The Bright Idea You Need Right Now®

The Four “Need to Know” Things for Your Small Business

Did you know that over 99% of American businesses with employees are considered small businesses? Probably not, but you certainly know that starting and growing a small business, especially for the first time, is a daunting challenge. Most entrepreneurs are aware that they have about 50/50 odds of staying in business at the five-year mark. So if you’ve started your entrepreneurial journey, congratulations – you’re among great company (pun intended!), and you could probably use all the help you can get.


There’s a lot to juggle and manage as a business owner – customers, expenses, inventory, employees, paperwork – and a whole lot more. But as you manage the day-to-day details, don’t lose sight of the “forest” – the bigger picture, the things that can influence your success, not just in the short term, but also in the long term. Here are four key “need to know” perspectives to keep in mind as you go about pleasing your customers, pleading with your vendors, and of course growing sales:


  1. Know your brand – which means, know everything about it. Understand your message, goals, target audience, and most importantly, know yourelf. After all, as the owner, you are your brand. The importance lies in how you communicate what you and your small-business represent, and how your product or service can help your customers and serve the community at large in a better way. Most people go into business to have an impact, so understand your brand and what it means, to leave a lasting impression. Whatever you invest in reflects your business and your brand – the people you hire, they represent your company and they are an extension of you and your brand; make sure you carefully screen candidates, potential partners, investors, and proposed projects. It takes years to build a reputation, but one mistake can destroy or set back your brand for a very long time.


  1. YOU are your own competition. Sure, you’re competing for attention and sales with others in the marketplace, but no matter what someone else out there is doing, you need to focus on your products and services. Learn what other small businesses in your industry are doing, to stoke your passion to stand out and inspire creativity to develop unique skills and offerings. Focus on the value you bring through the products and services you deliver…you really are the only one standing in your way of breaking through obstacles. Stop comparing your business to others, and instead focus on your business and go for it! 


  1. Effective communication is the one of the most important factors for entrepreneurial success; clear, concise, compelling, and consistent communication is the best strategy. Whether it’s written, oral, digital, or face-to-face, remember that everyone only knows as much as you tell them. You have to assume your prospective customer knows nothing about what you do or offer, so focus on informing them without confusing or exhausting them. With your partners and employees, consistent communication might mean having a daily or other regular briefing to ensure you’re all on the same page and focused on achieving the same objectives for the day, week, month, or year! The time it takes to ensure the major points are understood can potentially save a lot more time and money wasted on mistakes due to a missed discussion. Don’t get suited up for the game, only to realize you forgot to tell the rest of the team where you’re playing! Success in business requires both effective and thoughtful planning and execution, and providing the consistent, timely, and open communication is fundamental to that. 


  1. Finally, don’t be afraid to outsource. You clearly know what you want to accomplish and maybe even how to get there, but that doesn’t mean you are the best one to do it. Many entrepreneurs rather foolishly take on too much, either to save costs or believe that only they can get it done right. Swallow your pride and recognize that you might not be the best person for that digital marketing copy you need, or have the time to spruce up your newsletter and gain more subscribers. Obviously, don’t take on the things you don’t know how to do, but even if you know how to do something, it might not be the best use of your time. Efficiency is your friend and when there are a million things to do, pretty much at the same time, it’s best to let others handle the important but often times, mundane tasks. Use your network or talk to trusted friends and contacts to see who they would recommend to help (and why). It never hurts to ask for suggestions, and you could end up developing deeper connections with those in your area or make new partnerships. Long story short, don’t do it yourself if you don’t know how; focus on what you’ve mastered, and let another master of their craft assist you in addressing your small business needs.


Running a small business is hard but it can also be incredibly rewarding. Keeping the above four perspectives or fundamentals in mind while you go about daily grind of growing your business can keep you from veering off the right path and getting lost in the details. If a conversation on how to get an obstacle out of the way or brainstorming ideas might help accelerate your progress, don’t hesitate to reach out to me or my partner at Connexa Solutions; after all, we could be the bright idea you need right now.