Want some top tips from an entrepreneur who doesn’t just write about starting a business, but has successfully launched four companies and counting?
Meet Rhonda Abrams -- not only is she one of the US’s foremost experts on small business, entrepreneurship and business planning, but she’s also a regular USA Today small business columnist and has helped millions of businesses in the US get off the ground.
Adams was one of the guest speakers at the recent QuickBooks Connect conference in California -- and had these tips to pass on to budding entrepreneurs during her seminar, 5 Key Lessons For Every Entrepreneur.
Find your niche
- As a business you need to define your niche in all segments including industry, demographics, unique knowledge and differentiation;
- Plan, plan and plan again;
- Give yourself a measurable goal, evaluate your business plan and set deadlines;
- Learn from your failures and always try new ways of doing things;
- Always aim to innovate yourself, your business functions and processes;
- Make a ‘red book’ that is your good idea notebook, where you can record your ideas and review them periodically for inspiration and implementation.
- Repetition, repetition, repetition -– marketing should be a weekly part of your business;
- Choose the right target market and make sure your message is clear and includes a call-to-action;
- Have more than one business card template to appeal to your different audiences, ie: you may want to appear to be the ‘expert’ or ‘market leader’ to one industry and as a friendly and dependable service to another.
Use your team and your networks
- You can’t grow alone, determine your needs and start slowly;
- Get advice. Look to different sources for advice and guidance, whether it is your bookkeeper, spouse or business colleague -- everyone offers a different perspective and can help you achieve a well-rounded understanding of an issue;
- When hiring, start small. Make use of contractors or casual staff, even a few hours a week will help you (even if it is administrative).
Do it now -- go to the cloud
- Transition your business to the cloud to enjoy increased flexibility and accessibility -– allowing you to deal with business transactions and interactions in real time;
- Tools for this include: QuickBooks Online, Microsoft 365, Google Docs, Dropbox, Box and Mail Chimp.