How to Safeguard Your Small Business Against Failure

If you are in the process of starting a new small business, you will be well aware of the various challenges that you may have to face in the near future. In Britain alone, you will be competing with another 5.5 million small businesses which means that you will have to pull out all of the stops in order to make enough revenue to stay afloat.

Competition is just one of the reasons one in every five businesses fail in their first year. Other problems include running out of money, entering the wrong sector, a lack of market research and poor brand image. Use this handy guide to turn the odds in your favour and safeguard your small business against these common reasons for failure.

Not What but Who

Whilst designing a great product is important, if no one wants or needs it then you will be wasting your time – and your finances. Before focusing on what you are going to sell, think about who you want to be selling to. In other words, choose the target audience first and design products specifically for them, not the other way around. Consider the needs, interests, priorities, and desires of your chosen market and use these insights to influence your design and decisions.

Before finalising your product, don’t forget to check and see if there’s anyone else already doing it. The widespread shift to online shopping means that the market is more saturated than ever before, with global offerings from international corporate companies appearing alongside local products. If there is not too much competition and your product has a unique selling point at a similar price then you’ve found your gap in the market which is guaranteed to improve your chances of success.

Know Your Strengths (and Your Weaknesses)

No business is perfect, so you should not be overly concerned if in the outset you find that there are a fair number of kinks that need to be ironed out before things start running smoothly. Be sure to make use of your key skills to promise and deliver excellence in particular areas. Equally, be honest with yourself about weaknesses and do not try to do everything. To fill in the gaps in your knowledge and operations you could hire experts in those fields, or alternatively explore the option of outsourcing areas of the business that are unfamiliar to you. For example, using an accountant to monitor your funds and assist you with applicable legal requirements such as tax forms.

Stay organised

Keeping track of progress utilising organisational tools like plans and projections for spending and workflow will mean you won’t accidentally spend more than your means. Having a realistic overview of your business’ performance and staying aware of potential internal and external challenges will help to mitigate the risk of getting caught out by unexpected circumstances. A quality plan will also help you and your staff to remain focused on deadlines and progression but remember to be prepared for all eventualities and ensure that your plan is flexible enough to change at the last minute should unforeseen circumstances arise.

Get digital

If you’re not trying to expand your reach through harnessing the online potential of digital marketing and social media, you are setting yourself up to fail before you have even begun. There are more than 57 million social media users in the UK so this strategy has the potential to be highly lucrative. Create social channels and showcase your products or services stylishly and uniquely to make people fall in love with your brand image. In addition, digital marketing practices such as search engine optimisation and pay-per-click advertising have revolutionised the way people shop online, so take advantage of them.