Business and entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well, even in our tough economy in South Africa. New businesses of all types are being started by individuals with a passion and dreams. Starting a new business is the easy part, but actually running it successfully and making money can be a massive challenge. Here are 8 tips for business start ups that can help smooth your path to ownership and make your dream of a successful business come true.

1. Do your market research for Business Start-Ups

Probably the #1 most important segment of your new business is your clients/customers. For this reason you should learn as much as you can about their habits, preferences, demographics etc… The information you compile will help you better communicate your ideas to your customers and advertisers, determine new sales opportunities, identify potential problems, and help formulate successful business strategies. In short, a good market research will help you increase sales and profits.

2. Choose a memorable name

The name of your business denotes what you sell, but make it catchy, short, and easy to pronounce.

3. Create a catchy slogan

Come up with a short description about your business that relates directly to what you do. Slogans that rhyme are extremely effective because people remember them.

4. Respond promptly to Customers

Quick response to customers’ questions, needs or complaints builds trust and loyalty. Satisfied customers are the most important advertisers for your business, and for this reason, you must do what you can to keep them happy. On the average, one dissatisfied customer will tell 10 people about his/her negative experience with your company. Build you reputation by responding to your clients/ customers timeously.

5. Market your business 

No matter how good your product or service is, without letting potential customers know it exists, you will not get far. Create a website that’s creative, easy to use, and clearly displays your product or service. Make it easy for potential customers to contact you. Research various modes of marketing and invest your time and money into those that bring the best return on your investment. You might have to test a few options to get concrete answers.

6. Expand slowly

When your business is starting to take off it’s easy to let your expenses get out of hand. You might feel that you have to spend more to make more but it’s not always the case. In reality, if your business is starting to increase you don’t have to proportionally increase your expenses. Let your sales build up consistently before you start expanding. Expanding too fast and too soon can backfire, causing your business to lose money or fail entirely.

7. Bookkeeping is Vital

One of the quickest ways to ruin your new business is not to have a bookkeeping system. As a new business owner you’ll need help organizing paperwork, collecting payments, paying bills, tracking income and expenses, preparing tax payments and much more. If you are not able to perform this vital part of your business you should look at outsourcing you bookkeeping to a qualified service provider.

8. Have a plan for your Business

Planning ahead will help you avoid or mitigate unpleasant surprises, reduce risk, and help you achieve your objectives in spite of changes in market or economic conditions.