Katy ratican headshot b w april 2021
Written by
Katy Ratican
20 Dec 2021
4 minutes

What does a successful small business look like?

All successful small businesses have attributes that entrepreneurs can learn from
Successful small business advice

Growing a small business is easy when you can learn from successful, independent businesses and startups. While each business has a unique set of challenges and opportunities depending on their location, category and market, there are certain best practices that help in growing a small business.

If you’re convinced about your business idea and are about to launch your startup, these ten practical solutions from successful small businesses will help yours to succeed.

10 traits of successful small businesses

1. They have a plan

The key to growing a small business is having a functional business plan. Successful small businesses have a plan detailing how much they can spend every month, when they can expect revenue, and what to price their product or service, among others.

2. They record everything

Businesses that meticulously record their expenses and revenue will have a better idea about their financial health. This will help them increase or decrease their overheads and focus on the right areas. It also helps them when it’s time to pay taxes or get funds.

3. They know their audience

You can’t sell your product or service if you don’t know who you’re selling it to. Successful small businesses constantly study their consumers, their hopes, challenges, and pain points and then offer relevant solutions. For these businesses, market research is an ongoing process.

4. They study their competition

Profitable businesses know that the uniqueness of their product or service won’t be enough to make a dent in the market. Before releasing their versions, they make sure to analyse their competitors to discover opportunities. This also helps them avoid the mistakes of others.

5. They invest in marketing

Marketing is one of the most crucial aspects of growing a small business. Businesses that do well tend to consistently invest in marketing tactics that pay dividends. They know that for customers to buy from them, they will have to first hear about them. These small businesses also regularly review their marketing strategies to figure out which ones are working better.

6. They cut down on their expenses

Successful small businesses know that cutting costs is an important aspect of financial health. They routinely analyse where they’re spending money and reduce or get rid of unnecessary expenses. They do it through automation of routine chores like expense tracking or accounting, for example.

7. They deliver exceptional customer service

Growing a small business is about focusing on customer service. It’s more expensive to acquire a customer than to retain them and that’s something that all successful businesses know. Routinely examining your customer service and remedying problems will go a long way in getting you a loyal customer base.

8. They hire and shape the right employees

Employees are the face of a small business. When you get hardworking, determined and helpful team members, you’re ensuring that everything from the quality of your product or service to day-to-day operations to customer service will be top-notch. Successful businesses show a career path to their employees to ensure higher rates of retention, which is a significant competitive advantage.

9. They're persistent

If there’s one attribute that’s common to all successful small businesses, it’s that they’re focused on what they have to achieve. Everyone from the management to team members are ready to stay the course, knowing that it will take time for their efforts to show results.

10. They're willing to change

While it helps to stay focused, businesses that thrive also know when to change their tactics. They’re always analysing their performance to know whether their product, service or their strategies are making an impact. They’re not stuck on any particular idea. If it doesn’t work, they’re ready to change.

Growing a small business is a challenge no matter what sector you operate in. But by learning from successful businesses, you give yourself more than a fighting chance.

Chalkboard: Supporting your business

Chalkboard is a second-line app that is built specifically for business owners and is ideal for small businesses and startups.

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