3 Tips Essential to Long-Term Business Success


If you’ve started a business of your own, you’ve likely been bombarded with disheartening statistics like this one from the Small Business Administration, stating that nearly half of all new establishments fail within the first five years and only a third of those remaining make it to ten. Paints a pretty bleak picture, doesn’t it?
And yet the number of small businesses in the United States has increased 49% since 1982. It seems like everyone you meet these days is a self-described entrepreneur. This tendency to forge ahead against the odds might cause you to wonder if there is something these folks know about making a business thrive that you don’t. Employ the following three tips and you too can enjoy business longevity.

Create a Well-Oiled Machine
The very best way to be successful is to model yourself after other successful people; the same applies to your business. Very often, prosperous companies take the form of franchises due to the simple fact that the tried-and-true procedures that work in one establishment can usually be repeated in another with similar success.In the franchise model, routine activities are systematized in a way such that anyone can do them. For instance, an abundance of teenage employees behind the counter at McDonalds is indicative of procedures so streamlined that they require only the skill level of a high schooler. If a student can perform the job well and the business doesn’t have to hire an adult with an advanced degree, then that is a smart business.

Furthermore, consistency is essential in a franchise, as well as being your most important obligation to your customer. Consistency breeds trust, which leads to loyalty. And loyal customers keep you in business!
In his book, The E-Myth Revisited, Michael Gerber explains that even if an entrepreneur never aspires to sell his business as a franchise, setting it up in such a manner makes it exponentially more likely to succeed. He outlines steps you can take to build a business model in such a way that you can step aside and watch your business run as efficiently without you as it would with you at the helm.
Be Resourceful
 Not only are the savviest business people constantly networking, they know how to be innovative in order to get the most out of cheap or free advertising. In this age of social media, no business should be without an account on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. Beyond simply having a social media presence for your business however, it’s important to create informative posts that matter to your target market in a consistent and timely fashion. To generate even more exposure, offer promotions or giveaways on your media platforms to create buzz and expand your customer base.
Lend credibility to your posts by positioning yourself as an expert in your profession. Consider self-publishing an e-book and offering it as an incentive when a customer signs up for your newsletter. Or you could find a popular blog that discusses topics of interest to your customers and offer to contribute a guest post. Better yet, give a talk or a workshop in your community. The repeated exposure enhances you and your company’s visibility, and the knowledge you share gives customers the confidence that you are a specialist in your field.
Know Where To Find Help
 It’s important to have a plan when the going gets tough, but even in prosperous times, having a mentor to turn to for advice is invaluable. SCORE (Service Corp of Retired Executives) is a nonprofit association dedicated to helping small businesses get started and prosper. Volunteers who span 62 different industries offer free counseling sessions virtually or in person. Furthermore, the organization offers low cost workshops covering important business topics from Writing a Winning Business Plan to Tax Secrets For Keeping More of What You Earn.
But don’t stop there. Professional trade associations exist for almost every industry and are full of like-minded people who have been likely been exactly where you are at some point in their careers. And surprisingly, members of these associations tend to be less concerned about competition and more focused on camaraderie and promotion of the industry. If you can find a veteran entrepreneur in your chosen profession who will allow you to bend his ear over lunch on occasion, you can consider yourself miles ahead of the game.
When the help you need is in the form of cash flow, not only are there SCORE workshops devoted to acquiring business funding, there are even business loans for bad credit available, offering a variety of options to entrepreneurs who feel they have already exhausted the traditional funding outlets. Without question, the most successful business people understand a few essential truths better than their peers. Utilize these three tips in your own business and you too can defy the SBA’s ominous statistic, and build a fruitful enterprise that lives to a ripe old age.


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