13 successful business tips

by Jake Smolarek
A drawing of a man in a suit climbing the stairs

mohamed_hassan / Pixabay

Nowadays, many people think starting a business or a side hustle is super easy. Just open your laptop and get going. The rise of the hustle culture means people believe that if you want it bad enough, you can make it happen.

But successfully running a small business or setting up a side hustle is more than waking up at six to drink a green smoothie before work and then posting inspirational quotes on Instagram. It takes real hard work, dedication, killer organisation and time management skills, and much, much more.

Stats show that only 50% of businesses make it to the five-year mark. At least 20% won't make it a year.

But if you are serious and dedicated, you need to know how to start a successful business properly. These are the business tips and tricks you need to know to have a successful side hustle or how to make a successful business.

Tips for starting a business (or side hustle)

Get organised from day one

There is a lot to think about when you start a business. It's more than just the day-to-day tasks but also planning for the future, investing, sorting tax and paperwork, and dealing with customers. It's very easy to lose track and let important things slip past. You may even notice until it's too late. You need to find a way to stay organised. Some people use a diary, some their phone calendar, other use notes, and whiteboards or alarms or even post-its. Whatever works for you, get organised from the beginning to save a lot of hassle later on.

Learn good time management

As a business owner, you will be bombarded with a million things to do. There will never be enough hours in the day, and every time you cross something off your to-do list, you'll add another three. You need to learn good time management skills and know when to dedicate your full attention to something and what can be delegated. If you don't have good time management skills, you may feel overwhelmed and fail to meet deadlines. Sometimes, you need to say no for the good of your business.

Understand that sacrifices will need to happen

When you start a new business, even if it's only a side hustle, you have to put in a lot of work and a lot of hours. This means that to begin with, you might need to make sacrifices. You may have to give up your social life while you work evenings. You may need to sacrifice luxuries so you can save money and invest in your business. If you think starting a business will instantly mean more money and more free time, you're in for a shock!

The good news is, if you make the sacrifices early on, things get better!

Check out the competition

It's always good to have a healthy interest in your competition. Don't obsess over everything they do, and certainly don't copy them. But it is worth knowing what they do well, how you are different, and what things they do could help you.

Do some research on your competition before you start your own business. Get a good idea of prices and the marketplace. It'll help you carve out a niche for yourself. It's good to keep an eye on your competition; they may inadvertently teach you a few lessons in what to do and what not to do.

Dedication is key

Business success doesn't happen overnight. It takes time and patience, and dedication. To run any business, be it your primary source of income or just a side hustle, you need to commit to the long-haul. Give yourself at least a year to make it a success. You can do a lot in a year, and it'll give you a good idea of how it's going to work out over several years. Maybe your side hustle will become your main job. And you need to work at it every day. Businesses need constant attention.

Be flexible

You'll probably start with a detailed business plan of what you want to do, how and by when. The chances are that only around half of your plan will actually go how you think it will. Everything else will require a new strategy. It might not even be your fault, but you need to prepare for the unexpected. By all means, have a plan and a backup plan, but you should be flexible enough to change things as needed. Many businesses fail because someone is trying to force something that isn't right simply because it was in the original plan.

Find your own success

Think about what business success means to you. You don't have to be number one right away. What makes a business successful is different for everyone. If you think success is to have a side hustle that you enjoy and tops up your main salary, stop feeling like a failure because someone else earns more. Success is whatever it means to you. If you want to be financially independent or just want to make ends meet in your first year, then that is a success. Many people fail because they set high expectations and then quit when they don't reach those targets.

Take marketing seriously

Most people overlook marketing. It's usually at the bottom of the priority list. However, you can have the most incredible product or service in the world, but if no one knows about it, you won't make much money. You don't need to allocate a considerable marketing budget, but you should consider essential things like your brand name, colours, look, and style and make sure you're on social media.

Have some breathing room

If possible, it's good to give yourself some breathing room, both with deadlines and finances. If you can save up, so you have some extra cash before you quit your job, you'll feel much less pressure and have the extra money when you need it. Same with deadlines. It's good to be ambitious and get started, but if your deadlines are too short, you'll feel really pressured to not make mistakes. Usually, this means you'll end up making more mistakes!

Find the right people

It doesn't matter if it's employees or just friends and family supporting you; being surrounded by the right people makes a huge difference. Running a business coach isn't always easy. There will be setbacks, and you will have bad days, so making sure you are surrounded by people who will work hard, boost you up, and get you back on track is crucial for long-term success.

Keep your goal in mind

Sometimes, when you are stressed, have no social life, and everything is going wrong, it can be hard to remember why you signed up for this in the first place. In these moments, it's more important than ever to remember why you wanted your own business. Perhaps your goal is financial independence. Or you want flexible working hours. Whatever your goal is, make sure you can visualise it and focus it, so you don't give up.

Learn from your mistakes (and laugh at them)

Every new business owner makes mistakes. Perhaps you price yourself out of the market. Maybe you go too low. Perhaps you forgot a major part of your product or failed to consider the competition. Whatever mistake you make, learn from it. Turn your error into a lesson that helps you do better in the future. If possible, it's always best to laugh at your mistake too (once you've fixed it)! It makes life much more enjoyable.

Keep going

Don't give up. You'll want to at some point. Running a business isn't easy, and sometimes it can feel like an uphill battle. Often the businesses that make it, in the long run, aren't the best idea of the best product; they are just the businesses where someone didn't give up.

Surround yourself with mentors and coaches who will help you go through thick and thin and keep you accountable.

Even if you have to take a step back; keep going, keep trying, keep failing, and eventually, you will successfully run your own business.

Let's do it!

About the Author

Jake Smolarek

Life and Business Coach & Entrepreneur

For over 16 years I have been helping people achieve their personal, professional, and financial goals faster and easier than they've ever imagined.

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