Let's face the facts: Starting a small business is a challenging process. A 2017 study by the Small Business Administration found that about 79 percent of small business startups survive their first year, 51 percent survive five years and 33 percent survive ten years. Don't be a statistic--learn how to be one of the successful businesses by following these three key guidelines.

1) Anticipate failure. Like most things, the first try isn't going to be perfect. The businesses that didn't endure and those that have succeeded all have something in common: they experienced failure at one point. The difference between those who crashed and burned and those who stayed afloat was the anticipation of failure and how they handled it.

Failure is inevitable so it's important to learn from it. Successful business owners respond to failure with a positive attitude, taking the necessary steps to improve and move forward.

2) Adapt to change. Businesses can't be rigid; they must be fluid and ever-changing. The business world moves faster than ever with industry trends emerging regularly. Ignoring early trends will leave your business in the past. It's important to not only keep up with the changing trends, but to also adapt as they arise.

For example, one topic to consider is social media marketing. Are your social media tactics aligned to your target audience? Start by getting to know your target audience and conduct research to find out what they want, where they want it and how to reach them. Then, consider the fact that every social media platform attracts different types of audiences. A 2018 study by Pew Research Center shows that the majority of LinkedIn users are recent college graduates and those in high-income households. Now consider this: if those are your target audiences, is LinkedIn the social platform you've been using? If not, it's time to adapt.

3) Innovate to stay ahead. What have you done lately that excites and motivates you? Keeping up with the latest trends is one thing, but integrating new tactics into your small business will push you to the next level.

Not sure where to start? Follow leaders in your industry, they often share advice that can be integrated into your business or spark new ideas. Keep in mind that innovating doesn't always mean recreating the wheel. Some questions to consider:

What processes or tactics have I been using for a while?

What's successful about them? What's unsuccessful?

How can I improve my existing tactics and implement new ones?

As Winston Churchill said, "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." Always remember to never let the fear of failure stop you from trying new things and advancing your small business. Go off and be great!

Published on: Apr 24, 2018