1) Find Your Niche
Some people think that focusing on a niche is thinking too small, but having a niche product line is actually a wonderful thing! If you really want to compete with Sears and Toys ‘R Us, you can do that by offering better customer service or by providing more guarantees, but it is much easier to compete in a specialized niche. Plus, when you focus on a niche you encourage repeat orders and referral business.
2) Skills & Abilities
You don’t have to be good at every aspect of business in order to be successful, but you do need to be realistic about what your abilities are. If you’re not very computer literate then take an online class or buy a book, if you’re not very good with numbers and records then hire a part-time bookkeeper, and if you’re not great at writing ads or other sales materials then hire a freelance writer online at Elance.
3) Use Technology
You don’t have to be a technical wizard to benefit from advances in technology. Make it easy for your customers to contact you via email, create (or pay someone to create) a website that works for you 24/7, use Google Calendar to keep track of your life on the go, use a fax to email service so you can keep digital copies of everything, and use the Internet to learn about how to enhance your skills and market your business.
4) Create a Website
Since you can get a domain name for about $10 a year and a website for around $5 a month, there is really no excuse not to have your own website. Many word processor programs will create HTML pages from documents you’ve typed, and lots of good domain name registrars (we use and recommend GoDaddy) supply website templates that literally allow you to setup your own site over night, without the need for any web design skills.
5) Positive Thinking
Napolean Hill wrote the all time best-selling business book “Think and Grow Rich” during the Great Depression in 1937. Over 30 million copies have been sold because of its powerful message about how our thoughts control our successes and failures. Simply put, whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right! So look at any setbacks as learning opportunities, be persistent, and stay positive and you will be successful!
6) Build Relationships
Advances in technology like cell phones, handheld games and the Internet tend to take the focus off of people, for example you can order a pizza online or use a board at a fast food restaurant to order then pay with a credit card without ever speaking to a person. On the other hand, consumers like to feel that they’re being heard. Build relationships with your customers by giving them the ability to communicate with you through a variety of methods such as via email, through your website, Facebook or Twitter. By genuinely listening to your customers you will build bonds of loyalty and trust with them, which will only increase the success of your business.