(BPT) - The American entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well. After two record-breaking years of new business creation, there's no sign of the trend slowing down with as many as 17 million new small businesses projected to start in 2022, according to a recent survey commissioned by Intuit QuickBooks.
If you're one of these early start entrepreneurs, the first months as a business owner can be filled with myriad emotions. You may feel excited and empowered while also confused and stressed - and everything in between.
'Nothing really prepares you for the duality of emotions one experiences when becoming a small business owner,' said Dr. Sherry Walling, best-selling author, founder and lead psychologist for Zenfounder. 'It's definitely a long-game play if you're going to survive, thrive and sustain a healthy entrepreneurial life. Integrating digital technology into your business can take some of the unnecessary burden and hard stuff away, giving you more confidence to run your business. It's about working smarter, and putting your time and energy toward the activities that yield the highest return for you and for your business.'
Here are some simple steps Walling recommends for new small business owners to best position themselves for success:
Separate and track all expenses
The first rule of any business is don't run out of money! A top priority for new small businesses is to keep track of expenses and earnings and open a business bank account. Not only will this keep you organized, but it can also benefit you and your business come tax time. QuickBooks offers more details on the importance of keeping your business and personal expenses separate in this helpful guide.
Build a strong online presence
You have to meet your customers where they are, and increasingly people are looking to shop online. According to a QuickBooks report, 61% of consumers said they use online sources to find local small businesses to shop at, including social media advertising (35%) and posts from friends and followers on social media (28%).
Whether you have a physical location or only sell online, investing in digital tools, a user-friendly website and social media can effectively increase your customer base without being bound by geographical limitations.
Leverage strategic marketing tools
Attracting new customers and keeping them coming back is essential to growing your business. Yet, for nearly half of small businesses, finding new customers is their biggest obstacle, and more than a quarter struggle to retain existing customers. Marketing solutions like Mailchimp can help you identify and engage with customers in creative ways - whether it's through a timely holiday email campaign or running a discount or promotion. These types of strategic marketing campaigns can help increase sales and boost your revenue.
Network and build community support
Consider joining a business association. This is an opportunity to network, raise awareness of your business and engage with other new entrepreneurs who can relate to the challenges you may be experiencing. By connecting with other entrepreneurs who have similar goals, you can help encourage each other and provide important insights.
Be passionate yet patient
Your small business is your passion. It's important to work hard to make your dream a reality. However, remember that building a business is a marathon, not a sprint. Pace yourself. Take breaks, even if it's just 20 minutes to walk, read or do whatever helps you recharge. Budget for a vacation, even during your first year in business. Be patient with yourself and others. Every step is an opportunity to learn, and you'll grow stronger and more savvy each day.
For more information on how innovative business tools and solutions can help new entrepreneurs, please visit here.