Running a small business in the UK

What Prospective Business Owners Should Know About Running a Small Business

Running a small business is not an easy task. It takes time, effort, commitment, patience, and even money to become successful. It is also a long journey to take before seeing your desired results. 

With the current economic conditions and COVID-19 pandemic, more people are starting a new business hoping to achieve their dreams and passion. In the UK, for example, 5.82 million people own a small business as of 2019. This number is way higher compared to medium- and large-scale businesses with only 35,600 and 7,700, respectively.  

Despite this huge number in small business, entrepreneurs had to go through challenges and difficulties to get to where they want. If you are planning to start a business, there are still a lot of things you need to learn and consider. In this article, we will discuss in detail why business is tough, the benefits of owning a business online, and the skills needed and how to run a small business. So, let us dive into it!

Business owners discussing business ideas

Why Running Your Own Business Is Difficult?

Before starting a small business, here are the important things you should take note of:

1. Business is not stable.

You will have slow growth initially when starting and running a small business. As entrepreneurs you may feel discouraged and have stress in times of instability. Therefore, as a business owners it is important to accept that you will have slow months to start out with. 

Instead of stressing yourself out, use this as an opportunity to rethink your marketing strategies and what you can do to improve sales. Work hard in finding more ideas, so you can offer more services to your sector increasing your finances.

2. Your feelings will get hurt.

Excellent customer service is one of your main priorities. Therefore, you try your best to assist your clientele in the best way you can. However, some people may make your day unpleasant, and this cannot be avoided. This is when your feelings could get hurt. 

If this happens, remind yourself that your customer might only be having a bad day, so you cannot take the rudeness personally. Give them kindness instead as this can help lighten up your mood. 

3. Running a small business is more costly than you think.

Unexpected spending happens as entrepreneurs when your in charge of a business. If you are a bakery owner, for example, prices for your bread ingredients can change any time. This is the reason why checking the finances of your companies is important.

You must make sure that you research financial analyses first, so you know if you have extra money for emergencies. In case of losses, make sure you have enough savings to bounce back.

4. You spend most of your hours running your small business.

Expect to spend most of your time managing your business. You might have more sleepless nights as well. You will involve physical labor, from making the products to moving them around. You will do a full day’s work, plus working on more paperwork when you get home.

Despite this scenario, it is still important to rest. Overworking can risk your physical and mental health. If you do not feel better, you will not be able to work the normal way, piling up unattended tasks. 

5. Success takes time.

As mentioned earlier, achieving success will not happen overnight. It usually takes years before you start seeing results. You will have ups and downs before you get your targeted returns. Therefore, accepting this reality and setting the correct goals are crucial when running a small business.

6. Customers who pay little are the most demanding ones.

Debates are expected, especially when it comes to your price. There are people who think your price is not reasonable and want to negotiate you down. During this situation, you will see how the customer do things and their behavior. Use this opportunity to make better arrangements with them instead of giving in to their demands. 

7. You need to reinvent your system and strategies every 6 months or more.

Changes in the business world are fast, especially in terms of technology. Once you get used to a system or marketing strategy, another new one comes out. You must keep up with the trend, so you will not get left behind. 

Therefore, reinventing your business systems is key. Do this every 6 months or a year to see which ones work best by then. However, you do not have to let go of your old services if they still work for your business. 

The bottom line here is to continue experimenting what works best and using the old techniques that are still useful. This way, you have many options to use in case a few will not work anymore.

8. You need people. 

You cannot run your company alone. You must divide the work with your co-workers, so it makes everything quicker. Doing it alone is stressful and does not guarantee a high success rate. You do not need a huge team to start though. 

If you can work with 3-5 people, then you are good. As long as you all get the job done daily is absolutely fine. Get a team who is more efficient, faster, and smarter in completing the tasks.

Be a entrepreneur but also be part of the team to ensure great camaraderie and this will provide the resources to grow.

Running a small business is fun when your invoices get paid.

Why Run a Business Online?

Online business nowadays is becoming more popular primarily because it is easy to start. If you do not have an online channel to promote your business, it will be extremely difficult for you to achieve success. There are multiple benefits you can get from being a online company owner, and some of them are worth to highlight, such as:

  • The opportunity to manage your business anytime and anywhere
  • Less paper wastes
  • Increased professionalism
  • Faster product delivery
  • Cost savings
  • Wider market reach
  • Global customer base
  • Global availability 24/7
  • The chance to know more about your competitors

If you have a online presence, for example, your prospects can find your site anywhere and anytime. They do not have to go to your physical store to check your goods and services, which makes service better. They can also reach out to you through your site. 

Using the right online marketing channel entirely depends on your business. There are also numerous avenues you can market your company online while earning extra income. Check out our guide about how you can make it online to see which methods work best for you.

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What Are the Skills You Need to be a Business Owner?

Although you might have the concept of running a business, the skills you possess as a business owner to operate it is key to your success. Being entrepreneurs you might already have some, but it is still essential to know other skills you can develop. To help you out, we listed the skills needed to run a successful business:

1. Optimism

Optimism is a positive attitude you must practice having in your daily life. If you are optimistic, you focus on the solutions to your problems rather than the problems themselves. With optimism, you will not easily feel frustrated or get stressed during slow months.

2. IT Literate

In today’s business world, it is a requirement to be an IT literate. You do not have to know how you can build a server though. You must only be skilled with at least the standard Microsoft Office tools. You need them to create your admin task, plan your calendar, and many others.

3. Be Systematic

If you follow a system that works best for your business, everything will fall into place. Develop procedures and systems for your team, from administrative tasks to technical services. 

4. Team Management

Know how to lead and guide your team to your business goals. Divide the work equally, so get to finish the tasks daily. Make sure to learn each team member’s weaknesses and strengths, so you know which tasks they are best.

5. Flexibility

Unexpected changes happen, and you should be prepared to adjust. When problems occur, focus on finding the solutions immediately. The sooner you get to the solution, the lesser are your losses. 

6. Planning Skills

Before you even start running a small business, make sure you know your end goal. This way, you can set a better plan to get to your destinations. start a business plan that will serve as your guide in starting and growing your business.

7. Selecting Your Team

Your team plays an important role in making or breaking your business. Be sure to screen each member meticulously. Ensure they have the right skills to do their job and willingness to help you achieve your goals.

8. Research Skills

Your skills are important because you need it even before you operate your business. You need to know how to look for resources you need for your niche. Knowing about your competition is also essential because you need to get ahead of the game.

9. Sales and Marketing

Regardless of the type of industry you are in, you need to know how to properly market your business. This also includes continuous sales for your stock and services. Your first sale is crucial and so is your succeeding sales. You also need to know how to handle rejections and feedback, so you can work on the areas you need to focus on.

10. The Skills to Know When to Ask for Help

If you feel that your tasks are too overwhelming, it is okay to ask for help. Your team can do small things for you that can significantly affect your overall task. After all, you hired people to help you, so ask them for further assistance if you need it.

11. Listening Skills    

Listening to both your clientele and team members can help you know the areas you need to work on. They can give suggestions and recommendations you can use to grow your marketing strategies.

12. Self-belief

If you do not believe in your business skills, running your business will be a waste of time. You will have doubts in everything you do, and this is not a good sign. Your success rate will not be that strong either. Believe in yourself and your team all the time.

13. Literacy and Numeracy

At some point in your business, you will have to write to your finance and business partners. Therefore, it is important that you know how to effectively present written communications. You must ensure that people understand your message and are encouraged to buy your items and services or to work with you.

The basic understanding of how numbers work is also crucial. You will need to deal with your cash flow that requires the knowledge of basic accounting. 

14. Helpful Customer Service

Helpful customer service increases brand. When people can rely on you about inquiries, they trust you, increasing your brand. People are also comparing service between you and your competition. If they see that you are offering a good one, they will be happy to prioritize your offers.

15. Passion and Drive

Owning a small business requires a great level of passion and drive. Your business will become a huge part of your life, and if you lack the right level of passion and drive, your business will break if you stop working on it. This will cause a negative impact in your life. Make sure you can fully commit to your responsibilities in running your business.

Hard work and drive needed to run your own business

How to Effectively Run a Small Business

Now that you know the skills required to run your small business, it is time you learn how to operate it. There are many methods you can use, but what we will present are time effective strategies to operate your business.

1. Create a Website

Creating a business site is crucial nowadays if you want to become successful in the business industry. It can help you with benefits such as:

  • 24/7 advertising
  • Wider market reach
  • Cost-effective brand promotion
  • Easy access to prospects 
  • Increased brand awareness and professionalism
  • Earn extra income

When you build a new site, it is important to consider how to host it. We recommend using WordPress as it is easy and reliable to use. According to the 2019 statistics, there are more than 75 million sites using WordPress. Over 500 sites are made every day, and 14.7% of WordPress users are among the top 100. 

WordPress is easy to install, and you can do it by following our guide. You can also ask your web hosting company to do the installation if you are not confident to do it.

2. Choose the Right Plugins

Plugins are add-ons you can install and activate on your WordPress site. They help extend the functionality of your site to cater to your business needs best. They are also easy to install once your everything is up and running. Follow our tutorial in installing plugins.

We recommend installing four plugins that you need:

  • Loginizer – This plugin deals with the security system. It blocks brute force attacks by stopping IP logins when the maximum login attempt is reached. 
  • Yoast SEO – SEO plugin is also important to help you rank.
  • Contact Form 7 – This plugin lets people contact you. It also helps you get email addresses from prospects, so you can build a list for your email promotion. 
  • LiteSpeed Cache – This is an acceleration plugin that helps your site’s page loading speed. It automatically caches your web pages to load fast. 

Although WordPress offers thousands of plugins, installing lots of plugins on your site is not advisable. Having too many plugins can slow down your site down. When this happens, people visiting your site will see how slow your site loads.

3. Market Your Business Online

Marketing online is quickly becoming popular nowadays as well. Business owners understand how the Internet influences Companies and advertising, so they are extending their efforts online. 

There are effective and popular channels you can try, and these are email, Blog, SEO and PPC, video, and social media marketing. Using these marketing channels allows you to:

  • Build an online presence
  • Achieve measurable results
  • Receive large returns
  • Reach out to people globally

To know more about what you can do using these online marketing channels, read our article about it.

4. Find Your Target Customers 

Finding your target market is one of the most difficult parts of running a small business. If people do not know about you, they will not find you, but you must look for them and let them become your loyal clients. To help you get the right audience, here are some strategies you can use:

  • Build a plan for your customer acquisition. 
  • Use social media to find and follow prospects.
  • Look in local newspapers for new businesses, people who won awards, etc.
  • Visit houses of prospects if your market is homeowners.
  • Invite people using promotional materials to see who are interested in your items.
  • Ask friends if they know someone or a group of people who might be interested in your services.
  • Study the strategies used by your adversary in generating leads to see which ones are useful for you.
  • Attend local events that your prospects may want to go to.

5. Increase SEO Rankings

SEO is extremely important in running an online business. It is the process in which it tells whether you are ranking well on Google. If you have a strong backlinks pointing at your site, people can find you online.  

You must learn the ins and outs of SEO, so you know which aspects to work on and maintain. Using high-ranking keywords are key to your SEO. You must incorporate relevant keywords in every blog article, so the Google bots will crawl your pages and index them, increasing your online presence. 

You can also use other digital marketing means to make your brand more visible online. You can try email or social media marketing. Both are powerful and effective marketing channels to generate leads and increase conversions. 

6. Take Payments Both Online and Offline

Payment transactions have been made quicker online. People get to pay you online using their credit or debit card, bank to bank transfer, PayPal, and many other means of online payment. When a customer places an order online, they get to pay it immediately and then wait for their purchased goods. It is that easy and simple. 

However, security threats online are also a major concern. Hackers and other phishing tools can get bank cards and other sensitive data if your sites are not secure. However, this does not mean doing payments offline is safer either. Some people can get tricked by scammers while processing payments. 

Despite the security concerns of both online and offline payments, it is still beneficial for you to have both methods. Your prospects will have the preference to choose which is more convenient for them.   

7. Provide the Best Customer Experience

As mentioned earlier, providing people with the best experience with your business is a top priority. If they are happy with your products and services, they will come back and you will become a loyal customer focussed brand. To make sure you give them the best service, here are the things you can do:

  • Be available. This means you assist them with their concerns as quickly as possible and with faster turnaround time. What you want is to make their lives a lot happier.
  • Consider the mood. If it feels like they are having a bad day, you might want to talk your goods some other time. Getting a sale is extremely low when they are not in the mood. You might want to give them tips in choosing the best products or services to help them instead.
  • Train your staff about proper customer service. If you are running a shopping store, it is important that your staff can assist in satisfactory support. Train them on how to deal with different types of situations and on how to extend their patience, especially when assisting difficult people.
  • Learn how to adapt. Changes in the business world are quickly happening, so you must learn how to adapt to them. If you are running an online store, make it more user-friendly. Add advanced filters, so your site viewers can find what they are looking for on your site. 
  • Ask your customer about what they want and not want. Asking them directly will not hurt your brand. It is even an effective strategy to know what they want and not want and to build a stronger connection with them. People like being asked their opinion, they appreciate this move because it creates an impression that you truly value them and care for their wants and needs.

Conclusion

Running a small business is a long-term process. It is tough, especially when you are in the early stages. However, its benefits are the effort, investments, and time when you operate your business the right way. We hope that this article was helpful for you in creating a clear goal. So, start planning your business now and see success coming your way!