How to avoid the premature closure of your small business

There are five simple steps that can mean the difference between premature closure and growing a great business.

In a recent study the ABS found that the number of Australians making the switch into self-employment was on the rise: up 2.4 per cent to over 2.17 million businesses actively trading.

With approximately 44 small-business owners closing their doors every day, the question now is whether a growth in small-business numbers means the potential for an increase in premature closures?

Unfortunately for many, the dream of being their own boss can quickly become a stressful nightmare. As the number of people starting businesses increases, so too does the competition to win enough market share to build a sustainable enterprise.

Having been mentoring entrepreneurs for over 15 years, I suggest that there are some simple strategies new business owners can apply to ensure they not only survive, but thrive.

Watch where you put your time

One of the most common reasons small businesses struggle is that the business owner is putting all their attention on the doing, instead of on the marketing. If you want to increase your income, identify your three Primary Money Making activities and keep as much of your time and attention on them as possible.

Find a source of good advice

A great way to accelerate your progress is to invite a business owner or advisor who has achieved success to be your sounding board. This can help you avoid making expensive mistakes and create shortcuts to better results.

Do what you do best and outsource the rest

When establishing a business, it’s common for the owner to try and do it all. This is a mistake. To grow a business in the fastest possible timeframe it’s best for the business owner to stick to their areas of unique ability and outsource the rest to people with the appropriate skill sets.

Narrow your focus and niche your expertise

When you try to tell too many people about the full breadth of everything you can do, it gets lost. Too much information and no one hears anything you say. While it may feel counterintuitive to reduce the number of things you promote, it is essential to your ability to attract more attention.

Make time to think and rejuvenate

A study by the University of South Australia suggests self-employed people tend to work six hours more a week than their salaried counterparts. Simply working longer and harder is no guarantee of success. What can be much more effective is to “work smarter” by creating enough downtime to think creatively about how to grow your business.

There is little doubt that running your own small business can deliver lots of great rewards, but making it through the first few years can be extremely challenging.

The key is to put more focus into becoming a great marketer of what you do, not just a great doer of what you do. It’s often not the most talented entrepreneurs that make it in small business, it’s the ones who learn how to market the talent they have that usually wins.

Paul McCarthy, Founder, www.marketersclub.com.au

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