Business Tips

Eight out of ten businesses fail within their first 18 months. Starting a business is no joke- it requires continual hard work, cash flow, and a dedicated team. It will demand much of you, and there may be stretches of time with no return on your investment.

If you want to be among the few who make it past that 18-month mark, you’ve come to the right place. There are two keys to keeping your business relevant for the long term. That’s it. No need for a 26 step plan, or an overly complicated business set-up. If you follow them consistently and build them into the groundwork of your business, you’ll stand a much better chance of becoming a business

Provide True Value

There are entrepreneurs around every corner today and social media has increased everyone’s reach. Each new product or company promises to enhance our lives. They can make us move faster, work smarter, look better.

We have almost endless options for every decision we make. Something like ordering food out now comes in several different ways. You can use something like Seamless or UberEats, you can order from the restaurant’s website, you can call directly to the restaurant and place an order, you can walk in and place an order to go.

In order to cut through the sheer volume of competition, your company must provide true value to its clients and customers. To keep your business relevant, you have to bring excellent, consistent work to the table every single time you show up. Behind all of us is a long line of people who think they can do what we do better. You have to prove that you are the best.

How do you provide value? 

Listen to the problems your potential customers have. They need to you not only offer a solution but to offer the best solution for them. Say, for example, you own a hair salon. People need to get their haircut. But why should they come to you, instead of the one down the street?

Say, for example, you own a hair salon. People need to get their haircut. But why should they come to you, instead of the one down the street?

Your haircutting services can be found elsewhere. That alone doesn’t add value to your potential customer’s life. Add further value, and rise above your competition, by going further.

A salon might consider adding:

-deals for returning customers

-excellent customer service

-a safe and relaxing environment

-expert style advice

These things enhance your overall appeal to customers and help ensure each person who walks through your doors has a wonderful experience. When you go the extra mile, customers notice. You want customers to leave happy, and start generating word of mouth buzz. That’s invaluable to small businesses, and a great way to confirm that you are providing value.

Answer your customer’s needs with a plan and a smile. True value is not merely the solution they need, but a company that makes customers feel comfortable and heard. Keep your business relevant and ahead of the competition by creating a complete value package on the market.

Stay Inspired- And Be Inspiring 

To really kill it in the business world, you have to inspire on two levels.

It’s critical to stay inspired yourself. From inspiration flows ideas, actions, and a desire to push yourself. These three things make a powerful cocktail that results in getting stuff done.

Surround yourself with things that re-charge your batteries. Spend time with friends and family. Get outside. Exercise. Step away from the screen. It’s essential that you feel deeply connected to your work. Passionate people create great work. Finding inspiration in the world around you will help keep your business moving forward.

You also must provide inspiration to others.

No one wants to work with, partner with, or buy from a brand that screams ‘basic.’ You want people to look at your business and think ‘heck yes. I want that for me.’ You want your brand to lift people up.

This rule applies whether you’re selling shoes, yourself, or kitchenware. What you offer must come with a dose of dazzle. Those shoes have to make the person wearing them feel like a star. That kitchenware has to have your customer feeling like they’re on Top Chef. You have to show your client that they can touch the stars.

Inspiration tells people they can do or be anything. Don’t you want your business to have the same message?

Your business can be more than just another statistic. You can make it past the 18-month mark with flying colors. Focus on providing value, excellence, and inspiration for every single one of your clients to keep your business relevant. Produce top of the line work and nothing less. Stay motivated to be the top of the class, and you’ll find yourself in that number one seat.

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Kara Perez is the founder of Bravely, a company that connects women and money. She freelances in the areas of personal finance and travel, and she eats peanut butter straight out of the jar.

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