Depending on which website you get the information from, you have seen many statements like "45% of the businesses fail within the first five years". This kind of statement is one of the reasons why people are not willing to "risk" starting a business. But statements like this does not matter at all - let me explain.
For the past couple of years I have taught many people, particularly those who are running businesses and wanting to start one. In addition, I have worked with hundreds of businesses; from this experience, I have met many great business owners but also, terrible, delusional ones.
One of the main reasons why small businesses do not survive the first couple of years is laziness. Many business owners do not know their industry well nor know exactly what industry they are in. They do not spend time studying and innovating... And most importantly, not taking care of their physical and mental health!
Below are five things you must do if you want to grow your small business.
1. Set a vision
Vision is the ultimate destination and most people in this world do not know exactly what kind of life they want in the ideal world. Because of this, people set goals annually where they are not taking them anywhere in life. Spend one hour every single day visioning what your ideal life will look like - after a couple of months to a year, you will have a picture of it. Then break that down by setting milestones and breakdown milestones by setting goals.
Personally, it took me over three years to set my vision but it was the best time investment I made. Because it helps me efficiently make decisions and almost all the time, my decision will take me closer to my vision, which is my final destination.
2. Learn the basics of accounting
Accounting is the language of business and at least try to learn the basics. You need to know your numbers to make smart decisions to take your business to the next level. Of course, you can hire an accountant but you still have to communicate with him - there are so many free resources where you can obtain knowledge from. If you are unsure where to start, try Hubspot's one here.
3. Dedicate one hour to study daily
Spend one hour a day to study who your true competitors are, what their growth tactics are, how to maximise the efficiency of your business, etc. The main difference between small business owners that fail and the ones who grow to become multi-millionaires is that the ones who win study.
If you don't, the gap between your main competitor who studies daily and you will get wider each day and within a year, they will have all the knowledge, capabilities and resources to not only outgrow you but take away all your customers.
You have to be physically fit to be mentally fit. Studying and thinking of new ideas use a lot of brainpower and to do your job efficiently throughout the day, you have to get fit physically. You don't need to have an amazing physique but exercise at least five times a week to stay healthy.
If you are the one who's been telling people "I have no time to exercise", you are truly a lazy one who loves making excuses. You don't need to spend two hours at the gym - even go for a run or spend 20 minutes at the gym, doing a hard HIIT exercise.
When you are physically fit by lifting weights with the right form, your posture will also improve. This will also give strangers a much better first impression of you, enabling you to increase your network.
5. Don't do everything yourself.
Don't try to wear different hats and do everything yourself. Don't use Canva to design amateur social media posts and use SquareSpace to design sh*tty looking websites via their boring templates.
There are different levels to everything and hire a professional to get the job done properly. Yes of course, I know you don't have the budget but doing those amateur work yourself is harming your business more long-term; your social media looks crap, your logo looks like it's made on PowerPoint and your website looks like it's made by someone who touched a computer for the first time.
99% of the owners have not dedicated their time and researched properly on seeking help for the areas they need help on. They just Google "website design', email a couple of places for quotes then assume every web design agency charges $10,000 for a website.
Don't be lazy and get out there to seek professional help. If you are unsure where to start, get in touch with me - I have helped over a thousand people and businesses over the years. Me helping you to find a path is much more efficient and will save you money long-term because you won't be making (hopefully) stupid mistakes down the track.
Founder & Editor | Say Seowon Song
I run Caramel, a hospitality strategy and creative agency, and teach business and life strategies to ambitious people. I am also heavily involved in other industries such as restaurants, cryptocurrency, NFT and design.