of course, we have established that you are not God and therefore, not omniscient, so it’s impossible for you to always predict what’s about to come. But it’s always to set aside some budget, some fail-safes, some backup plans in case the world falls into chaos. Because let’s be real - things are not looking that hopeful for the entire world right now.
So that’s it - all thirteen tips for small business owners to be stable and to thrive, especially in this trying time. Owning and managing a business is a lot to take in, but once you get the hang of it, it’s not that hard to stay on course and keep on advancing. These tips can all be very helpful, but remember, each business is different and unique, and ultimately, you are the one that understands your business best. So good luck, and choose wisely.