By Steph Cutler
Based on my own experiences, and the experiences of the people I support to start businesses, here are my top ten tips for starting a small business:
1. Have a vision. Be clear about what it is you want to achieve and be clear about why it is important to you.
2. Don’t stick to your business plan like it is set in stone. Keep an open mind and be prepared to adapt to new opportunities.
3. Set short and long term goals. Monitor your progress and periodically look back at how far you have come, and acknowledge your achievements.
4. Remember no one achieves anything alone. Don’t be too proud to seek help and advice.
5. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Excel at what you are great at and create strategies to deal with your weaknesses – outsourcing them to trusted sources, if possible.
6. Ask your customers why they use you. It’s the best way to find out how to retain customers and sell to new ones.
7. Continue marketing even when your diary is full. Circumstances outside your control can change so do not allow yourself to become complacent. Remember, as a small business owner you can’t know too many people.
8. Keep a keen eye on your cash flow. You can be busy working, but if the money is not coming in your business may be in jeopardy.
9. Read about, and listen to, other successful entrepreneurs. Be inspired by them and learn from their experiences.
10. Take time out for yourself. You are no good to your business if you are exhausted. You will return from a break with renewed enthusiasm and fresh ideas.
Steph Cutler had a successful career in the fashion industry when she experienced unexpected sight loss. Determined from the start, she began adapting to her new challenges. This led her to take a new direction and she ventured into self-employment.
Steph is now a business start-up coach and runs workshops providing disabled people with the confidence and courage to consider self-employment or to grow an existing business. She is also a popular inspirational speaker at business events.
Follow Steph’s blog at http://making-lemonade.co.uk
© Steph Cutler 2010