In January 2015, my business will turn 17 years old. That’s not a record. Many businesses have been around for over 100 years. But my business is web-based, and in Internet years, 17 is a long time. In fact, my website is older than Google.
Over those 17 years, I’ve had a lot of ups and way too many downs. And yet, the site is still chugging along. I’ve met many other entrepreneurs who’ve found success over the long haul, and many others who have come and gone. What’s the difference between businesses that stick and those that don’t? Here are my thoughts on that. Successful, long-term entrepreneurs are:
1. Committed. In some ways, their business is like a marriage, in which they still with it in sickness and health. When you’re committed, you learn from the bad and are able to enjoy the good times when they come back around.
2. Adapt to consumer needs and expectations. When I started my business, digital products were non-existent in small businesses (because of the expense), social media hadn’t been developed, and content management systems had yet to become mainstream methods of building an online presences. Today, consumers want more, cheaper and faster and we have the technology to do that. Along with digital content and engaged business owners, consumers expect top-notch customer support, whether they’ve complained through a Tweet, email or by phone.
3. Market, market, market. Many newbie business owners have difficulty developing a consistent marketing plan. Part of the challenge is not knowing who and where the market is. For some, it’s fitting marketing tasks into a busy business schedule. But haphazard, intermittent and unfocused marketing is a recipe for disaster. Entrepreneurs must know who and where the market is, what will entice it by, and find ways to engage with it every day.
4. Protect their brand. Today, one Tweet can send a business spiraling downward. Fortunately, social media and tools such as Google Alerts, can help you stay on top of what people are saying about your business, so you can fix problems and protect your brand.
5. Stay informed. Many of the opportunities and resources that are available now, weren’t around when I started my website. If I didn’t stay informed about these options, my site would be obsolete. Success in business requires keeping up with trends, new technologies and systems, and resources. One of the reasons that Apple and Amazon have blown old traditional businesses out of the water is that those old business didn’t adapt to the new digital world as quickly as they should have.
6. Connect with others. Businesses don’t exist in a vacuum. Networking remains one of the top ways to generate new business, launch new projects and stay relevant in your market.
7. Invest and plan for the future. Lack of capital and vision is a major reason many businesses fail. Part of your business success strategy should be to invest funds back into your company and have a plan for where you want your business to go.
8. Have fun. All successful business owners have their differences, but one thing they all have in common is a passion for what they do. The minute you lose the love for your business, is probably the minute you should sell it.
This article was written by Leslie Truex from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.