Writing & Research: Aaron M. Weis
It’s a sad reality that we live in where someone posts on their social media platform that they started a new job, which is welcomed positively to about ten to twenty likes. As part of this cultural or societal indoctrination, however, when someone posts that they launched the business that they’ve always been talking about or that particular startup that it is not received so openly. If anything, one might feel somewhat confused in that it might generate great skepticism or doubt from one’s family, friends, and loved one, which is a glaring problem when considering the psychological aspect of how people naturally perform better when they feel that what they are doing is appreciated.
And a large factor in this process is the statistics or the numbers game associated with starting a business of any size, figures that can be extremely disheartening, that the entrepreneur to be probably knows by verbatim at this point. After all, there what everyone and their dog has been throwing at you to remind you how difficult the journey ahead of you is. But don’t fret, they’re only projecting their excuse for not pursuing their dreams. It doesn’t have to be yours.
But what exactly are the numbers? We are almost all familiarized with the notion that most small businesses fail within the first two years, that this is the crucial period for any business. It is perhaps the first thing that we learn in almost any Intro to Business course. That being said, the main percentages to keep in mind are that of 80, 70, 62, and 52 percent respectively. These percentiles represent business success rates after 2, 3, 4, and 5 years. However, more important than that is the fact that approximately one-third of businesses will survive over the course of ten years. If you view your business as a type of living entity responsible for generating your income, you’ll want it to survive much longer than this. That being said, the true entrepreneur will not be discouraged by such statistics, and the following list articulates best practices that will ensure that your business will not be just another statistic.
- Believe in your Business:
It is a kind of societal benchmark that confidence is one of the most sought-after characteristics that a person can have, and as such, this best practice is the most important. However, there is this kind of misconception that confidence is this grandiose belief in one’s self and their abilities, when this is so much further removed from the truth. According to American television host, motivational speaker, and author Mel Robbins, confidence is not the belief in oneself, but rather the willingness to try. She goes on to say that the general ideology pertaining to confidence is essentially a lie that has been told to us, and that real conviction comes from the experience that we gain in said willingness to try. On that note, in relation to your startup, if you and your crowd of employees do not develop this kind of mindset, to absolutely give your business your all, and to try day in and day out, then the ramifications of this neglect will be beyond detrimental to your business. After all, if you don’t believe in your business, or take it seriously enough, then why would anyone else?
Okay, I know this is a seemingly odd and out of place subcategory, but I am going to leverage a writing analogy to illustrate the importance of knowing your audience. In the world of literature, good writing is almost entirely dependent upon the audience.
I recently learned a valuable lesson in this regard. By default, my writing style is more geared to the longwinded research papers that would otherwise be of a high standard in the academic environment; papers that varied in complexity as far as sentence structure is concerned, and that were written with careful consideration of the Professor or University in question, specifically tailored so that an individual who was not taking the class could read the essay and know what the writing prompt was on.
Now, while this type of formatting is ideal for the collegiate setting, the same type of writing would be otherwise cringeworthy to editors in the writing market, causing for more editing time than they would care to do, because in the actual writing market, they are looking for a more concise, straightforward, and simple presentation as far as the writing is concerned.
And another great exemplification of this is in the case of Stephen King himself. The masters of their craft, in any profession, usually familiarize themselves with the same vehicle of operation so to speak, and tackle the same monster over and over again, and in that process of repetition, become better at it with each time. It’s the reason why specialists make more than the generalists do, at least on average. So, in the case of Stephen King, he sticks to writing specifically to the horror genre, appealing to his loyal fan base of people that like works of fiction that illicit a more gruesome and visceral response.
What we see in this case, which is the real take away, is finding a target audience, or that buzzword that is found throughout every occupation in discovering a niche market, and one cannot emphasize enough what a crucial aspect that this plays in the success of a business of any capacity.
- Know your Business
In presenting the statistics for small businesses the numbers omitted were that pertaining to why small businesses fail, and it directly correlates to this multifaceted overarching umbrella. While there are a vast plethora of reasons that startups go belly-up, approximately 46 percent of failure is associated with lack of competence while another 30 percent can be attributed to unbalanced or lack of managerial experience. At a glance, what this says is that about three-fourths of failed businesses is the result of the business-end-of-business, strictly speaking.
Knowing your business encompasses much more than the tip-of-the-iceberg that we generally think of, as far as producing a product or service. No, far from it. In order to accomplish this takes great effort to tackle such things as a thorough understanding of your specific market, and knowing the consumers wants and needs, then catering specifically to them.
At the same time, this also includes having some kind of insight or knowledge into who your competitors are, and what they are do. This general awareness will allow you and your team to think of innovative ways to go above and beyond what they are offering. It also includes being financially savvy, as far as learning to separate personal expenses from business, and knowing when to take a profit and reinvest with it, as opposed to simply cashing out, and when to do so. There are so many other additional aspects, that an entirely different article could be written on the topic alone, but that is the general premises of this crucial element to best practices in business.
- Optimize Resources
In today’s day and age, just about everything and anything can be leveraged as a resource, and it is so extremely important to develop a skill-set in which you learn to absolutely maximize every possible resource that is available to you and your business.
One quick demonstration of this can be viewed through the lens of social media. What had originally started as a social means for individuals to connect and communicate with each other, platforms such as Facebook transitioned to be more business-friendly with the majority of organizations using these outlets to create an online presence as well as to increase brand awareness; so much so that in recent years we have seen the emergence of a social media manager position in most companies, a role that is seemingly increasing in demand with each day.
But this is just one example of the seemingly endless array of resources to draw from, and sometimes, it really takes some outside-of-the-box thinking to get the most out of this best practice. On average, the typical business is launched off of around 5,000 to 25,000 dollars, with the majority being around the 5,000.
Maximizing your resources really makes the business owner rethink the way that they view money and such opportunities. For instance, the entrepreneur that is in school might view the tremendous amount of student loans as a highly negative thing. Or they could reshape the way that they view it, along the lines of, well, it is near impossible for me to get loan from the bank, so I might as well leverage this money to invest in the potential for passive income in purchasing real estate, or I can finance my venture with it.
And there are so many other resources out there, if you put in the work to look for them. I knew a man that really wanted to start a kind of consign it store and didn’t have the funds to offer a product. However, when he started looking for outside resources, he found the most unlikely of opportunities though the colleges in the area that were willing to donate their old computers, lab equipment, white boards, projectors, and so on and so forth. Now, the same individual has a booming consign it business, and the schools still donate to him through a contract.
At the same time, this means, as hard as it may be, to ask family, friends and loved ones for funding. Or taking the time to create Patron accounts, and other such websites that are designed to create for donations and funds. Similarly, it means applying for whatever grants might be available to you, or maybe even to start looking for angel investors.
There are a long list of other best practices that could assist in ensuring that your startup is a success, but these are some of the most significant. At the same time, with everything being kept into consideration, there are some words of wisdom that I would like to personally impart to the reader. In this venture of yours, do away with this notion to Keep It Simple Stupid, or don’t try to reinvent the wheel as we are taught in most business classes. While this is a great mindset for school, or workers, it is a mindset of great detriment to the entrepreneur, in the sense that it does not allow enough room for true innovation or ingenuity to create for a revolutionary idea or product that stands out above the rest. On that note, hopefully you will find some of these practices useful in navigating your way through your business endeavor.