Ways to improve your chances of success for a long and lucrative career.

From the start, many small businesses don’t have the resources in place to succeed. As a result, over 50 percent of small businesses won’t survive beyond their fifth year. Whether you’re thinking about starting a business or are in your first couple of years of operations there are several ways to improve your chances for a long and lucrative career.

A Clear Business Plan

Just as your home needs continued maintenance, such as a new garage door installation, you need a comprehensive business plan to sustain wealth. Each year successful business owners write up a plan for the upcoming year. When you first start a business you will need one to secure a loan from a lender. However, the mistake many business owners make is that, after they receive their funding, they often neglect to create a plan going forward. A business plan reveals areas of weakness and lets you improve them. It also lets you set achievable goals and helps you to track your money.

Satisfying Customers

You can have the best product on the market but if your customers are not happy, you won’t achieve your financial goals. You can’t simply focus on sales or you’ll never grow your business. If you lose as many customers as you gain, you’ll remain in survival mode. On the other hand, if you put an emphasis on customer satisfaction, they will remain loyal. There are several ways to keep your existing customers content. One way is to follow up after selling a product or providing services. Sending an email or a postcard with a simple questionnaire about how they feel will show you care. Another way is to offer a discount for repeat business.

Become a Member of the Community

It’s very easy to conduct business without ever really getting to know your customers. However, if you want to brand your business and become more than just a name, you need to become visible. Many companies know the benefits of giving back to their community. A small token of appreciation such as a sponsored event like a summer music festival or a clam bake will take your business from being just a name and turn you into a member of the community. Mingle, cook, and get to know the people who help make you money.

Online Isn’t Everything

There’s no doubt about it, an online presence can launch your business almost instantly. However, it’s not the only venue that will provide results. Social media does draw huge crowds at any given time of the day. But, it’s still a disconnect. You should have a presence on social media sites and a physical presence. Trade shows are a fantastic way to talk one-on-one with existing and potential clients. Have products, pamphlets, and promotional handouts available. Trade shows also give you a golden opportunity to meet other businesses in your field. You can shake hands and find what they do to achieve success. Who knows, you might even acquire a few good contacts.

A Qualified Staff

It can take years for any business to acquire the perfect staff. If you think about it, they are, in most cases, the first point of contact with your customers. Having knowledgeable people who not only understand the business and it’s policies, but also how to handle the customers, is essential. While business meetings may take up valuable time from the workday, they are often necessary. These meetings allow you, the owner, to project your goals, inspire people to work harder and keep everyone on the same page.

How you conduct business in the first five years can make or break your business. Having the proper tools in place will set your business up to achieve success.