No one goes into running a business planning to fail, but there are plenty of things people do right from the start that increase or decrease their likelihood of success. Below are several things you can do to help.
Get Your Finances in Order
It may not seem like it's necessary, but it's a good idea to get your personal finances in order before you launch your business even though you are keeping those finances separate. There are a number of different reasons for this. You don't want to be dealing with personal financial pressures while you're trying to launch a business. You want to come across to lenders and investors as someone who is solvent, not a person who is barely hanging on. Furthermore, if you get your debts under control and create a budget, you will have more money to put toward your business. Having personal loans available can be one way to better manage those debts, especially if they are high-interest credit card debts.
Write a Business Plan
No matter how much you have thought about your business and no matter how many people think your idea is a great one, you should write a plan, even if you aren't seeking investors or loans. A business plan is a good way to focus and make sure that you have answered tough questions, such as how you will keep your cash flow going, how you will market to your customers or how you will differentiate yourself from the competition. What often happens when a person writes such a plan is that they discover weaknesses that they need to address before launching. The plan can also be a useful blueprint for you once you are up and running.
Find the Right People
If you are going to have employees, one of the best tips to help you start a business is to work hard to hire the right people, not just the ones who have the skills that you need but the ones who have a similar vision and who you can rely upon to work independently. However, even if you are a sole proprietorship, finding the right people still applies. You'll still work with others, whether you get legal or financial help, talk more informally with people in your industry, or have a mentor. Good people skills and networking ability are essential.
Let's say that you've done all of the above and your business is a success. Your next instinct might be to grow. This is not a bad instinct to have, but you need to do it carefully and with the right timing. It needs to be a genuine response to customer demand or, at least, to a reasonable amount of confidence that you have a line of products or services to introduce to a new customer base. In addition to making sure that the demand is there, you also need to make sure you have the resources. You do not want to be in a situation where you do not have the employees or products necessary to accommodate your broader customer base after expansion.