According to a recent Business.com study, a new business is launched every minute in the United States.
For these entrepreneurs, opening the doors to their business brings excitement, anticipation of what’s next and a motivation to succeed. Some people decide to go into business for themselves because they’re searching for a creative outlet while others may be seeking a bit of freedom.
Owning your own business takes an enormous amount of work and, at the end of the day, you are responsible for your own success. While it can take years to build a thriving business (Facebook took five years to become profitable), you can expect incredible rewards and challenges along the way. To get ahead of common scenarios that can potentially surprise both new and seasoned entrepreneurs, keep these four truths in mind:
1. Change is inevitable
The Greek philosopher Heraclitus famously said that change is the only constant in life. The same goes for what entrepreneurs can expect throughout their business ownership journeys.
A business plan is, of course, essential when getting started. The plan should help inform decision-making, but it shouldn’t be a rigid path that may interfere with the natural progression of your industry or the economy.
Believe it or not, the business you start may not be the business with which you finish. Being agile is crucial, and changing direction can be a good thing because it means you are focused on innovation. Overall, flexibility is key.
2. Technology is make or break
Using the right technology is an absolute necessity in business. Consumers today expect to connect with businesses digitally and want personalized services. Seventy-three percent of customers say it’s important that they can access information about their interactions with a company online, and 57 percent say it’s important that a business remembers them. By automating processes using productivity solutions like Dynamics 365, you can focus more attention on what matters most: your customers.
3. You may be a target for cybercriminals
A data breach can result in lost business and revenue. In fact, according to a recent Microsoft survey, 51 percent of consumers said they would be unlikely to do business again with a company that had been a victim of a data breach.
It is critical to keep all technology up-to-date to boost your business’ security; Windows 10, which is the secure most secure Windows ever built, is a good place to start. Windows Defender, an enterprise-grade, built-in anti-virus solution, delivers comprehensive and real-time protection against software threats across email, cloud and web.
4. Loyalty is everything
The most successful business are ones that are obsessed with their customers. Many sources say it is five to six times more expensive to attain a new client than retain a current customer.
When consumers feel heard and appreciated, they are likely to remain brand loyal. The SMB Guide to Connecting with Customers is an interactive tool that will help you determine your business’ level of customer loyalty and recommend tips on enhancing it.
By Cindy Bates