Be the 20% and Survive the 18-Month Test

Be the 20% and Survive the 18-Month Test

Congratulations, you have finally opened your own business. Now, it’s just a matter of which of the 80-20 ratio you’ll be in. According to Bloomberg, 80 percent of new businesses fail within the first 18 months. So how do you make sure you are in the 20 percent that are fortunate to survive the 18-month survival test?

Surely, many new businesses that fail in longevity point to the lack of cash to sustain the business. But in most, if not all, cases, it was a sequence of missed opportunities and the lack of creative fortitude that inevitably let the money tree run dry.

Invest in Your Customers

One of the bigger reasons is business owners failing to invest in their customers enough. Not providing good dialogue between you and Joe Customer can spell doom to your business. Be it a social media chat, a feedback feature on your website, a good email system or even a customer appreciation day; making that extra effort to help your customer feel more connected to your business is key to building a foundation of retention among your customer base.

Do Your Due Diligence About Learning to be a Business Owner

Another reason new businesses fail so quickly is that the owner hadn’t realized the dedication, time and money it took to be your own boss. Though the rewards can be great, so too can the responsibilities that fall on your shoulder. For those looking to open their own businesses, Melinda Emerson of SmallBizLady recommends to prepare for hard work, troubleshooting problems daily and building a high tolerance and perseverance. Setting up goals before you even open the doors is crucial, as well. Every good business has short-term and long-term goals. Establish what they are and build your business towards them. This keeps your business on track and focused.

Networking Is Key to Earning Trust

Customer service is the most important element to trusting a business. Thus, networking is one good way to earn your customer’s trust. Networking is tied to the first reason mentioned, however, this also includes marketing on a personal scale, because that’s what networking is intended for—as far as your business goes. Getting involved with your community can show your customers—and potential customers—you are dedicated and caring, not just for your business, but for the community as a whole. So return phone calls, answer emails, attend community functions and volunteer or sponsor a local club or fundraiser. Doing so gets your name out there and it gets the community familiar with you and your business. If they trust you, they are more likely to support your business.

Have a Trustworthy and Dedicated Team

If you haven’t set up a good core of employees and a daily systems structure, then your business failed before it even started. When you have a good team of employees, you want to nurture their drive and their willingness to help your business succeed. Thus, be aware of not only their work performance, but their work load, as well. One interesting statistic is that since 2010, people are more confident in their job abilities and as many as 2.5 million Americans a month are willing to quit their jobs to find better ones, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Overloading employees with work, micromanaging, being scarce around the office and not promoting teamwork are just some of the no-no’s a business must avoid to keep its team happy and productive.

A Solid Infrastructure Sets a Foundation of Success

Having a dependable, flexible and secure data filing system is just as important. Your business’ sensitive data needs to be backed up and protected from outside threats like viruses and hackers, but must also be able to be accessed from remote places to allow you and your employees to work outside the office. Cloud-based systems allow for all of this to happen. Too many times new businesses limit themselves as to what they can do buy shying away from cloud technology. Innovative cloud storage systems like Mozy can offer backup, file syncing and mobile access that can help your business grow, be more flexible and stay on top. Top notch cloud security isn’t as expensive as one may think. In fact, it may prove to be cheaper than relying on your own manners of security, which could prove very costly.

With 18 months as a test of survival, it’s decisions like these that will prove your business ownership longevity.