Startup small businesses have a high failure rate. The numbers vary depending on which study you read, but generally the survival rate for a new small business after five years is less than 50 percent.
Small businesses fail for many reasons, but let us focus now on some of the key reasons that small businesses succeed.
One behavior that consistently shows up in studies of successful entrepreneurs is how they handle obstacles. Successful small business owners respond to adversity differently than others.
New competition, a tough economy or whatever the threat to their business, successful entrepreneurs respond by working harder and smarter. Instead of being discouraged, they are motivated by these obstacles and work to determine what needs to be done to overcome them, and they are not afraid to take action.
To grow a thriving business, successful business owners are willing to delegate. They do not try to do it all.
They realize they need help and are willing to seek out people with skills and experience they do not have. They are not threatened by the idea of hiring someone better than them.
Although they do not just give up all control, they make sure they do not micro-manage their employees. Successful business owners are able and willing to build a well trained team, then lead and work with that team to grow the business.
Successful entrepreneurs are always looking for ways to do things better.
They realize that if they are standing still, they are falling behind. They know that what they did yesterday may not be good enough to stand out from the competition today.
So they continually seek ways to innovate, ways to be more efficient, and ways to take advantage of the latest tools and techniques to improve their business and stay ahead of their competitors.
In addition to seeking ways to improve their business, successful entrepreneurs are always looking for ways to improve themselves. They read books, attend seminars, do research online, participate in webinars, go to conferences and take on new challenges. They try things that take them outside their comfort zone.
One of the most important things successful entrepreneurs do is network with and learn from other small business owners. Some of the ways they do this are participating in executive round tables, attending networking events and developing an advisory board for their business made up of other successful entrepreneurs.
Successful entrepreneurs plan. They not only develop a business plan, they develop a long-range strategic plan. They keep up to date on the latest business and technology trends.
They know what is going on within their industry and what their competitors are doing. They track and forecast key financial indicators and understand their current and future cash flow needs. They plan ahead where they will obtain needed funds and are not afraid to borrow if the situation warrants it.
If you would like to learn more about how to grow a successful business, please contact your local Small Business Development Center to speak with a consultant.
Connie Edwards is business consultant for the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center in Savannah. Contact her at 912-651-3200 or firstname.lastname@example.org.