Making The Leap Into Small Business Ownership

Edmiston Group - EntrepreneurStarting a new business can be a very daunting and overwhelming experience. You quickly find that you not only have become your own boss but you are solely responsible for the success or failure of your company. So you may ask yourself, where do I begin? How do I separate myself from other companies like mine?

I mentor a number of small business owners through the Chatham’s Women’s Entrepreneurial program and will tell you it all begins with a solid plan. Often an individual will think about starting a small business while working a full time job. In some cases a down-size or employee buyout can lead to business ownership.

Business owners can go it on their own, or look into franchise ownership, where a process and a system are already established for them. Franchise ownership allows a new business owner to get up and running with support from the franchisor. The flip side of that is franchisees typically pay an on-going royalty fee to franchisors for the use of these systems.

So…if you still are ready to take that leap of faith and go it on your own, here are several tips on how you can do just that.

  1. Give a consistent customer experience. Customers want to know what they are going to get when dealing with you and your company. By being consistent you set the bar for your company to reach with each and every customer. Don’t be afraid to develop new ideas and test them but in small doses.
  2. Add that personal touch. Make it yours. Don’t be afraid to stand out and make sure that you are remembered over all the other faces that your clients will often see. Creating relationships help to make sure that they keep coming back to you for business. When creating a new relationship make the customer feel special and make it a priority to see the customers face to face when possible.
  3. Social media, Social media, Social media. In case you didn’t pick up on it social media is becoming more and more important in the modern business world. Using sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are imperative to getting your brand out there. They allow for networking and company growth by spreading the word about your company. New channels are popping up every day, so know your market and become a player in it.
  4. Keep Notes. Be sure to keep notes in a journal or notebook as ideas, problems and successes come your way. It makes it easier in the future to be able to look back on the history of your company and learn from both the good and bad decisions of the past.
  5. Specialize and stick with it. By staying focused on your specialty, you can improve your skills while providing a better product. Don’t stretch yourself too thin trying to cover a broad myriad of services that could result in a lesser quality product.
  6. Outsource. Don’t be afraid to outsource work that you are not comfortable or skilled in doing. Outsourcing can help to build business relationships while relieving stress of doing it all. If graphic design isn’t your thing, you may find by outsourcing you actually create a better product.
  7. Know when to work pro bono. I’m not saying give an entire job away for free, but giving away consultations, or small additions to a project can leave a lasting impression. It can be the edge that helps separate you from others in your field.
  8. It’s ok to say no. Don’t promise things that you can’t deliver to the customer. And firing an unrealistic customer can be ok, although difficult when you’re new in business.

Being a small business owner is not for the faint of heart. So…if you’ve always wanted to own your own business, make a plan and take the leap into entrepreneurship.

About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group. The Edmiston Group is a multifaceted Pittsburgh based marketing consulting firm providing senior level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long term basis. Core areas of service are business development, marketing, strategic planning and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business growth.

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