Meet Eddy. Eddy started a small IT consulting business a few months ago and he has finished the work for his 4th customer. While he is excited that he finished his 4th job, he realizes that he’s going to have to make some changes if he wants his business to stay afloat.
Many people go through this stage of business and as a matter of fact is why most small businesses fail. I’ve learned a few things through a few businesses I’ve started and I’d like to share my top 10 tips with you so you can keep from going through some of the hardships I’ve had to go through.
To run a successful business, it takes a lot of luck, a lot of persistence, consistency, cash flow, and talent. Still with me? Lets check out these tips.
1.) Solve a problem or need （解决生活中的某个问题或需求）
If you sell things you want to sell instead of selling things that people need, you will not make it too far in business.
Of course there are always anomalies in any situation, but you need to know your target niche and know it well. The idea here is to be able to get a small slice of a large and already established pie than to get a large slice of no pie.
Jumping into a business or selling a product or service that you think will be successful versus selling one that is already proven to have a market is a problem I see many entrepreneurs encountering.
While I’m not telling you to jump into an over-saturated market and try to sell the same products the next company is selling, you should certainly learn your target audience and know exactly what they are looking for, why they are looking for it, and where are they looking for it at.
Instead of creating a product for all business owners, create a product that are for oral surgeons starting their own practice. “Niching down” and going towards a specific group of people will help you tailor your products and services to them. Since it is tailored to their needs and wants, you’re going to have a better chance of getting their attention and business.
2.) Focus on one opportunity （专注于单个契机）
When I first started out I listened to this piece of advice. The problem is I strayed far away from it soon after.
I had 1 large brand built and a consistent flow of readers, then I got bit by the “shiny object” bug. What’s the “shiny object” bug? It’s the “next big thing…” The item that any new entrepreneur sees and wants to start doing because it is new.
Focusing on one opportunity will help you hone your skills, keep your cash flow in check, and help you learn what you are strong at and what you are weak at.
Here I am years later and I am just now catching up to other opportunities that I have haphazardly started. Had I stuck with just my first brand and ran with it, I would not have been sidetracked and wasted my time in places I didn’t need to.
Do one thing great instead of doing 10 things in a mediocre fashion… Trust me.
3.) Do what you know （做自己善长的事情）
It is not conducive to your business or yourself if you start a business on a niche or market that you don’t know much about.
Don’t just start a business because it boasts these large hypothetical profit margins. Building a business around hypothetical and unrealistic numbers will end your business before you even start.
If you are like me, you are starting (or started) a business in hopes to find freedom both financially and emotionally. What good is pouring hours and years into a business that you are unhappy running?
Business is business and to create a profitable business you need to be good at it. If your heart isn’t into the business 100% then you will not be successful.
4.) Act like a startup （创业就得表现得跟刚起步一样）
Too many times do I see someone go into a huge amount of debt to get the nice office building, the fancy signs, and branded everything. Act like a startup and treat your wallet like the life-blood it really is.
Maintaining as low of an overhead as possible, checking your expenses, and maintaining your finances is something you need to perfect and practice every day.
Being frugal is important in any business so watching every dollar and double-checking your expenses is mandatory.
Note: By being frugal, you must also think about the time investment.
What do I mean by this? I mean if you are sacrificing saving $100 by doing something yourself that takes hours to complete, it may be worth paying someone to do it. If it takes you 5 hours to save $100 but you could make $1000 in those 5 hours if you were cold-calling and hustling… it will actually cost you money to pinch those pennies.
While you don’t need the nicest newest technology or the best printer in the world, you do need to take account how much time you are losing while you wait for that inkjet that your grandmother gave you is taking to print that invoice.
5.) Learn as you go （抓住任何学习的机会）
I’m 100% about education and learning something new every day. I surround myself with books, articles from strong sources, and individuals that can teach me new things.
I’m 100% against trying to learn everything before you take your first step.
Just because you don’t have a solid answer on something does not mean you shouldn’t do it.
Ever hear of the term “information overload?” You spend more time trying to learn about something you haven’t even had to do yet.
I don’t recommend you dive head first into a business you know nothing about or launch a product that you’ve never had your hands on, but the more situations that you are put in, the more well-rounded you become.
It’d be like trying to learn how to ride a horse before you even bought one. You must learn as you go.
6.) Surround yourself with nurturing like-minded individuals（与志同道合、相互扶持的人共事）
Surrounding yourself with people who have no drive or ambition in life while you are trying to start your empire is doing nothing for you.
Network and find people to surround yourself with that can help you learn new things, help motivate you when you are unmotivated, and possibly become business partners.
Find mentors, advisors, and friends that will nurture you to become the successful entrepreneur you are working to become.
I’ve found throughout the years that having a knowledgeable mentor and having friends that will help boost you up becomes a huge part of your success – especially when you hit rough spots.
There’s nothing like surrounding yourself with people who will do nothing but tell you to quit when the water gets tough. Don’t do that to yourself.
7.) Test and measure everything （测试和评估你想做的任何事情）
Test, test, test. Learn what works and what doesn’t.
I spent a year and a half trying seemingly random things and not even testing to see how they worked. Just like losing weight, once you get consistent and test what works and what doesn’t, you’ll be able to scale and build a profitable business.
Everything you do for your business should be measured and tested to see what works and what doesn’t. Scalability is key here.
8.) Learning more means earning more（知悉更多可以赚大钱的渠道）
Once you are settled into whatever field you’ve chosen, know that learning everything you possible can will mean that you will be able to earn more.
You will never know how to start a successful business until you’ve run a successful business.
You have to accept the fact that you’ll need to be committed to learning as much as you can about sales, marketing, operations, and every aspect of your business to have a truly successful business.
Once you start learning, you’ll start to see that the sky is the limit. Leveraging your knowledge is a simple fundamental that top executive and successful entrepreneurs do to earn unimaginable amounts of money.
9.) Never discount prices, add value （尽可能提供增值服务、绝不轻言打折）
In almost every industry, there are businesses chasing the lowest possible sales amount.
Discounting your product or service is literally stealing money out of your pocket and putting you closer to out of business. Instead of discounting, give consumers a reason to buy. Give them value.
Use your imagination and increase your margins with low-cost or free extras to offer more value to your product.
- You are selling a garlic press.
- You see that there are other garlic presses that sell for pennies over your cost and you just can’t go any lower without losing massive amounts of money.
- You decide to sell your garlic press for what the industry standard is (much higher than the lowest cost)
- Create or pay someone to create a garlic recipe e-book that you can give the customer for purchasing your garlic press.
- You now have a (for easy numbers) $20 garlic press with a (value added) $20 garlic recipe e-book.
- You have a product that some people sell for $12.50 versus your $40 worth of product that you are selling for $20.
Which seems like something you would want to buy? A garlic press that costs $12.50 or a $20 dollar garlic press with a free $20 value book?
Small extras like that make your product more valuable and make the cheaper product seem like a “cheap rip-off.”
This added value will draw in more word-of-mouth customers and build up a customer base that is appreciative of your products instead of customers who are simply looking for the cheapest price available.
10.) Focus on sales and marketing （专注销售与市场）
Remember that in business nothing happens until a sale is made. From day 1 you are going to need to find leads (possible customers), convert those possible customers into paying customers, and then you have to make sure you get repeat sales.
Creating a sales funnel is going to be the most time-consuming but most profitable tool you’ll ever create.
If you put too much focus on getting your brand right or some other minutiae and not working on getting customers, you’re making a mistake that many entrepreneurs make.
Generating leads and converting those leads into customers is more important than developing your brand. As a matter of fact, your brand will develop more because of those customers.
Without leads, you have no business.
Owning your own business is a dream of many but only a fraction can carry out that dream.
It takes 10x the action that you think it does, it takes being 100% sold on your success and it takes relentless hustle to make it happen. Do whatever it takes to make it, make smart decisions, and don’t be afraid to fail.
There are many people who are content with going to a job that they hate to collect a check that barely pays the bills so they can look forward to the weekend for the rest of their lives.