You can find an overwhelming amount of “expert” advice online about what to do or not do when starting a small business. While it’s great to read up and review case successful case studies from the experts, sometimes the best advice comes from veteran entrepreneurs who have recently been through (or are still undergoing) the startup experience.
For the last couple of months, the HP Small Biz Nation page on LinkedIn has been hosting a discussion about starting a small business. Members have shared helpful tips on what to do, or maybe more importantly, not do, to succeed.
From my experience, it is crucial to know what you do well and to look for areas to showcase that specialty with confidence. Whether you make the best muffins, offer the best customer service or even stay open an hour after your competitors have closed, you have to focus on the offering that keeps customers coming to you.
To see your small business succeed, you also can’t be afraid. You have to know what you want from your business and go after it without fear. Mistakes will happen, but as long as you’re learning from them, you’ll survive. A small business that knows what it does well and keeps an open mind about finding ways to improve is on the right track.
Whether you’re considering starting your own small business or you’ve already started and are looking for advice to move to the next level, there’s a lot to learn from other entrepreneurs. Listed below are top tips from the Small Biz Nation community:
Small Business Do’s
Define a specific target audience rather than trying to attract the general public
Develop a contact database and focus on relationship building
Write a comprehensive business plan
Try new ideas for expanding and promoting your business, learn through experimentation
Spend time listening to your customers instead of just talking to them
Take notes on new business contacts in case there is an opportunity to market your business to that person later
Trust your team: no one can run a small business alone
Small Business Don’ts
Be shy about making a profit
Think about things like logos and websites before you perfect you brand strategy
Worry about competitors knowing more than you do; everyone guesses and sometimes all you can do is make an educated one
Forget why you started in the first place
Let someone convince you that you can’t succeed
Do you have any tips to share with other entrepreneurs interested in starting their own small business? Join the HP Small Biz Nation community on LinkedIn to get involved in the conversation.