Characteristics of successful small businesses
May 8, 2017
Having lived most of my life in northern Nevada and also spent most of my career in banking, I've had many opportunities to see small business owners succeed. It's one of the most inspiring and rewarding parts of being a banker.
As you know there is often a lot of attention placed on the well-known and large corporations that plan to move to our area or are already here. It is always great news when we have companies relocate to Nevada, but we also need to remember the benefit that the lesser-known small businesses bring to our state.
It's appropriate to take a closer look at the impact these businesses have on our economy and also what has made many of them successful.
There are 246,569 small businesses in Nevada, according to The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). You may be surprised to learn the SBA considers any company with less than 500 employees a small business! However, the latest SBA statistics show us that companies with fewer than 100 employees have the largest share of small business employment in Nevada.
The thought of taking on additional debt can be scary for many small business owners. Simply considering how and if a loan will help your business shouldn’t be off the table. At some point most successful small businesses will need to address the issue of growth
— and that often means how to finance expansion.
Having had the opportunity to work with so many business owners, I've noticed there are some similarities among those who have been successful. Here are a few things I've observed.
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Focus, Focus, Focus
Some small business owners try to be all things to all customers. There is a real benefit to assessing what specific services or products are most in demand by customers, and hopefully, most profitable for you. What successful business owners don't do is spend time marketing and selling unprofitable items. An honest assessment is always a good idea.
Learn What Makes Your Business Different
For many owners, it's the relationship they have with their customer. Personalized attention goes a very long way in building up those repeat customers. No matter what kind of business you are in, your customer wants to feel good about using your products or services. The more interaction you have with customers, the better your insight into their needs including potential new products and services.
Don't Hold Your Business Back
The thought of taking on additional debt can be scary for many small business owners. Simply considering how and if a loan will help your business shouldn't be off the table. At some point most successful small businesses will need to address the issue of growth — and that often means how to finance expansion. That could include: Should the company buy a storefront in-stead of renting one? Could new equipment help increase efficiencies and make your business more profitable? Perhaps a line of credit can help manage large seasonal changes in sales?
Ask For Help
The good news is that you don't have to go it alone. The Small Business Administration was created back in 1953 for just this purpose. There are many programs to help owners learn all aspects of operating a successful small business. You can find much of it online at http://www.sba.gov. The SBA, through local lenders including the one I work for, also offer special financing programs specifically aimed at small business owners who may not qualify for more stringent conventional loans.
With many indicators showing improved economic growth in the months to come, small business owners have good reason to take a look how they hope to grow and how they can get some help.
Mike Hix is senior vice president at First Independent Bank, with nearly 35 years of experience working with clients in northern Nevada and assisting them in all aspects of banking.