Four Elements of Small Business Success

According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses comprise 99.7% of all US employers and have generated 64% of net new jobs over the past 15 years. In 2009, this is a pretty valuable statistic for anyone looking to start a business in an economic climate where job security is a constant worry. But how do you make sure your company is one of those super-successful small businesses that blows away its competition?

In order to succeed at business, there are four key elements that have proven absolutely essential: planning, marketing, people and place.

Planning is the seed from which every other success factor sprouts, so it makes sense to start here. Without a good plan in place, your chances of long term financial stability are slim. A properly thought out business plan helps you to understand your market, the needs of your target audience and what sets your business apart from competitors. But even if you have a great product, don’t neglect marketing!

Marketing is not just about paying for ads or setting up social media accounts. It’s an ongoing process that involves meeting with existing clients to find out what they really want, studying your competition’s campaigns to see how their marketing efforts are working (and whether there is room in the market for someone else) and asking for feedback from potential buyers before you begin promoting. Without this groundwork, even the best products will fail because no one knows about them!

People are exceptionally important once you’ve established community interest in your product. But how do you find the right people to work on your team? Use your social media presence to build connections with experts in related fields, offer internships and freelance opportunities on the side of your main business so that you can get on-the-job training while you search for long term talent, or simply seek out self-motivated applicants who are hungry for experience.

The place isn’t just about where to set up shop; it’s also about making sure employees feel comfortable at their jobs. If everyone feels like they’re working in a hostile environment, then productivity will suffer even if office equipment is top-notch. Ensure that employees have enough room to spread out, speak up when something isn’t working (in a constructive, not whiny way) and have access to resources necessary to do their jobs.

In addition to these four elements, small businesses need a little bit of luck, a great work ethic and a willingness to learn from mistakes in order to build up the business into something truly impressive.

1. Planning – The plan is where your business will begin – it’s absolutely essential that you think through every aspect of your business before you even buy office supplies or take out an ad on Facebook. 2. Marketing – A good product alone won’t sell itself; you need marketing as well so people know about what you’re offering! 3. People – Without the right people working for your company it simply can’t succeed. 4. Place – The right space can be just as important to business success as the right people. 5. Luck – Sometimes you just get lucky and find a great client who comes out of nowhere! 6. Work ethic – You need to work hard at your job, even if no one is watching; it’s up to you to get the job done well so someone will want to hire you again in the future! 7. Mistakes – No one gets everything right on the first try; every entrepreneur needs to learn from their mistakes in order to improve their company over time!

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