According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, your business only has a 50 percent chance of surviving its first five years; this was corroborated by data from the Small Business Administration, which reveals that only 66 percent of small businesses survive their first two years and that around 50% of small businesses survive their first 5 years.
In short, your business is as likely to fail as it is to succeed. Can anything be done to increase your chances of success? You know… to insulate your business from failure? Yes, below are 7 proven tips that will insulate your small business from failure.
1. Find What People Want and Give it to Them
Zig Ziglar, renowned as one of the greatest motivational speakers to ever live, famously said, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” THIS, is the golden rule of business success; for a very long time, success of businesses and products have been influenced by the law of demand and supply, and this won’t be changing anytime soon.
The likelihood of you inventing something and making people want it is slim, unless you are a multi-billion dollar corporation, but you can find out what people already want and effectively deliver it to them.
2. Master the Art of Effective Customer Acquisition
Customers are the lifeblood of any business; if you have customers, you can survive pretty much any disaster. Without customers, you could very well be nonexistent.
Many businesses fail because they operate with the “build it and they will come” mentality, or because they do the barest minimum to get customers.
One of the first steps to achieving business success is to learn how to attract customers; sometimes, this won’t be free. You might have to consider JV partnerships, advertising and other means of getting more people to know about you, but you should make sure you’re constantly acquiring customers without sacrificing profitability.
3. Inspire Customer Loyalty
What’s the value of a loyal customer? While this can vary depending on the nature of your business, research shows that loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase, and that you have a 60 – 70% probability of selling to an existing customer compared to a meager 5 – 20% probability of selling to a new prospect.
Focus on over-delivering on your products and services, and regularly wow your customers to inspire their loyalty; not only will they reward you by doing more business with you, but they are more likely to tell all of their friends about you.
4. Build a Brand
Exactly how powerful is a brand name? Very powerful. Recent research that polled 1,642 British consumers on their shopping habits revealed that 34% of consumers chose where to shop due to a store’s “reputable brand name”.
There’s a reason why you keep asking for the same brand of soft drink every time, or why you love a certain brand of car. Apple’s devices can cost 5X as much as other devices with the same features, yet people rush to buy them. If you haven’t been paying attention to building a great brand for your business, it’s time to start.
5. Start a Website
What you’re selling doesn’t matter, you’re losing out if you don’t have a website. Recent research by Deloitte Digital revealed that digital interactions are expected to influence retail sales to the tune of $2.2 trillion in 2015.
It’s too late for any business, no matter what it does, not to have a website; with research showing that digital interactions influenced 64 cents of every dollar spent in retail stores in 2015, not having a website could very well be costing you as much as half of your sales.
Start a website (I review several web hosts you can start with); start a blog; and ensure that you comply with internet and SEO best practices to skyrocket your sales.
6. Invest in Customer Support
Data from the White House Office of Consumer affairs reveal that news of bad customer service reaches as many ears as praise for a good service experience, and that for every customer that complains, 26 other customers remain silent.
One of the best ways to damage your brand faster than you built it is to ignore customer support. By investing in delivering quality customer support to your customers, not only will you save your brand from damage, but you’ll also attract significantly more customers because satisfied customers will tell their friends.
7. Live by “The Rule of 7”
The Rule of 7 is a marketing rule that states that the majority of your prospects have to be exposed to your marketing message at least 7 times before purchasing from you.
If you are one of those “no pressure” business people, who believes that telling people about your products more than once is “disturbing” them, you’ll have a long struggle keeping your business afloat. This is because your prospects will forget about your business as soon as they hear about you.
The most successful businesses are everywhere. You see them on billboards, on TV, on the radio, on the internet, on social media, and everywhere else you are. This way, they come first to mind when you decide that you need what they are selling. The same principle applies to your potential customers, and it will help a lot to capitalize on this.
What other tips do you think can insulate a small business from failure? Kindly let us know in the comments below.
John Stevens is a marketing consultant, entrepreneur, and founder of HostingFacts.com.