Entering the world of owning a business can be incredibly difficult. You’re surrounded by business owners who seem to be infinitely more experienced and knowledgeable than you are, and no matter how hard you try, it can feel like you’re not getting a foothold even though you think you’re doing all the right things.
The fact is that there are always methods you can use to optimise your business and gain a competitive advantage, no matter what market you find yourself in. Here’s our guide on how you can get ahead as a new business owner and carve out that all-important niche for yourself!
Research your competitors
More importantly than anything else, you need to make sure you’ve done comprehensive research on your competitors. When you’re a new business, you’ve got everything to prove, and your competitors have already established themselves in the space. That means they must be doing something right, and there’s no shame in studying what they’re doing to see if there’s anything you can incorporate into your own strategy. Conduct careful market research to determine the state of the industry and where your business could fit in.
Make every penny count
Obtaining funding as a business should be one of your top priorities, but it’s not enough just to get the money. You’ve also got to find a way to stretch every single penny and make it count as much as you can. That means paying close attention to the books so that you’re not missing any transactions or expenses. It might also mean redirecting some of your personal funding towards the business (and ensuring that doing so is entirely above board, of course). Make that £3000 loan count and use it for something your business sorely needs!
Communicate with your staff
You might not have staff as a new business owner, but if you’re lucky enough to be starting off on a rung on which you can afford to hire people, then keep them in the loop. You’re hiring people for a reason, after all, and they might have innovative ideas about how to keep your business relevant that you might not have thought of. Staff will appreciate being consulted and asked where they think the business should go, and you’ll gain valuable insight in the process. There’s no downside to making sure you maintain robust communication with your staff.
Emphasise your strengths
What does your business have that few other businesses can claim? In a competitive industry, it’s important to gain a crucial edge, and you’ll usually find that edge to be whatever you do that your competitors don’t. A good example would be customer service, which is an element of business that’s often left by the wayside, even by savvy business owners. Emphasising customer service can mean the difference between a successful business and an unsuccessful one; even if your product isn’t the best in the market, it won’t matter if your customers feel consistently satisfied.
One of the most important things you can do as a new business owner is to build trust in your client base. The best way to do that is to demonstrate expertise; it should be clear why customers come to you over your competitors, and the reason should be because they trust you to be knowledgeable and helpful. One way you can demonstrate expertise is to run a blog alongside your business, one that dispenses advice and tips adjacent to the thing you’re selling or providing. This will make people think you’re not just a business, but that you’re genuinely trying to help them as well.
It might be tempting to see the business landscape as a battlefield, and to attempt to go it largely alone as a result. However, this would be mishandling a crucial resource: other businesses. You’d be amazed just how much other business owners can help you if you allow them to be friends and colleagues rather than bitter rivals. Just like in the workplace itself, collaboration fosters creativity, so by teaming up with another business, you both might find solutions to carving out niches for yourself that you wouldn’t have identified alone.
Rely on automation
If your business is small enough that you can’t afford to expand your staff easily, then it’s a good idea to rely on automation as much as you can. That means setting up things like social media posts and email chains automatically, so that you don’t have to remember to do it yourself. There are a host of tools online to help you with this, so make sure you research which ones would be best for your business. This is particularly important for ecommerce site owners, as you can automate everything from the checkout process all the way through to the initial stages of the customer service procedure.
Don’t overwork yourself
We end on a tip that’s more for your own health and sanity than for the health of your business. It’ll be tempting to burn the midnight oil and constantly work; in fact, this is an attitude that some modern-day entrepreneurs appear to be espousing. However, we don’t think this is the best way to work; you might actually end up making some poor decisions or mistakes because you’re too tired or single-minded to think beyond your current situation. Take regular breaks, pencil in time for yourself, and make sure not to push yourself beyond your limits.