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How to Succeed as a Small Business Owner

This news story was published on June 22, 2020.
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There was a hit Broadway play in the 1960’s called, “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” It was popular in its original run and as a revival 34 years later because the huge irony of the title drew people in. Succeeding in business is anything but easy and requires significant amounts of effort. So, how can owners of small businesses succeed in today’s competitive, technology-driven, profit-oriented environment? In addition to really trying, you’ll need equal measures of education, planning skills, networking, patience, an ability to learn new skills along the way, and the willingness to acknowledge mistakes before changing course. Here’s a brief roadmap for being a successful entrepreneur in the 2020’s.

Get Educated

Whatever field you choose for making your mark, get the right kind of education. Invariably, that means at least a college diploma and perhaps a master’s degree in your chosen area of endeavor. For the majority of prospective owners, that means getting a student loan. You can consider taking out a private student loan without a co-signer. You’ll be able to cover your education cost, have access to competitive interest rates, and build your good credit as you pay. Lenders will consider many factors when you apply for a loan, in addition to credit history, income, the degree you’re studying for, and more.

Plan Like a Pro

Once you decide on a specific course of action and know what type of company you want to start, make a detailed plan that maps out at least the first two years of operations. Of course, you will need to make assumptions and estimates about revenues and expenses, but at least you’ll get your specific goals down on paper. You can amend this plan as time passes. It will keep you focused and can be turned into a formal business plan later on.

Network Like You Mean It

Even if you’re not a people person so to speak, you can walk the walk. In other words, join as many local organizations as possible so other professionals will know your name and what you do. Make hundreds of business cards and hand them to everyone you meet. Pick a church to attend regularly and socialize with others. Join the chamber of commerce, donate your time to at least one local charity, and use social media to your advantage.

Practice Patience

Some new owners are shocked that they don’t have hundreds of customers within the first few months of operation. Be ready for a slow start. Most entrepreneurs don’t see profits for a while, so you’ll need to be patience and play the long game in order to reach your goals.

Always be Learning

Never assume you know everything, even if you hold an advanced degree in your field. Running a company means doing dozens of things at once, so you must be willing to adapt, maneuver, reconsider, change tactics, and basically always be willing to learn new things and acquire fresh skills as the marketplace morphs, which is what marketplaces tend to do. Finally, be quick to admit mistakes and errors of judgment to yourself and others. Willingly change course when necessary.

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