To succeed in business today, you need to be flexible and have good planning and organizational skills. Many people start a business thinking that they’ll turn on their computers or open their doors and start making money, only to find that making money in a business is a little more tricky than what they thought. Take time out to get the cogs in place for success.

1. Get Organized

A good way to do this is to create a to-do list for each day and allocate realistic time slots for the different tasks. As you complete each item, tick it off, ensuring that you’re not forgetting anything and you’re completing all the tasks that are essential for a successful day and ultimately a successful business.

2. Stay on top of your finances

There are enough cloud-based, easy to use and real-time applications available (our favourite: Xero Accounting) to know where your business stands financially and what potential challenges you could be facing. This information is key when creating your business strategies and setting your goals.

3. Know Your Competition

Competition breeds the best results. To be successful, you can’t be afraid to study and learn from your competitors. After all, they may be doing something right that you aren’t. Keep learning and keep growing.

4. Understand the Risks and Rewards

The key to being successful is taking calculated risks to achieve your set goals and take your business to the next level. A good question to ask is “What’s the downside?” If you can answer this question, then you know what the worst-case scenario is. This knowledge will allow you to take the kinds of calculated risks that can generate tremendous rewards. Be prepared to put yourself out there.

5. Be Creative

Always be looking for ways to improve your business and to make it stand out from your competition. Recognize that you don’t know everything and be open to new ideas and new approaches in the way you do business. We live in a constantly changing environment and we need to be able to adapt and be open to change, even though we might “feel” like our method is working.

6. Stay Focused

As the old saying goes, “Rome was not built in a day,” applies here. Just because you open a business doesn’t mean you’re going to immediately start making money. It takes time to let people know who you are, so stay focused on achieving your short-term goals and keep your eyes on the prize.

7. Prepare to Make Sacrifices

The build-up to starting a business is hard work, but after you open your doors, your work has just begun. In most cases, you have to put in more time than you would if you were working for someone else and quite frankly more work than you ever imagined, which may mean spending less time with family and friends than what you would like to, however, if you have a good support network in place, this should be manageable.

8. Provide Great Service

There are many successful businesses that forget that providing great customer service is important. When starting a business, or at most stages of scaling it becomes challenging to keep up service delivery, however, do what you can to get it right – it is about building and maintaining these relationships through great service delivery.

9. Be Consistent

Consistency is a key component of running any successful business. You have to consistently keep doing what is necessary to be successful day in and day out. This will create long-term positive habits that you will certainly reap the benefits from in the long term.

What advice would you have for someone who is starting a business now?

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