As a business owner, you have to seek out ways to take a larger portion of your market, something you most likely need to build a strong client base, and to achieve success in the long term. During the first six months of a business’s life, a business will often have to tread water simply to break even. This critical time can sink even the strongest business owner’s plans, even one with an excellent capital source and a sound business plan. The best way to mitigate your business’s early struggles is to keep moving forward, and to work on building a stronger customer base. This often works in two ways.
Your business has to provide excellent customer service to keep your customers paying for your products and services. Keeping your existing customers is often much cheaper than bringing in new customers. Don’t lose your regular clients by being sloppy. Keep the customers that keep your business alive both happy and loyal. Once you have a good customer base, you can build on that foundation through a strong advertising campaign, as well as by making your business available to your target customers. Creating a solid base for your business can often allow you to make a bigger investment in marketing services, and to begin expanding your market reach, at least as it pertains to products or services you offer. Your business will soon be a self-sustaining entity, and you can then invest your profits into hiring more employees and expanding your physical presence.
As your business expands, you will be able to take on more clients and serve your established customer base even better, and the system feeds back on itself. The more success your business achieves, the more you can expand, and the more you can help your customers and your market share. Even large businesses struggled when the first started. You can make yours into a winner if you prepare to succeed.
Russell Sergent is a small business owner from Rockford, Illinois. He runs three businesses: Pro-Source Distributors—a janitorial supply company, Pro-Source Xtreme—a snowmobile supply store, and a Quizno’s franchise.
Many kids in the United States dream about owning their own business. Living as an entrepreneur can be very rewarding for a variety of reasons, including the money you can make if you’re successful. Owning your own business can be highly rewarding, simply because you often have the opportunity to make your own hours, and to work for yourself. Starting a business, and succeeding as an entrepreneur, requires many hours of work per week, often only to make little profit, at least for the first year. Many businesses in the United States fail after three years for one reason or another. Many others aren’t able to make a profit until at least their fifth year of existence. Business owners often work fifty hours a week or more for five years after they start their business just to keep its door open, something often necessary succeed and to attract more customers.
Succeeding as an entrepreneur takes more than hard work, however, to break even. Entrepreneurial success often requires careful planning, and some luck, at least in the early months and years of the business. To establish your brand, at least as a player in any niche of the industry you participate in, your business will have to both grow and sustain growth. A business has to grow quickly in order to survive in the long term. Continuing to fight to break even may only help to your business keep its doors open. As an entrepreneur, you have to create opportunities for your business to expand its operations in the industry you inhabit. Getting a larger market share should always be one of your top priorities while you keep your business running. The longer you tread water, the faster your competitors will gain on you and take your market share.
Russell Sergent built his company, Pro-Source Distributors, from the ground floor into one of the largest distributor of janitorial supplies, paper, and chemicals to over 500 businesses in Wisconsin and Illinois. Sergent started his business in 1988.
A web presence is extremely important to have, particularly for every new business seeking even a modicum of success within the United States. With the rise of internet-based marketing, and the proven results that come from directing one’s customers through company websites, particularly in the past decade, many business experts have come to agree that the creation of a strong web presence is the key to both surviving and making a profit. This is especially true beyond the first three years of your business’s existence. In the United States, over a third of all small businesses fail after the first year, and most don’t make a profit until their third year. In order to grow your business, you will most likely have to get a well-designed webpage, that which helps customers locate your business online.
A major aspect of your web presence should include Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is the art of placing your website first among common search terms your customers are typing in (products or services). The better your webpage is designed and optimized to appear on the top of common search results, the more likely your customers are to find your business (and not your competitors) for their needs. SEO services can also make it easier for your customers to find your physical location on services such as Google Maps.
Russell Sergent is a small business owner from Rockford, Illinois. After graduating from Rockford East High School in 1988, Sergent started his own business from his home. He worked over eighty hours a week for ten years to establish his business as a respected leader in the industry. Sergent’s company, Pro-Source Distributors, supplies five hundred businesses with essential janitorial, paper, and chemical supplies in Illinois and Wisconsin. Twenty-seven years after he graduated from high school, Sergent established his business as a regional power in the local janitorial supply industry. He devoted a decade of his life to building his business.
The first thing one can often expect when they start their own business is to work more than forty hours a week for at least the first year, as well as to make little to no profits. A bleak prediction, perhaps, but more than a third of all businesses in the United States fail after the first year for one reason or another. Small businesses in the United States tend to not make much, if any, profit after their first year and a half. If you want your business to survive the first crucial twelve months, you will have to put in the extra work, because you can bet your competition is.
Because your business likely won’t make much profit in its first year or so, you will have to save up enough of your own money, or borrow enough to keep your business operational for at least six months without seeing a dime of income. This is to ensure that you can keep your business open while you build customers and begin to establish a reputation in the local community. Successful businesses are built on both the development of relationships and fulfilling customer expectations. Your business has to meet and/or exceed customer expectations on a consistent basis, as well as to build relationships with both customers and other businesses in order to stay afloat. This means keeping your doors open long enough to bring in customers, and to provide them with the products or services they need.
Another key for small businesses, at least these days, is a strong web presence. Even if you have a brick-and-mortar store with many “on-the-ground” customers, one of the only ways to really expand in today’s web-driven economy, and to remain competitive, is by drawing people to your website. At the very least, people who aren’t familiar with your physical location need to be able to find you.
Russell Sergent has been a successful businessman since he graduated from high school over 27 years ago. Sergent’s company, Pro-Source Distributors, supplies over five hundred clients with janitorial supplies.