Once you have chosen your career path, the first step to creating a successful business is to find the most available gap in the market and discover any weaknesses of your competitors. In particular, you will want to ensure that you have more skill and the education than any of your rival businesses, as having an advanced level of knowledge and ability will put you a cut above everyone else. Whether you are looking to start on a new career path, have chosen your business sector and are ready to begin your startup, or you already have a business which you are looking to build up and expand, here are some tips to help you rise above the competition and increase your profits.

The importance of up to date education and training

Although for some business sectors, no formal education is needed, the better your education, the more you are going to stand out amongst your competition. However, there are some types of business which will require you to gain a qualification which is accepted by a quality standards service, such as the Internal Revenue Service accreditations for tax-related businesses.

Before you choose a line of business, look into the range of possibilities for different credentials you could earn. Some require extensive training, for example, becoming a psychiatrist would require you to study a bachelor’s degree, getting placement experience, before gaining your medical degree, and becoming licensed. However, if you don’t have the time and energy to commit to studying for such a prolonged length of time, then there are always alternative paths you can go down which might be more accessible to you. For example, becoming a psychologist will require much less training than becoming a psychiatrist, or alternatively, you can take courses in counseling which can be completed online in a relatively short space of time.

No matter what credentials you start out with, it is incredibly important to maintain your professional credential with continuing professional education. While this is not always a necessity, it can be an incredibly important aspect of keeping your company as one of the best in the business. Policies and methods of working are always changing, and if you want to beat your competition to the top spot, then you need to be the most educated and the most up to date at all times.

Creating and administering a practical business plan

Many people feel that develop a business plan can be time-consuming. However, it can also be a priceless resource for making sure your business keeps its focus, and that you are able to reach your goals in an efficient manner. Every good business plan should start with a mission statement for all the qualities you want your business to embody, and what you want to achieve. This then gives your whole business a purpose, and an overall goal to be constantly working towards.

You would then include basic business information, such as your company description, founding date, the most important senior member’s details, employee numbers and all other relevant information, including the organizational structure of your business. Then, break down your proposed growth chart, all of your financial information and your future plans for the business.

Keep up to date with market analysis, such as the needs of your potential customers, gaps in the market, your key demographic, prospective percentage of market share, and your target margins. This is really important information to keep on hand to see how your business is progressing and to reference when you are looking for ways to improve the profitability of your business. You can add to your business plan when necessary, such as adding a funding request section when you are looking for third-party investment in your company. This section would include information such as your proposed funding requirement, and how you intend to use your borrowed funds.

Working on your branding and marketing strategies

Small businesses rely on the branding of their image in order to gain the clientele needed to be successful. Large chain brands and conglomerates gained their widespread appreciation due to their recognizable image. There are lots of different branches of marketing, from creating an appealing aesthetic to bonding with the public and broadly promoting your services.

For a small business, the image of your brand relies heavily on you as the owner and founder of the company. Therefore, before you even consider the brand’s aesthetic, you need to first start by appraising your own. At the very least, you want to make sure that you come across as clean, well-kept, with a professional style and an approachable personality. Once you have looked at your own appearance, it is then a good idea to work outwards, moving onto the look of your office (which should be neat, organized and free of clutter), to the business as a whole, and finally looking at how your business appears to customers, both in daily life, and online. Your image as a brand is affected by many different aspects, form the calligraphy you use in your content, to an easily recognizable name, slogan, and logo. You should also consider the colors you use in your materials.

When it comes to advertising your business, you don’t necessarily need to spend a fortune, though you will need to set aside a clear and dedicated budget. A great way to promote your business is through sponsorship. This can be local, such as a sports team or event, or you can go broader and search for a charity or other reputable cause to sponsor. This way, you know the money that you are spending is going to a worthy cause, and in return, you are getting a widespread promotion, whether that be through newspaper and TV adverts, online or even just having your logo printed on your chosen sponsors merchandise.

You can also become better known in your local area by partnering with local colleges and high schools and giving talks on working on your work so that you can promote yourself as being an expert within your business sector. If appropriate, you could hold mixers and other social events to get to know your clientele, and also make sure that you have a solid social media presence; social media is a great resource for advertisement, as you can hire influencers to promote your business services. Alternatively, another great method to promote your business is to hire content marketing services to create hidden advertising, in order to increase the interest of prospective clients.


Cover as broad a service range as you can

Aim to make your business the go-to service provider for as many different services as you can. First, consider what you want your specialism to be, (for example, if you are working in the beauty industry, you might have a focus on hair and makeup styling); the next, you need to broaden your horizons beyond that, offering services which compliment your specialism (such as also offering manicures or hair removal services).

Whatever you decide, make sure that your business is able to accommodate all of your chosen services, from the qualifications of the staff members that you employ to the software that you use. For example, if you were running an accountancy or tax preparation service, then you would want up to date software such as that from UltimateTax.com.


Connecting with your customers

Your customers are not just the foundation that your business stands on; they are what builds your brand too. Without your customers, you wouldn’t have a business in the first place, but more than that, your existing customers can be the best tool for getting yourself new clients through referral and free promotion. Therefore, you need to make sure that all members of your clientele walk away from using your services feeling happy, and willing to spread the message that you are the go-to service to use. Customers want to feel like you are treating them as individuals, so make sure that you practice good communication skills: don’t just go through the motions, but actually take the time to listen to what your clients have to say, and reply accordingly. Aim to exceed expectations, and keep stress to a minimum for your customers.

In return for you giving them all that they asked for and more, your clients will be the cheapest advertisement tool you could ever hope for. Try and keep in contact with your clients by asking to add them to your mailing list, so that they know their custom is valued. Don’t be afraid to ask them to recommend your services to their friends and family, because if you have built up a strong working relationship, they will most likely be more than happy to oblige.

Overall, the most important factor is to ensure that you are always looking for ways to outdo your competitors and always strive to offer the best quality service to your customers. That way, your work will speak for itself, and overtime, you will organically build up your client base.

By Eddy

Eddy is the editorial columnist in Business Fundas, and oversees partner relationships. He posts articles of partners on various topics related to strategy, marketing, supply chain, technology management, social media, e-business, finance, economics and operations management. The articles posted are copyrighted under a Creative Commons unported license 4.0. To contact him, please direct your emails to [email protected].