Anyone can start a business but running a business isn’t easy. If it was, everyone would be doing it successfully and the failure rate would be minimal. However, the reality is that most businesses fail within their first year.

I’ve met so many entrepreneurs with a lot of potential, brilliant ideas and strong skillset in their areas but they have been unable to take their businesses off the ground. There’re many reasons behind this: no business knowledge, unsuccessful marketing initiatives, no strategies in place, poor customer service, incorrect messaging, no differentiation and unique selling proposition, poor understanding of the market, competition and the audience.

There are many advantages and challenges of both service and product based businesses. However, many prefer to focus on services not only because of their expertise and experience in a particular field but also due to the low start-up costs, flexibility and personal fulfilment that this can provide.

Running a successful business takes time, energy, effort and commitment. You can’t expect results over night but there are a few things that you can do to set yourself up for success:

  • Know your audience

Instead of thinking what to sell, think about what problems you can solve. Do your market research and know the challenges that your target customers face and how you can solve them. Be very specific and become an expert in one area. It’s exhausting focusing on everyone and you can’t compete against every business out there.

Everything in your business including offers, messaging, sales and marketing is built around your ideal client, their challenges and problems. Knowing your audience helps to provide solutions that they’re looking for without wasting time, energy or money.

  • Start slow

You don’t have to quit your job straight away and go into building your business full time. You can start slow and consider working part time or full time while building your business. It’ll give you an idea of what it’s like to be self-employed and what it takes to run your own business.

You can research your market, have procedures in place, build your client base and try and test different strategies before becoming a full-time entrepreneur and transition when you’re ready.

  • Keep it simple

Don’t over complicate things as you could end up with an expensive high end product or service that nobody wants to buy. Start small and narrow your focus to create a simple, high quality product or service. It’ll allow you to focus your energy, time and money on the specific processes and become consistent with your offering, messaging and marketing.

  • Talk about your business

When you’re new, it can be intimidating to share your business with the world. But you can’t be shy, if you want to be successful.

Get out there and talk about what you do. You can do it either online or in person. Either way it’s all about getting the right message to the right people at the right time. Connect and engage with your potential clients, share your experience and knowledge, and make them feel listened to and valued.

The more you talk about your business, the more confident you’ll become and the easier it’ll get. And also you never know who you’ll meet. It could be your next paying client or a potential referral.

  • Be yourself

The current market has a lot of noise. There are many different strategies and people will try to sell you their own methods and strategies that they present as the best on the market. It’s great to know your options and learn from the experts but you’ll try to follow everyone’s advice, you’ll feel exhausted and frustrated and eventually, your efforts won’t get you anywhere.

Instead be yourself, connect with people the way you want to connect with them and the way it feels right to you. Be authentic and lead from your heart and soul. At the end of the day, it’s your business and you need to feel fulfilled and excited about it.

  • Understand legal requirements

Many find this part very boring and try to avoid it as much as they can. However, it’s crucial for any business to understand government regulations.

The rules for businesses are set so that the expectations for transactions and operations are known. If you fail to follow government regulations, you could face penalties.

Get legal advice and hire an accountant to ensure that you have everything in place and you don’t miss any deadlines.

  • Don’t do it alone

Many new entrepreneurs try to do everything alone and get lost, become stuck and feel overwhelmed in the process. Ask anyone who is running a successful business and they will tell you about the people that helped them to get to where they wanted to be.

Surround yourself with people who have more experience than you and those who have already succeeded in their businesses. Hiring a mentor or coach is the greatest investment that you can have not just in your business but also yourself. Mentors and coaches can help you at any stage of your entrepreneurial journey, whether you’re just thinking of starting a business or need help with building or growing it. The support that you’ll get is invaluable and it’ll only help you to move forward faster.