No matter what level you are on, this comprehensive list of tips can provide a foundation for running your small business in a growth-minded fashion, as well as help you to avoid many of the pitfalls on the road to success.
1. Get a Premium Domain Name
Of course, “.com” is the most recognized, and this is the extension that you need. If it comes down to a face-off between “yourbusiness.net” and “yourbusiness.com”, the first click will almost invariably be the “.com”.
2. Utilize A/B Testing
The next time you decide to change the font of your subject line, the color of your landing page background, or the position of your comments section, run an A/B test.
3. Content Marketing is a Powerful Tool
You could be drawing huge traffic to your website through content, but none of them are converting because they were not your customers to begin with. You can target the right people through Content Marketing.
4. Choose Employees Carefully
In the same way that your business cannot exist without customers, your business will strain without a great team.
5. Actively Manage Stress
Although we cannot avoid at least some work-related stress, it is manageable. Business owners take on an extravagant amount of work, at times wearing many different hats to fill in the gaps, and this is probably one of the most common sources of stress.
6. Cultivate Partnerships Wherever Possible
You may ask yourself, “Why is it that important to be so diligent about my professional contacts?” The idea is that the more people with whom you stay in contact, the more allies you will have.
7. Honesty & Ethics
When you build an ethical business, you gain the respect of the public, avoid bad press, and establish goodwill with your customers.
8. Avoid Procrastination at All Costs
Procrastination is the enemy of a business owner, and really anyone who is working for the company, for obvious reasons.
9. Keep Excellent Records
There are many reasons why excellent record-keeping is important, but one of the foremost is simply that it will save you time and frustration.
10. Keep Close Contact with Your Team
Even if there isn’t anything terribly important to cover, the practice of daily interfacing with your team is good for morale and gives everyone a positive sense of structure.
11. Make Time for Family
Keeping up family relationships will enrich you, as well as your loved ones, and you will thank yourself for it.
12. Embrace Technology
You can’t be afraid to employ the latest technology because if you don’t, your business will always be left behind.
13. Protect Your Business on Paper
Contracts do more than keep us honest; they make it possible to preserve the rights of everyone who is involved.
14. Don’t Be Afraid to Be Original
In a competitive market, finding a differentiator is vital to gaining an advantage over your competitors, and by using originality in every aspect of your business, you can gain a distinctive edge.
15. Mobile Optimization
In case you haven’t figured this out already, let me assure you that if your website is not mobile-optimized, then a great number of your would-be customers are passing right over your business.
16. Know When to Pivot
Any good business owner knows that you’ve got to listen to your customers, but not only is this a good practice—it is necessary if you want to find out what the market is doing next.
17. Develop an “Addictive” Product
There are just some products with that special something that seems to cater to a consumer’s every desire. It’s like comfort food. Many times, there isn’t anything complicated about it—it just tastes good, and you always want more.
18. User Experience is not Just for Websites
Good UX design is a central element of a high-quality website, but the principles of UX are not confined to web design. Every aspect of a small business can be improved by paying attention to how easily your customers can find the product they need and access information, whether through a website, or in a store.
19. Create a Scalable Business Model
Are you selling products out of one brick-and-mortar shop? Create an ecommerce website to sell your product online, and you’ve got a whole new ball game.
20. Keep More than Enough Capital On Hand
Bootstrapping is always good, but even if you didn’t bootstrap your business in the beginning, you need some rainy-day money, and a lot of it—like enough to carry the business for at least a year.
21. Don’t Undervalue Your Product
You can always dial it back down if necessary, but chances are, what you believe to be the true right price, is the right price.
22. Pay Attention to Your Business’ Image
Be sure to project the same image across all your platforms. It will be more difficult for people to get a handle on what your business is all about when you are sending out mixed messages.
Stephanie is the Marketing Director at Talkroute and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur as a leading authority on business and telecommunications.
Stephanie is also the chief editor and contributing author for the Talkroute blog helping more than 100k entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their businesses.