Here is a list of the top five things that start-up SMEs should be paying attention to, whether they are just starting out or are planning an expansion.
Resist the risk to cut corners – Times can be financially tight when you are just starting out, but it never pays to use substandard materials, suppliers or contractors just to save a quick pound here and there – you run the risk of alienating your clients with poor quality. While the ability to save a few pounds through savvy and thriftiness is an excellent skill to have, saving money by cutting corners is the first step towards failure.
Wear your credit report on your sleeve. As a small business owner, it is vital that you understand your credit report, and do everything possible to ensure that it is in good financial health. Once you have a handle on your current credit report ranking and have taken measures to correct any past debts and mistakes, you should make this information available to potential clients and suppliers. This way, the people you deal with can see that you are trustworthy and concerned about your credit report score.
Pay attention to your competition. While you have a unique business proposition and a product or service that only you can provide, it makes good business sense to study others in your industry who have been around for longer. What do they know from experience that you haven’t yet learned? Paying attention to your competition means that you can benefit from their mistakes and make heuristic shortcuts that will save you time, money and energy.
Separate your work and personal life whenever possible. We know that the secret to a successful business is often the willingness for its owner to sacrifice time with friends and family in order to get it off the ground, but whenever possible you need to carve out time solely for relaxation with your family without the distractions of your mobile, computer and tablet. If you are at all financially able, rent an office – or even a desk – out of the house to ensure that there is a physical split between your home life and business.
Let your passion shine through. This enterprise is your baby, and as such, no one knows it and believes in it as much as you do. Let this passion shine through when speaking with clients, colleagues, suppliers and the media, and even on days when things seem hard or grim, try to remember the reason that you started all of this in the first place.
Do you have any other sage advice for those just starting out? Leave your remarks in the comments section below.