F is for… Failure!

It’s the word that every business owner dreads, and with good reason. The competition is huge, and businesses large and small have been forced to shut down because of financial losses.

The thought of failure can put many people off from starting a business in the first place, or it can drive them towards those other F-words, fear and fatigue, both of which play a part in bringing about failure. We are talking about the fear of taking sensible risks to grow a business and the fatigue that is the consequence of overworking to try and secure a profit.

Failure!

It’s a terrible word, but it can be overcome. Fear and fatigue don’t have to become part of a business owners life, and success can be found.

With a nod to more positive F-words, here are some tips that should prove useful.

As a business owner, be forward-thinking. Have a vision for your business, as this will give you clarity. Know where you want to be in the next five and ten years, and consider what you need to do to get there. Wooly thinking won’t get you anywhere, but if you have set goals to meet, you will have something to work towards when managing your business.

Be frugal within your spending. When looking for equipment, you don’t always have to buy everything brand new. Second-hand isn’t always second best, so shop around. And look for other ways to save money, be that cutting back on unnecessary business expenses, or not spending money at all on those things that aren’t necessary for your business. The more money you save, the better your financial health.

Find your footing in the marketplace. What problems does your business solve? What niche can you fall into? As a business, you need to stand out from the competition. You need to offer customers something they can’t get elsewhere, whether that’s a product or a special deal. Research your competitors, find out what they are doing, and take steps to beat them. Your business will have a better chance of success as a consequence.

Create a financial forecast. This is an estimate of where you think your business is going to stand financially in the months and years to come. Looking at your income and expenditure, you will have an idea of the direction your business is heading in. Should your business be losing money, you need to find ways to increase your income, such as using inbound marketing to create a better awareness of your brand. Should you business be financially healthy, you can take steps to grow your business by using your profits to fund an expansion, be that on more staff, new tech, or better business premises.

Make use of the free tools that are available to you. Why spend money on apps and software, when you can source similar for free? From video conferencing software to accountancy tools, these are the free tools that you should consider using for your business. By using these free tools, you will both save money in your business and up your productivity, giving you more time to concentrate on other areas of your business that need your time and attention.

Pay attention to free marketing ideas, as these can generate more interest in your business and reduce the expense of more expensive methods. From using social media to implementing growth-hacking tools, check out this article on more about marketing your business for free.

Make friends in business, those people who can help you grow and develop. Seek support from other business owners, and ask for advice when you are stuck. Find a business mentor; that person who will transfer their knowledge and skills onto you. Attend industry events and conferences, and seek out those people who will be able to offer you guidance. You can’t be a wallflower in business, as the more people you have on your side, the better your chances at growing your business.

Be friendly to your customers. They are the lifeblood of your business, and should you wrong them in any way, they may desert you. You need to respect their needs, sometimes above and beyond your own. You need to secure their approval, as not only will they return to do custom with you, but they will also pass on the word to their friends and family about the good service you are offering. In short, you need to offer excellent customer service, as failure to do so will prove detrimental to your business down the line.

Ensure your business is future-proof. You will only get left behind otherwise, as your customers and competitors will have moved away from what you may be offering. So invest in new technologies, keep an eye on consumer trends, read industry journals as research, and monitor what other businesses are doing. The more relevant your business is, the more likely it is to succeed in the marketplace.

Be prepared to fight for your business. And by fight, we mean not giving up, as so many business owners are inclined to do when times get tough. You need to believe in yourself, remembering that you have already achieved so much in setting up a business. You need to consider your strengths, using them to overcome any challenges that come your way. You need to persevere, even through the hard times that your business may go through. Running a business isn’t easy, but the worst thing you can do is commit to defeat when there is still hope that your business will pull through.

So, let’s avoid that other ‘F’ word. While you should be mindful of it, you shouldn’t let the thought of it get the better of you when you are trying to run your business. As we said at the beginning, those other negative ‘F’ words, fear and fatigue can be the consequence. Instead be positive, taking note of the suggestions we have given you in this article. Provided you work hard and focus on your business, success can be yours, without the ugliness of that word creeping up on you when you least expect it. Let us know what you think, and if you have any other advice for our readers, be sure to let us know.

*This is a contributed post.