10 Ways to Make Money While Running Your Small Business
Tip 1: Start with your personal network
In order to start making money with your small business, people need to start doing business with and talking about your small business. People prefer working with individuals and businesses that they have known for a long time. If you're a newbie in the industry, the best people to tap for business would be people from your personal network. You can build up industry contacts over time and you shouldn't be embarrassed that your small business' first customers are your parents, grandparents, other relatives or friends. Take it as a good sign that these people already know you and what you can deliver and have chosen to trust their business to you.
Tip 2: Make it a point to attract and take care of loyal customers
About 80% of your overall business will be conducted with repeat customers. Building a loyal following should be the number one priority for small businesses since this will make you the most money in the long run.
Tip 3: Don't promise the moon and deliver Swiss cheese
Don't bite off more than you can chew – when you tell your customers what you can deliver, when and in what quantity, make sure that you can meet that commitment! You won't make any money if customers stop patronizing your small business! There is no faster way to destroy a small business' reputation than by having it torn apart by unhappy former customers.
Tip 4: Don't assume; get a contract and stick to it
Most projects require some form of contract to be drawn up but small businesses often overlook this detail in favor of diving straight into the work and delivering the order indicated on the order form or discussed over the phone. However, getting the terms and conditions down on paper protects both the small business from customers defaulting on payment or terms and customers from small businesses that are less than above-board with their business practices. If you want to make money and not lose it on fruitless ventures, then get with the program and contact a good business lawyer to help you draw up a contract!
Tip 5: Don't forget to pay your business
Sure, you may have put what seems like all your assets into starting your small business – but expecting to gain it all back in one fell swoop will only serve to land you in the poorhouse. After paying off bills and other business expenses, you are left with a profit, part of which should go back into the business to invest in better technology. Making money hand-over-fist might tempt most business owners to increase their take from the business but a business can't operate if it doesn't have financial backing.
Tip 6: Get a good business partner
Some small business owners are leery of getting a business partner since they feel that having someone else on board might cut into the profits, however, having a good business partner might mean more sales going into the company and your partner might even come with a big influx of capital that will help your business stay afloat in a tough economy. Operating in the black is a dream most companies have and having someone to share the load might mean that making money will be easier.
Tip 7: Get to know your clients
You have to really get to know your clients before you begin your work project with them. Running a small business means that you have the opportunity to really get to know each individual client and cater to their specific needs. Instead of asking how you can make money and making that your main focus, you should be asking your clients what they need, deliver on that need and then watch the money come pouring in.
Tip 8: Be the expert and not a welcome mat
Customers need your expertise, otherwise, most small businesses would be redundant and cease to exist. You have to remember that respecting your customer's right to their own opinion and getting their two cents in is not the same as acquiescing to their every demand. If you have a better, more cost-effective idea in mind for their requirements, present it to them and make it clear what the pitfalls and benefits are compared to what they originally had in mind.
Tip 9: Look the part and win more first impressions
Let's face it, new customers can be won or lost on a simple first impression alone. It may not be fair, but it's the reality of owning a small business. To lock in a positive first impression, your natural personality will go a lot way, but your personal appearance and that of your employees will go a long way as well. Things such as developing a clean, professional logo for your website, storefront, and marketing materials will go a long way in setting you apart from "mom and pop" shops. Outfit your yourself and staff with custom embroidered shirts featuring your company logo on the left chest and you'll be taken more seriously than just another person in jeans and t shirt.
Tip 10: Learn how to read trends and spot opportunities
Before you start a small business and while you're thinking about ways to make money, why not focus your attention on emerging or growing industries? Why make things difficult for yourself by choosing to go into a heavily-saturated market? If you're serious about making money, you need to learn how to spot good opportunities before you start grabbing them.