Starting a business is hard enough. Sustaining it is even harder. More than half of startups fail after 4-5 years.

Let’s take a look at some key things you need to do to be on the good side of the statistics.

Understand the real market potential of the business

Whether you have come up with a novel idea or you want to capitalize on an existing market opportunity, it is important that you fully understand just how much profit and growth the business offers.

Do your research. Be sure to find out if your competitors have supplementary channels of revenue so you don’t get mislead by the success you see.

If your aim is to expand at some point, ensure that the business is scaleable enough for the kind of horizontal growth you’re dreaming of.

Understand your target market

Don’t just know your consumers. Understand them. What makes them tick? What is their buying behavior, and how can it be influenced? Is demand for your product or service tied to such things as seasons, trends, economic situation, or even consumer moods?

If you are basing your competitive advantage on being different, be sure it’s the kind of difference your target market needs.

Be financially ready

Obviously, you need to have enough money to get the business off the ground. Depending on the nature of the business, you may not need much initially.

But, as your small business grows, you will need extra money to fund it. Especially with the initial increases in demand and responsibilities.

Ensure that you have enough money – or a ready avenue to get it – to fund the growth of your business, with as little risk as possible.


Treat your web presence seriously

The world revolves around the web today. Small businesses focused on sustained growth therefore, have to create a strategic approach for their web presence. This should start with domain name registration all the way to creating a user friendly website and a strong content strategy.

Keep your head down

As a small business, you should endeavor to spend only on the necessary. Let frugality be your policy. Stay as lean as is possible and practical.

Even if you are a brick and mortar business, ensure that you only get the fixtures, fittings and equipment that you need to function optimally.

Stay focused on your business goals, no matter how good business gets. Continue to look for avenues to maximize your income (and profit) while minimizing your expenses. Many businesses run into debt and fail as soon as they start spending carelessly.

Take calculated risks. And, if you have to take too many risks to keep your business going, you’re likely doing something wrong.

Embrace content marketing

Content marketing provides you with tremendous business opportunities and competitive edge. A well-executed content marketing plan will more than triple your lead generation, build networks with important stakeholders in your business and increase your chances of conversion. And it’s cheap.

It’s good to note that your content marketing plan should not be treated as just another marketing effort and as separate from your business.

Mike at Royal Pavilion says, “Content marketing should be a comprehensive and integral part of the overall business plan. This is especially true for small businesses where processes are closely tied. Your content marketing effort must therefore, complement the business brand, business strategy and business goals”.

Finally, conduct periodic reviews to ensure that you are adhering to all of these practices. As the saying goes, “private, self-evaluation prevents public humiliation”.

Statistic Brain gives a good picture of how new businesses perform today, and why. And it’s worth looking at.