Keys to success for small businesses

4 min
November 25, 2019

Not all heroes wear capes.

There are an endless amount of methods and techniques to running a small business, but after helping businesses scale and grow from the ground up. I noticed certain qualities small businesses need to thrive, I've created a small personal list of keys to success. I hope you'll find this helpful, and if you did please subscribe to our blog for more progressive articles for determined creatives... and if you didn't, subscribe anyways as the next one may be more beneficial for you! Just as we've seen in the popular action film "The Avengers", the key to their success was not the the sole ability of one hero. The key to their success was the trust and proper utilization of their own unique strengths focused on a single goal, as a team.

The Mastermind Group

"Go alone if you want to go fast, but go together if you want to go far."

The late Napoleon Hill coined the idea of the 'Master Mind' in his book, "Think and Grow Rich". It emphasizes the importance of finding people who compliment your strengths and covers your weaknesses.

"Your network is your net -worth."

Entrepreneurs are in the business of solving problems for others. Finding a solution for millions of people (ideally) can be exhausting, as the owner you'll always have your hands full from dealing with customers and investors, to the design and marketing.

Now how would a mastermind group benefit your business?

Wouldn't it be nice if you had competent individuals that excel in their areas whom you can trust and mitigate tasks to? Having people around to call on when you need it is one of the soundest investments you can make. When the pressures on and the weight of decision making becomes overwhelming the 'Master Mind' forms a fortress around your mind so that you can remain calm and confident in your decisions. There are many ways to find like-minded individuals ranging from social meetups to online forums such as Youtube or blogs.

Market Research

Do you know your customers?

And I mean really know them; what do they do when they first get up, the apps they use, the route they take to work, their hobbies and interests. I know that might seem over the top but if you don't truly know who your ideal customers are to their daily habits, than how do you expect to create a solution for their day-to-day problems?

Your Ideal Customer Profile:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Gender & income

With this basic outline of your ideal customer you can now start creating effectively tailored marketing and pricing campaigns to attract them to your products, away from your competitors.

Analyze Your Competition

"Competition breeds the best results. To be successful, you can't be afraid to study and learn from your competitors."

And just as you're going to dedicate some time learning about your customers, you cannot forget the most bitter sweet source of knowledge, your competitors. Competitor analysis in a nutshell is an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of current and potential competitors. This provides both offensive and defensive strategies to identify opportunities and threats.

You don't need to reinvent the wheel. The mere existence of competitors in your industry means you're doing something worth fighting for.

Yes, it's a great idea to use another companies system when you've still got training wheels on and that's okay. Analyzing your competitors will allow you to asses the current trends and consumer habits.  As you're following your competitors every move (from social media marketing to email newsletters) you'll learn their weakness, and that provides gaps for you to utilize to gain more customers.

And that my friend, will become your edge in the market.

Examples of great use of an edge are;

  • CocaCola's secret recipe and huge brand name recognition.
  • Restaurants that offer exclusive dishes/drinks.
  • Car manufacturers that have better production process than their competitors.
  • Prioritizing remarkable customer service.
  • Exclusive deals that no other local businesses offer.

MVP, MVP

Now I'm sure a lot of you are familiar with the 'MVP' acronyms and no, I'm not talking about the 'Most Valuable Player' right now... Shoutout to Kawhi Leonard (2019 NBA MVP)! In this case 'MVP' is referring to a 'Minimum Viable Product', a term popularized from "Lean Startup" that stresses the impact of learning in new product development.

Why build an MVP?

"Don't be in a rush to get big. Be in a rush to have a great product."

The main goal of an MVP is to create a product that yields immediate value, quickly, all while minimizing costs. An MVP will allow you to get present-day feedback from your consumers, which allows you to make pivots in your plan quickly without over investing your resources into areas that are less effective. Here is a great diagram that explains the MVP process.

The Design Thinking process. Source: Nielsen Normal Group

I recommend following a typical MVP product development cycle to validate your idea first so that a lot of time isn’t wasted in building something that will not get any traction.

The steps for planning a MVP:

  1. Understanding your business and market needs: Determining if there is even a need for your product should be the first thing you do. Analyzing your competitors will give you a good 'used-and-tried'  structure for your product and that will provide you with insight on how to make your own product stand out.
  2. Creating a map for user journey: It's very important to take a step back and understand the process your users will take while using your product from beginning to end to achieve their goal.
  3. Create a problem and solution chart: Creating a chart that shows what your consumers find as a problem in their user experience and develop a solution that brings value.
  4. Decide what features to build: This is where you can narrow down what features your consumer wants vs. what your consumer needs.

When you've finished planning your MVP it's time to put that cycle in motion and constantly learn from your consumers. They're harsh critiques but will stay loyal to a quality business that solves their problems.

Thank You!

First of all, I would like to thank you for making it to the end! I hope you were able to find some inspiration on how to succeed in a small business. If you would like a more in-depth post about any of these techniques, please contact me at Cosmic Collab! Subscribe to our blog if you're one to stay updated on new ideas, I'll see you soon.

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