Whether you’re exploring new territory or reinventing the wheel with an SMB, entrepreneurship has definitely changed in recent years.
In many ways, entrepreneurs have never had it better. While starting a business is never easy, it can be made far less painful nowadays if you understand the current lay of the land. Certain contemporary entrepreneurial habits have proven themselves to be more effective than others.
Use the following tips to guide your efforts when launching a venture.
1. Make Your Mission Social
Quite a few recent start-ups have proven that entrepreneurship and the social good aren’t mutually exclusive. When you use public service as your starting point, a business is far more likely to benefit from good will. Maxim Gorin of LifeLine Ambulance in southern California is an excellent example. Trained as an EMT, he turned a two-vehicle operation into a major regional ambulance business by focusing on a niche where truly helping people is central.
2. Use Big Data for Research
Using Big Data to plot a business road map before you shell out any money will increase the odds of success. There are many services available that analyze massive amounts of data to provide critical insights for entrepreneurs. Tranzlogic and Qualtrics are the best options for small business owners that need to conduct serious market research on a budget. Read whitepapers specific to your niche from companies like Ipsos to fully understand relevant market trends before you launch.
3. Crowdfund Products and Services
One of the most powerful trends to sweep the business world lately has been the explosion of crowdfunding. This innovative practice is a massive boon for start-ups that have big ideas but small bank accounts. The best thing about crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Fund Anything is that they act as a great filter for bad ideas. If consumers are willing to fund a project through pre-sales, it’s probably a winner.
4. Focus on Instant Profitability
If you have huge resources at your disposal, you can afford to adopt a “grow first, monetize later” model a la Amazon. However, this is unlikely to be the case for small-time businesses and entrepreneurs without endless lines of credit. If you can’t achieve profitability within the first few months, you may want to rethink your plans. Immediate profitability allows entrepreneurs to largely avoid costly debt servicing and reinvest in their operations right away.
5. Leverage Distinctive Marketing
Thanks to the Internet, today’s SMBs can craft cutting-edge marketing campaigns that deliver outstanding ROI without spending much money. From viral videos to Twitter networking, the social web offers plenty of opportunities for hungry entrepreneurs to skyrocket sales overnight. The key is to stretch your brain and come up with something unique that doesn’t smack of desperation. While that’s certainly a tall order, the effort spent during the brainstorming phase will eventually pay off later.
Takeaway: It’s a Whole New Ball Game
The bedrock principles of entrepreneurship never really change. For example, it goes without saying that identifying unexploited niches and delivering uncommon customer service are always clutch. However, the tips covered here are particularly relevant nowadays. As the world continues to shrink and borders become increasingly meaningless, competition is bound to rise. To make your SMB stand out, you must change with the times and adopt the latest entrepreneurial tactics.
Image Credit: Heisenberg Media http://www.flickr.com/photos/heisenbergmedia/8409314268