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Becoming a successful small business entrepreneur depends largely on your ability to get the basics before starting your own business. Microsoft, a resounding name in the Information Technology sector, began in Bill Gates’ Harvard dorm room.

Google was also started by two doctorate students, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, at the Stanford Campus as their computer science project.

To succeed in business today, you need to be flexible and have good planning and organizational skills. Many people start a small 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 much more difficult than they thought.

You can avoid this in your business ventures by taking your time and planning out all the necessary steps you need to achieve success. 

Whatever type of business you want to start, even if it is a small business, using the following tips in this article can help you be successful in your venture. Let’s get started.

  • Top 9 Ways To Run A Successful Small Business
  • How Can I Grow my Small Business?
  • 9 Tips for Starting a Small Business
  • How Can I Grow a Successful Business?
  • How Can I Elevate Your Small Business To The Next Level?
  • What Are 7 Startup Tips For a New Business?
  • What Are The 5 Important Tips in Starting a Business?
  • What Every Business Needs to be Successful?
  • How Can I be Successful in Business Without Really Trying?
  • What Makes a Startup Successful?
  • What Are The Three 3 Significant Things we Need to Consider in Starting a Business?
  • What is The Most Successful Business of All Time?
  • What Are Some Unique Business Ideas?
  • What do Small Business Owners Need Most?
  • What Are The Main Challenges to Small Business?
  • What Small Businesses Are in Demand?

Top 9 Ways To Run A Successful Small Business

Have Passion For Your Business

You will likely be successful with your business if you love what you are doing. As a small business entrepreneur, you should always choose ideas which support your business interests, no matter what these ideas are. Remember that passion, resources and knowledge are some of the basic ingredients for running a successful business.

Be Committed

A little bit of aggressiveness in terms of energy, time, resources and expertise committed are needed when starting off a business. Uniqueness of product and market approach equally determine the success of a new business.

Organise And Prioritize Your Business Objectives

Before implementing your project or new business plans, you need to ask yourself if you could quit your present job for the new business you want to set up. You should determine whether you are starting the business  as additional source of income or as a full fledged enterprise.

Read Also: How to Start a Successful Online Business

Answering all these business questions would assist you to organize and prioritize your objectives properly and as well help you ensure success from the beginning of the business plan.

Make Use Of Available Resources

For budding entrepreneur, resources are usually limited most times, so you can look out for opportunities at your disposal that will enhance your business. If you are a student entrepreneur, you can make use of the free internet services at your institution to learn a lot of things while surfing the web.

If you presently have a job, you can look for ways to market your products among co-employees without contravening rules or regulations of your company.

Observe Rules By Local Authorities

Always abide by government regulations as it affect your business in your area. For example, if you are looking to start a car dealership in Texas, you will need to find a licensed location to sell vehicles so that you can trade legitimately. Register your business with the local authorities, if necessary, and you should avoid misplacing important records and receipts of taxes paid. 

Learn Time Management

Wasting man hours is as good as wasting money in business parlance. An employee running a small business as an additional income source should be able to apportion the right time to the business for its success.

You could employ planning and organizational tools, such as an adequately updated appointment/schedule book, time/business management system or use of microsoft outlook to make the most of your daily activities.

Learn From A Mentor

No man is an island and it is not possible for one man to know it all. You can partner a local business  entrepreneur with visible achievements and learn from him or her. Your mentor could help you understand the hidden secrets or techniques of the business and may also provide you with better clues on how to grow your ideas. You may sometimes get assistance from your mentor either in kind or by getting useful investors from him or her.

Be Courageous

Small business owner tend to lose steam if he/she  is unable to make good returns as anticipated within a given period of time, especially knowing how well other people have done in business and how they were able to scale through the hurdles in record time may demoralize a small business owner.

You should however be able to stick to your plans in bringing your business to limelight. Do not be discouraged, because challenges will definitely come.

Be Informed

You may occasionally use the internet to update yourself on latest developments in your chosen area of business. This may not be too important for some small businesses, but it might give you insight or better ideas on how to run similar businesses.

How Can I Grow my Small Business?

Growing a small business isn’t easy. It is one of the toughest challenges many face when they are looking to get out of the 9 – 5 daily grind.

The success of your small business depends on your efforts to grow profits using various methods. From employee training to marketing, every aspect of your business deserves attention.

Rapid growth doesn’t happen overnight, but there are several steps you must take to keep your business moving forward. It takes time and effort. However, when you start reaping the benefits, you will see that your effort is worth it.

Here are some tips to consider if you wish to see your business grow.

Understand Your Customers

You can only develop products and services that will be a huge hit if you are attentive to the needs of your customers and prospects. One way to understand exactly what your customers want is through research and surveys.

You should be constantly inviting them to provide honest, even brutal feedback. Reviews and surveys are the best ways to get inside the mind of your customers. This makes it easier for you to develop products and services that are suitable to the current demands of the market. Moreover, it helps you understand the areas in which your company needs to improve.

Improve Customer Service

If you don’t provide quality customer service, it will be difficult to satisfy your customers even if you have a superior product or service. This aspect of the business is about taking the extra step to make them feel special.

Let your customers know that they are valued. If they have problems, make sure you address them right away. If they have questions, take time to answer them. They should not feel like things are difficult for them if they raise certain issues.

Social media is a great way to understand your customers by listening to them. If they find the customer service satisfactory, they might even recommend others to also buy from your business.

Establish Loyalty

It takes time to encourage customers to come and buy what you have to offer. But it’s not enough to just get them to buy. You need to encourage loyalty. Considering that there are other competitors who could offer them better, you want them to remain loyal to you.

Don’t feel complacent just because you already have a lot of loyal customers. They can be easily attracted to other options and they might leave you.

Provide loyalty rewards. If there are discounts and promotions, let these most loyal customers be the first ones to know. You must sure your customers know they are appreciated.

Maximize Social Media

Without a doubt, social media is a very powerful tool. It reaches out to hundreds upon thousands of people at once. Make sure your business is engaged in social media. This helps you stay relevant. Listening to people and reading their comments will give you an idea on how to make them feel more satisfied.

You will also understand their behaviour and find a way to meet their demands. The best part is that you won’t have to spend a lot of money just to attract new customers. You don’t need to engage in comment wars though. Just keep it positive and make everyone feel that they are heard.

If you have a social media account for your business already, but you are finding you are not gaining any followers, or they are growing slowly, then there are several reasons why this can happen, and ways you can fix it. The most common reason could be your content is not as engaging as it needs to be. For example if you are using TikTok to generate leads, then you need to make sure the videos you are posting is what consumers want to see.

If you are posting good quality videos, but you still want an added boost to your followers, you can buy genuine followers for TikTok online. This initial boost will help you to promote your account, and eventually begin to grow organically. Social Media is huge in today’s society, so taking full advantage of its marketing capacity is only going to maximise your profits in the long run.

Focus on Professional Development

The success of your business also depends on the quality of employees that you hire. Building an effective team is the key to ensuring that your business prospers.

One of the best ways to have motivated employees who work hard is to give them a sense of purpose. They should not just feel like they have to work for the sake of working.

They want to belong to something bigger than themselves. They must understand the bigger goals. This is where branding comes in. Many mistakenly believe that branding is something you do to attract customers. However, a powerful brand will also help you draw quality workers to your business.

Your employees should also feel that they are heard. There are team-building activities that could help them perform well as individual employees and through collaborative tasks. You should also send them to training sessions and seminars so that they can improve on the current bank of knowledge that they already have.

Spend Time Attending Networking Events

If given the chance to join these events, take it. This is the opportunity to extend your networks. This is highly important – but it is something many entrepreneurs neglect. You must build relationships with other people.

Networking is a great way to connect with people who can help you build your business. You can find employees, more customers, and even investors.

Focus on Corporate Social Responsibility

Your business must have something it is passionate about. This helps in improving the image of your business. People will patronize you because they know that the money they are spending goes to the right causes.

It is important that you ensure your business exists for more than just making money. Nowadays, people want to feel emotionally connected to the companies with whom they do business.

This is why it’s important to craft a unique brand perspective for your company. Is there are cause you wish to support? Is there something in the world you want to change? Let that be one of your company’s missions.

Don’t Hesitate to Get Loans

If you are starting out as an entrepreneur, you need money to help fund it. The same thing is true for those who have been around for some time and have decided to take things to another level. If you need small business loans to make your plans happen, get them.

Make sure you partner with the right banks or lending firms. You need to fill out the application forms and provide all the requirements. It is also important to ensure that your credit is in good standing so your application is easily approved.

There are other ways to get loans if you are denied. One of them is to look for another party to serve as your guarantor. This is how SBA loan program works. The SBA will guarantee the loan you take from a bank. If you default, the SBA will reduce the risk of the lender.

Of course, they won’t just do it without anything in return. You need to understand their requirements. You should also read the terms and conditions before getting started.

Find Out What Works

Ultimately, you will know which of the approaches you’ve used worked well. Take note of these tactics and use them again. Those strategies that failed must be eliminated to help your business move forward. The goal is to remain relevant. Refine the approach and focus more on those that bring satisfactory results.

In the end, you will see your business improve. You just have to be patient. You also need to work really hard and not let obstacles prevent you from doing better. Soon, you will see the positive results you have always hoped for.

9 Tips for Starting a Small Business

If the prospect of being your own boss sounds appealing and you’re ready to launch your own company (and have the funding lined up to do so), these tips can help you start a successful business:

Seize the moment. The world is filled with people who have great ideas for businesses, but only a tiny percentage of them are actually willing to take the initiative to pursue their ideas. If you really want to start a business, start today.

Be passionate about your idea. Your small business idea will be more likely to succeed if it’s something you’re passionate about—rather than something you think could make you the most money. Many small business owners find that if they love the product or service they provide, they’re more likely to work harder and achieve success.

Know the competition. How can you gain a competitive advantage if you don’t even know who the competition is? To achieve business success, you must familiarize yourself with your competitors so that you can stand out and break the mold.

Keep your current job. It’s natural to want to immediately quit your day job to start working on a new business venture full-time. While it’s hard work to keep your job while you begin to grow your business, having a regular income will let you continue to save money. This could be useful if start-up costs are larger than expected. Remember, even the best small businesses usually aren’t profitable right away.

Simplify your business plan. A business plan that’s too complex can be the death of a new small business. When first starting out, it’s usually best to focus on a simple idea and strategy. If you struggle to clearly explain your product or service in a single sentence, that’s a sign you may need to simplify things.

Perform market research. One of the biggest factors in growing your customer base is having an effective marketing strategy for your business model. The first step to achieving this is to do a sufficient amount of market research to discover your target customers. Once you know your potential customers, you can make informed decisions on how to spend the money in your budget. Market research helps you know how to advertise effectively.

Properly train new employees. Even the most driven new hires can’t instantly learn the ropes of a new business. It will often feel tedious to train your new employees well, but remember that the time you spend training them will pay off in the long run when they’re able to work independently without interrupting you to ask questions.

Establish your own business as a legal entity. Since you’ll be dealing with business finances, you’ll need to legally form a business. Depending on your business needs, you’ll most likely want to form one of the following types of business structures.

The first, a sole proprietorship, is the simplest form of business ownership; it makes no distinction between the business and the individual who runs it. The second, a limited liability company or LLC, is a popular incorporation choice because it legally separates your personal liability from the actions of the company.

Get feedback from peers. You’ll be naturally inclined to listen to the opinions of established business experts or your business partners, but don’t be afraid to ask for small business advice from friends and family, too. Successful entrepreneurs know that opinions shared by peers can be an indication of how potential customers might react to the business.

How Can I Grow a Successful Business?

1. Get Organized

To achieve business success you need to be organized. It will help you complete tasks and stay on top of things to be done. A good way to be organized is to create a to-do list each day. As you complete each item, check it off your list. This will ensure that you’re not forgetting anything and completing all the tasks that are essential to the survival of your business.

Many software-as-a-service (SaaS) tools exist to increase organization. Tools like Slack, Asana, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and other newer additions. That being said, a simple Excel spreadsheet will meet 95% of a business’s organization requirements.

2. Keep Detailed Records

All successful businesses keep detailed records. By doing so, you’ll know where the business stands financially and what potential challenges you could be facing. Just knowing this gives you time to create strategies to overcome those challenges. 

Most businesses are choosing to keep two sets of records: one physical and one in the cloud. By having records that are constantly uploaded and backed up, a business no longer has to worry about losing their data. The physical record exists as a backup but more often than not, it is used to ensure that the other information is correct.

3. Analyze 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 can implement in your business to make more money.

How you analyze competition will vary between sectors. If you’re a restaurant owner, you may simply be able to dine at your competition’s restaurants, ask other customers what they think, and gain information that way. However, you could be a company with much more limited access to your competitors, such as a chemicals company.

In that case, you would work with a business professional and accountant to go over not just what the business presents to the world, but any financial information you may be able to get on the company as well.

4. Understand the Risks and Rewards

The key to being successful is taking calculated risks to help your business grow. 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.

5. Be Creative

Always be looking for ways to improve your business and make it stand out from the competition. Recognize that you don’t know everything and be open to new ideas and different approaches to your business. 

There are many outlets that may lead to additional revenues. Take Amazon for example. The company started out as a bookseller and grew into an eCommerce giant. Not a lot of people expected that one of the major ways that Amazon makes its money is through its Web Services division. The division did so well that when Jeff Bezos stepped down as CEO, the head of Amazon Web Services was named the new CEO.

6. Stay Focused

The old saying “Rome wasn’t 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.

Many small business owners don’t even see a profit for a few years while they use their revenues to recoup investment costs. This is called being “in the red.” When you are profitable and make more than you need to spend to cover debts and payroll, this is called being “in the black.”

That being said, if the business is not turning a profit after a substantial period of time, it’s worth looking into if there are issues with the product or service, if the market still exists, and other possible issues that might slow or halt a business’s growth.

How Can I Elevate Your Small Business To The Next Level?

With the unemployment rate currently at 27.71%, people of all ages and backgrounds are looking for an opportunity to work.

Although many entrepreneurs have enjoyed great success on their small business journeys, choosing to start your own business comes with many risks. One of these risks is the financial burden it can bring.

While there are various challenges faced by small businesses, it is possible to overcome these and jumpstart your business with these useful tips from FedEx Express, the world’s largest express transportation company.

1. Connect with customers

As a small business owner, it is important to know who your customers are, where they spend their time, what they are looking for and how your business can meet their needs. Times have changed and waiting for customers to come to you is no longer a feasible business strategy.

In today’s evolving business environment, entrepreneurs need to be approaching their customers and building strong relationships with them to form a lasting impression. If your small business cannot grow its customer base, it cannot grow profits.

2. Network

Attending networking events will allow you to find professionals and other small business owners who offer services your business may require. Many small business owners get this critical aspect of starting a new business wrong by networking purely to gain customers, not realizing that networking with other business can assist you in acquiring the services you need to continue the growth of your business. Small businesses have a lot to gain through networking at the right time and at relevant events.

3. Use social media

There are a number of social media networks and social networking platforms that can drastically grow your business, however, it is important to understand your customers and identify the channels they prefer to communicate on.

By implementing a comprehensive social media strategy, you can ensure social media works as a driver of new business that positively promotes your service offerings.

4. Build customer loyalty

Building customer loyalty begins with great customer service. Great customer service starts with a positive customer experience and first impressions are vital in this regard. If a customer has an enjoyable experience when using your services, it is likely they will return and use your services on an ongoing basis.

By ensuring your business has a user friendly website and informative brand collateral, new business prospects will increase and those who have experienced quality customer service from your business are likely to refer you to friends and colleagues.

5. Ask for help

All small businesses face challenges, particularly in the early operational stage. This is why asking for help from your peers/mentor who may be more experienced than you is critical. Tapping into the mind of someone with more experience and a broader knowledge base will ensure you learn and acquire the skills needed to make a success of your business.

The FedEx Small Business portal offers business owners useful advice that will assist you on your small business journey. Visit www.smallbusiness.fedex.com for tips and success stories that will inspire and help you to grow your small business.

6. Hire the right people

Each person that forms part of your business needs to share the same vision with you that will drive growth. Your workforce will be responsible for the success of your business therefore, ensuring your staff remains motivated is important. When hiring a new employee, implement a check list that includes traits that you feel are imperative to the culture of your business.

7. Manage cash flow well

Many small businesses close due to cash flow problems. Managing money spent versus money earned is critical as it provides you with a clear indication of whether your business is running at a loss or whether you are excelling.

If your small business is losing money, you can implement a strategy to iron out the issues that are contributing to this and identify ways that will ensure your business generates profits.

8. Work to build success

Work to make a success out of your business with your employees by being involved in the everyday activities that are critical to your businesses success. Being involved will ensure employee morale remains high while allowing you to identify areas that need improvement.

9. Find inspiration

There will always be someone who has been in your current position, even if it is a different business to yours. Learning how they made a success of their business during hard times will provide you with the knowledge you need to succeed as a business owner. Starting your own business is a learning experience made easier by speaking to others who inspire you.

A business can safeguard its success if it continues to innovate. For example, e-commerce has changed the way the world conducts business, and the rise in technology has made it easier to interact with customers quickly and across borders.

With economies becoming more interconnected, companies large and small are now able to access markets that were previously unattainable. E-commerce will assist small businesses in establishing their territory in the market and as a result, guarantee growth and longevity,” concludes Higley.

What Are 7 Startup Tips For a New Business?

Starting a business for the first time and worried about failure? Give your new enterprise the best chance of success with these top business tips, the best advice I’ve collated from other entrepreneurs and developed from my own experience of more than 20 years of having “been there and done that” as a small business person.

1. Be Passionate

You don’t have to love whatever your business is about (and probably shouldn’t), but you do have to be fired up about it. You’re going to devote a lot of time and energy to starting a business and building it into a successful enterprise, so it’s really important that you truly deeply enjoy what you do, whether it be running fishing charters, creating pottery, or providing financial advice.

2. Start While You Are Still Employed

How long can most people live without money? Not long. And it may be a long time before your new business actually makes any profits. Being employed while you’re starting a business means money in your pocket while you’re going through the start-up process.

3. Don’t Do it Alone

You need a support system while you’re starting a business (and afterward). A family member or friend that you can bounce ideas off and who will listen sympathetically to the latest business start-up crisis is invaluable. Even better, find a mentor or, if you qualify, apply for a business start-up program such as the ones provided through Futurpreneur Canada. When you’re starting a business experienced guidance is the best support system of all.

4. Get Clients or Customers Lined Up

Don’t wait until you’ve officially started your business to line these up, because your business can’t survive without them. Do the networking. Make the contacts. Sell or even give away your products or services. You can’t start marketing too soon.

5. Write a Business Plan

The main reason for doing a business plan first when you’re thinking of starting a business is that it can help you avoid sinking your time and money into starting a business that will not succeed.

6. Do Your Research

You’ll do a lot of research writing a business plan, but that’s just a start. When you’re starting a business, you need to become an expert on your industry, products and services if you’re not already. Joining related industry or professional associations before you start your business is a great idea.

7. Get Professional Help

On the other hand, just because you’re starting a business, doesn’t mean you have to be an expert on everything. If you’re not an accountant or bookkeeper, hire one (or both). If you need to write up a contract, and you’re not a lawyer, hire one. You will waste more time and possibly money, in the long run, trying to do things yourself that you are not qualified to do.

What Are The 5 Important Tips in Starting a Business?

When you start your own business, you’re certain to hear a lot of different advice. Most of it will come from people who don’t know the first thing about running a successful company. Turn to the internet, and you’ll be overwhelmed by a multitude of articles and lengthy lists on the subject.

Don’t make the mistake of overthinking and overanalyzing it all. A few simple steps now can start your business down the path toward success. Here, we outline the five basic tips we’ve followed to help us run our company.

1. Begin with a detailed plan.

This one is a must: Develop an in-depth plan that fully details how you’ll attack the challenge ahead. Your plan should define any opportunities you’ve identified, clearly state your mission, describe your target, establish measurable goals, and set deadlines for each milestone along the way. Remember that while it’s important to have a plan, it’s equally vital to be flexible enough to pivot when needed.

2. Get out there and network.

Our business would not be where it is today without all the professional networking we did when we first started. We continue to emphasize networking today. Until you’ve established your business, you’ll need to create your own word-of-mouth. Be your own brand ambassador, touting the benefits of working with your business and showing why people should give you a chance.

Start your own momentum. A wealth of events, trade shows, and networking groups exist to connect you with other professionals. These initial connections can lead to future business prospects, mentors, and strategic partners with the capacity to help grow your business.

3. Surround yourself with the right people.

The right mentors and strategic partners aren’t the only people with whom you’ll need to align. Surrounding yourself with a great team is equally important. Build your staff with smart, talented, and driven employees who share your vision.

They can not only transform your business but also accelerate its growth. Hiring positive, can-do employees helps create a culture that encourages teamwork. Foster an environment in which everyone participates, so you can collectively celebrate your company’s successes.

4. Stay ahead of the curve.

You can’t afford to be rooted in the present and solely focused on the day-to-day. It’s crucial to keep one eye focused on the future, including upcoming movement in your industry. If you aren’t anticipating the next big thing, you’re destined to fall behind. Successful business owners study trends and anticipate what’s coming around the bend. This allows them to nimbly adapt and evolve.

Stay current on emerging issues in your field by faithfully reading trade magazines and websites. Keeping pace as your industry changes assures you’ll have your finger on the pulse to predict what customers will want — and which direction your competition might move.

5. Find a healthy work-life balance.

Running a successful business requires an inordinate amount of time and energy. It’s paramount to find a healthy work-life balance, even though it can be a challenge to do so. It’s easy to let work dominate your life. Don’t. It could result in your losing touch with those whom you consider most important. It’s also crucial to take care of your own health and well-being. 

Your business can’t run without you. You might believe you need that perpetual hustle to stay sharp and succeed. But that pace can and will burn you out, ultimately limiting how much you can achieve if you don’t take time for yourself.

Find ways to maintain perspective and preserve healthy relationships outside of work. Set aside time to get your body active in ways that energize and invigorate you, and schedule catch-up time with friends and family. They’ll help recharge your batteries and inspire you to persevere as you dream even bigger.

What Every Business Needs to be Successful?

Growth is on the agenda for 80% of UK SMEs, according to a recent survey. This is fantastic news given that SMEs are the bread and butter of the UK economy. You might even be surprised to discover that 60% of all private sector employment in the UK comes from SMEs.
However, whilst this is certainly great news for many business owners, it also hugely daunting because it means the business landscape is more crowded and competitive than ever. It has become more difficult to stand out from the crowd, which is why entrepreneurs need to stay on top of their game.
The team at Nucleus Commercial Finance want to make sure all SMEs meet their growth targets, which is why we have put together a quick guide on how small businesses can achieve success. We have identified seven key factors that every entrepreneur should consider when approaching business:

1. Always Plan Ahead

Without planning ahead, you are already setting yourself up to fail. No successful business will thrive long term without that all-important strategy and vision. It might change or need a degree of flexibility in a small business but it should be put down on paper and thought through in detail.
It is not enough to have a vague plan either. Ensure that you have a written business plan that provides direction for your SME. In order to write the perfect business plan, you will need to know everything from how you are going to market your business, to how much money you will need over the next 5 years to achieve your goals.
Planning ahead means that you will be able to achieve numerous things. Firstly, you will be able to clearly establish goals. Make sure that they are ambitious but realistic – do you want to grow your business? If, so how much?

High-growth, venture capital backed businesses are very fashionable at the moment but ask yourself if that’s the route you want to take, rather than self-funded stable growth which is sometimes more manageable and for some the potential success, balanced with the stress and risk of high-speed growth is not their motivation.
Secondly, you will be able to utilize all the resources you currently have readily available. By planning, management can get a feel for what needs to be done and will look for ways in which to fulfil these demands. Knowing what you are working with is important, especially as an SME with relatively limited resources.

2. Get Access to Necessary Finances 

It will certainly come as no surprise that successful businesses have access to the right finances when it is needed. Your business is unlikely to achieve growth without having working capital in place to meet the necessary requirements.  

Perhaps you need to move to a bigger office as your business and team have outgrown your initial location. Or maybe you want to purchase better equipment or a more extensive inventory. Whatever the case, having finances in place is the only way you will manage to push your business in the right direction for growth.
Learning to ignore the taboo involved with borrowing money may end up being the best decision you ever make for your business. Taking out a loan may enable your business to meet the impending growth demands and choosing not to access money externally could end up costing you and your business in the long run.
There are numerous options available and alternative finance providers have been helping SMEs for years thanks to the products they offer being catered towards smaller organisations. It is definitely worth looking at the many finance products available, such as cash flow finance, business cash advance and business overdraft facilities.
Secured business loans can massively help a thriving business that has ambitious plans to expand and having finances at your disposal will mean that you are giving your business the best chance of succeeding.

3. Embrace Technology

With the arrival of GDPR, companies now have an opportunity to embrace technology properly. Take for example Microsoft’s latest release – Compliance Manager Preview. It allows businesses to check whether they are fully compliant with the new regulations. A dashboard demonstrates ways in which your business can improve its data protection and compliance posture.
But remember, it works two ways and so using technology to improve the experience of your customers should also be one of your biggest priorities.
The first thing your business should do is invest in mobile technology. Millions of people use their smartphones to access the internet more frequently than a desktop, so not addressing the needs of this demographic will mean that your business loses out big time. In fact, 52% of customers have stated that they are less likely to engage with a brand if their mobile experience did not meet standard expectations.
There are tools out there to help your business with everything. Hootsuite will help your business have a bigger and better presence on social media; Slack will dramatically improve your teams communication efforts; Dropbox enables you to access files form any device, from any location around the world.
Failing to engage with technology will hold your business back, meaning your competitors enter a league of their own whilst you trail behind.   
4. Take Risks, But Calculated Ones
It takes a certain type of person to fit the role of entrepreneur confidently. Whilst there are numerous common characteristics found in business owners, one of the biggest identifiers is the ability to stand strong when faced with risk and huge decisions.
When it comes to business, risk taking is always going to be involved at some level and unfortunately, it is the nature of the beast. 
Learning how to make calculated risks, as opposed to gambling and relying on luck, is an important skill to add to your repertoire.  There will always be some element of risk involved, but it is the ability to reduce risk by putting steps in place that allows some entrepreneurs to stand out from the rest.

5. Ramp Up Your Marketing Efforts
Creating awareness around the services or products you offer is one of the constant challenges you will be contending with. Today’s business landscape is more competitive than ever before, which is why marketing should be at the forefront of your business strategy.
Your business needs to do everything in its power to gain brand awareness and customer loyalty. There are digital tools in abundance that can help you with this, so all you really need to do is decide which ones work best with your business plan.
Try to become more buyer-centric. You need to be attuned to the needs and desires of your customers if you are to retain them. Learn what motivates them to buy, find out which types of content they prefer, discover where they hang out online and ace the customer journey. 

6. Network and Build Rapport
There is a big difference between socialising generally and building rapport. Many entrepreneurs credit rapport as the foundation of success. By connecting with other like-minded individuals, you will build stronger business relationships and as a result, will land bigger and better opportunities.
To build rapport, there are a few simple things to bear in mind. You do not have to be a social butterfly to succeed with this point, as being attentive will already give you a head start.
Focus on mastering basic communication to start with. Relax, smile and look approachable. Make it a priority to remember people’s names and listen carefully whenever you are conversing with business-minded individuals. If you can find common ground, you are already half way there.

7. Offer More Than Your Competitors
Successful entrepreneurs consult with their management team to work out the strengths and weaknesses of the business, as well as those of competitors. Smart management get a realistic view of what the business is doing well and pick holes in the strategies of their competitors.
In order to do this, you will need to identify areas where competitors are vulnerable and leaving a lot to be desired. What makes fantastic businesses stand out is the ability to act on this and take advantage of those weaknesses.
It is fairly straightforward – identify the weaknesses of your competitors, work out how you can turn it into the perfect opportunity for your business and then craft marketing strategies around these weaknesses to cement your position as the better option.

How Can I be Successful in Business Without Really Trying?

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying is a 1967 American musical comedy film based on the 1961 stage musical of the same name, which in turn was based on Shepherd Mead’s 1952 book. The film was produced by United Artists and directed by David Swift, with original staging by Bob Fosse.

The cast includes Robert Morse, Rudy Vallee and Michelle Lee (reprising their Broadway roles), Anthony Teague, and Maureen Arthur. The film marks the movie debut of Lee. Robert Osborne, who was an actor at this time, was given a small uncredited role as an office employee.

What Makes a Startup Successful?

The current business scenario has made it extremely easy for anyone to start a business. However, sustaining and converting it into a profitable venture takes a lot more than just a favorable environment.

Here are a few crucial defining factors that foretell the imminent success of any startup.

A Strong Team

Forming the right core team is absolutely crucial to any successful startup simply because even if you have exceptional entrepreneurship qualities, it’s rare to accomplish great success alone. Having a strong core team is important to ensure the best execution of the company’s vision. It is the team that breaks down the company’s vision into short-term goals and fulfills them to pave the road to success.

The quality of the core team i.e. their attitude, aptitude, knowledge, competence and skills, directly influence the speed at which a startup achieves its growth milestones. A good team brings synergy to the combined effort of the people and maintains motivation for better results across all levels of the business.

Business Model

A strong business model is imperative to gain the attention of investors and stand out in the crowd. The business models of top performing startups clearly reflect their vision and signify the value their business will generate for customers while ensuring profit making.

For a startup, a business model focuses on designing a process for the organization to consistently deliver value promises and make way for its growth.

Ideally, a business model is always in complete alignment with the current market trends and play a definitive role in creating growth platforms that align with the company’s vision. With a good business plan, an entrepreneur maps the company’s future course of action, along with sources required to achieve the goals.

Capital Analyzation

Along with the early stages of funding, working capital plays an equally important role in a startup success. Even if finding initial fund capital difficult, opening a line of credit is always a possibility. Any startup without sufficient capital will flounder under the weight of its own debt, and obtaining adequate funding will need a strong business plan.

The solvency of the founders, the amount of seed money required, cash flow expected, and expansion plans need to be carefully analyzed to ensure the smooth flow of business operations.

Alacrity for Watershed Response

Irrespective of how careful you are, there’s always a chance that you may run into problems. For example, a social media post may go horribly wrong or a marketing effort might go haywire. Such problems can be small hiccups for big organizations, but for a startup, they can be game changers. How you respond to a crisis as a team is crucial to the future of the company.

The way a crisis situation is addressed is crucial in deciding the future course of action. Even one poorly treated problem can put your company under fire. Therefore, startups have to be ready with an effective response plan for any unforeseen circumstance.


In the modern-age, the approach of building a product and then testing it is outdated. Many startup founders who come from a non-marketing background often believe that marketing is all about advertising and spending huge amounts of money in product promotion.

The truth is that marketing for a startup starts from the root level, where it is used to test the idea and gather initial information to determine whether or not the product idea is a success with the customers.

Marketing is the essence of every business venture, big or small, because it allows customers to truly engage with the product. With the advent of digital media, marketing has become extremely cost-effective and, therefore, is an indispensable factor in a startup’s success.


Any business plan is as valuable as its ability to be executed. Even a well-researched plan, if not properly executed, can compromise the existence of the business. When a business plan is executed well with the help of a strong team, it offers a steady platform of the growth for the startup.

Execution is the final test of an idea and all the hard work that has gone behind growing it from the seed level. Only when a plan is successfully implemented can the startup dream of becoming a successful venture. It requires constant hard work, staying updated with market trends, progressive product testing, and strong financial support to execute the plan correctly.

What Are The Three 3 Significant Things we Need to Consider in Starting a Business?

They are adaptability, persistence and work ethic. We stick by these. You’ll need all three. However, to start a new business, you’ll also need to deal with three very practical issues.

1. Possess the requisite skills to do the primary work of the business.

(Or if you possess only some of the required skills, you can partner with someone who has a complementary skill set.) 

It may sound like remedial counsel to say that before starting a business, the owner should ensure that he or she could do the primary work of the business. Yet, we’ve known many people who have charged headlong into an entrepreneurial venture without having thought this issue through clearly.

One most often overlooked and necessary skill is the ability to sell. For most startups to survive, the owner will have to sell. It is unusual for a startup business to succeed if the owner(s) lacks the ability to do the primary work of the business.

2. Have a plan for performing the ancillary functions.

If you love baking cakes, don’t open a bakery. Get a job as a baker.

If you are going to start a company, you had better want to run a business. That means you’ll have more to do than just the primary work of the enterprise. If you are running a bakery, you’ll do a lot more than just bake.

You’ll have to wait on customers, order supplies, set up a bookkeeping system and administer it. You will perform administrative functions such as accounts receivable, accounts payable and payroll. You’ll probably need some sort of IT infrastructure. The list goes on.

These functions are ancillary to the core business. However, they are not unimportant — quite the opposite. Getting these ancillary functions right is critical to the survival of the business. Yes, some of the ancillary functions can be outsourced, but you’ll need a plan to do each of them.

3. Realize that growth means you will have to let go.

Perhaps you are contemplating going into business because you are passionate about doing the primary work of the business. Good, you’ll need that passion. Still, you must remember, if your business is successful, it will grow.

The time will come when you’ll face a choice. You’ll have to delegate doing the primary work of the business to others, stop growing or hire someone to run the company while you continue doing the primary work of the business. Before you launch your new venture, know which path you’ll take. Be prepared to deal with success.

Starting a new business is an exciting journey. As with any journey, prior planning can help you avoid disaster. Make sure you have thought through the three critical issues above.

What is The Most Successful Business of All Time?

The list of the world’s most profitable companies offers a glimpse of which countries wield the most economic power and the sectors with the most economic influence.

The world’s largest two economies by far, the U.S. and China, are headquarters for every one of the 10 most profitable companies: half are U.S. and half are Chinese. Equally important, half of the corporations on the list are technology companies and the other half are financial companies.

Only companies listed on U.S. or Canadian exchanges, either directly or through ADRs, are included in this list. Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia’s state oil company, for example, went public on the Saudi Stock Exchange in December 2019. It would have been among the world’s 10 most profitable companies, and would have even topped the list in previous years.

Notably, four of the five tech firms on the list are U.S. and two of them hold the top two slots. The technology sector is comprised of companies that manufacture computers and electronics, develop software, and provide services relating to information technology, such as cloud computing and e-commerce.

1. Apple Inc. (AAPL)

  • Net Income (TTM): $58.4 billion
  • Revenue (TTM): $273.9 billion
  • Market Cap: $2.1 trillion
  • 1-Year Trailing Total Return: 133.6%
  • Exchange: NASDAQ

Apple designs and manufactures mobile communication and media devices, personal computers, and portable digital music players. The company also sells a range of related software, services, accessories, networking solutions, music and video streaming, as well as third-party digital content and applications. Apple is best known for its series of iPhones, iPads, and Mac personal computers.

2. Microsoft Corp. (MSFT)

  • Net Income (TTM): $44.3 billion
  • Revenue (TTM): $143.0 billion
  • Market Cap: $1.6 trillion
  • 1-Year Trailing Total Return: 57.4%
  • Exchange: NASDAQ

Microsoft develops, licenses, and supports a range of software products, services, and devices. The company’s products include operating systems, server applications, business applications, software development tools, video games, and more.

The company also manufactures personal computers, tablets, gaming and entertainment consoles, phones, other intelligent devices, and related accessories. Microsoft also offers cloud-based solutions, its fastest-growing business, through its Azure cloud-computing platform.

3. Industrial And Commercial Bank Of China Ltd. (IDCBY)

  • Net Income (TTM): $41.7 billion
  • Revenue (TTM): $122.2 billion
  • Market Cap: $195.0 billion
  • 1-Year Trailing Total Return: -10.1%
  • Exchange: OTC

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China provides commercial banking and financial services. Those services include corporate and personal loans, trade financing, deposit-taking, corporate and personal wealth management, and custodial services.

The company also engages in investment activities for its own account or on behalf of customers, including money market transactions, investment securities, foreign exchange transactions, and the holding of derivative positions.

4. China Construction Bank Corp. (CICHY)

  • Net Income (TTM): $35.6 billion
  • Revenue (TTM): $104.3 billion
  • Market Cap: $173.8 billion
  • 1-Year Trailing Total Return: -1.7%
  • Exchange: OTC

China Construction Bank provides a wide range of financial services to corporate and individual customers, including corporate and personal loans, deposit-taking, wealth management, trade financing, financial consulting and advisory services, and remittance services.

The bank also engages in investment activities such as inter-bank money market transactions, investments in debt securities, equities, as well as trading of derivatives and foreign currency.

5. Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL)

  • Net Income (TTM): $31.5 billion
  • Revenue (TTM): $166.0 billion
  • Market Cap: $1.1 trillion
  • 1-Year Trailing Total Return: 33.7%
  • Exchange: NASDAQ

Alphabet is a holding company and the parent of Google Inc., its primary business. Google offers a range of Internet products, including Search, Ads, Commerce, Maps, YouTube, Google Cloud, Android, Chrome, and Google Play.

It engages in advertising, sale of digital content, applications, cloud computing services, and sale of hardware products. Alphabet also offers smart-home products through Nest, online video gaming through Stadia, and is developing autonomous-driving technology through its Waymo project.

What Are Some Unique Business Ideas?

There are some wacky businesses out there—and, believe it or not, many of them are profitable. Some of these unique business ideas make you shake your head in disbelief, while others make you mutter, “Hey! Why didn’t I think of that?”

The business ideas in this collection range from dealing with head lice to doing strange things with roadkill, but they all have one thing in common: They’re all real businesses that make money. Some of them can do well even in a down economy.

Because, while they might appear to be wacky business ideas to you and me, they’ve all successfully connected with an underserved group of customers—aka a niche market. Let these unique ideas inspire you to find a niche market of your own.

Broken Dolls Need TLC

If you have a beloved doll that’s seen better days, maybe a trip to a “doll hospital” is in order. At such an establishment, an expert will make the necessary repairs and restore your doll to good condition, whether it needs new parts sculpted and replaced or a costume refurbished.

As a matter of fact, doll hospitals have been around for ages. One of the oldest doll hospitals was established in Lisbon, Portugal, in 1830. The Berkley Doll Hospital in Berkley, Michigan is an example of one such business that’s currently operating.

 If you love dolls and are skilled enough to fix them, doll repair may be a great business idea for you.

Head Lice Removal

Head lice are out there—and there’s a good chance some of them may end up on your child’s head. Fortunately, there are businesses that provide head lice and nit removal services.

The most famous, perhaps, is The Texas Lice Squad (now The Lice Place), which has several franchises in Texas, Tennessee, and Alabama. But, if you Google the topic, you’ll find that there are quite a few others, including Lice Squad, which offers franchises throughout Canada.


Urban chickens are becoming more and more popular—after all, who wouldn’t want a pet that can also make you breakfast? Unfortunately, there are drawbacks to raising chickens, from feeding, to dealing with noise, to chicken manure.

For those who are not ready to go whole-hog and purchase their own chickens, businesses such as Belbeck’s Family Farm offer chicken rentals. It supplies complete packages that include egg-laying hens, coops, feed, supplies, and customer support. 

The farm also has a program where homeowners and their families can raise hatchlings from egg to chick for educational purposes. Some chicken rental companies also have a rent-to-own option so that renters have the choice of adopting their hens at the end of a specified period. 

Trees of Steel

You really have to see NatureMaker’s artificial tree sculptures to appreciate them. NatureMaker handcrafts steel art trees for hotels, casinos, retailers, museums, libraries, zoos, commercial buildings, theme parks, and luxury homes, and they are truly works of art. Work is completely customized and pricing starts at $10,000.

Mannequins for Sale or Rent

Ever give a thought to where all those mannequins filling up retail store windows come from?

Yep, you’re right. Someone made them. Probably in a mannequin factory.

So that’s one mannequin-themed business idea. But there’s also a growing nation of used mannequins.

Mannequin Madness, based in California, won an award from the Environmental Protection Agency for recycling mannequins. The company sells and rents mannequins previously used by companies such as Macy’s, Sears, and Nike. It also sells new mannequins and mannequin-themed products like mannequin leg lamps. Now that’s wacky!

What do Small Business Owners Need Most?

Most of the challenges in starting a business relate back to doing the little things right. Like any good coach has said at some point: The fundamentals get you to the top.

If you are thinking of starting a small business, make sure you follow these ten important rules for small businesses:

1. You need to manage your cash.

The number one reason small businesses go bankrupt is lack of cash, not lack of profits. You need to do good cash planning, and really understand the levers in your business that can affect your cash.

Do you buy inventory?

How much should you have on hand?

Do you collect payments from clients?

How long does it take them to pay you?

Do you have loans you need to pay back?

Do you depend on supplies that vary in price due to market conditions (fuel for instance)?

There are a series of “levers” in your business that will affect your cash position. You NEED to understand those levers.

2. You need to develop a data-based culture.

The more you can track data and use data to make business decisions, the better your decisions will be. Business always requires some “gut feel” decisions but better to inform your gut as much as possible with all the information you can get.

Tracking key performance indicators (KPI’s) for your business, and understanding why they go up or down, can help you make decisions that will grow you business and keep you on track.

3. You need to engage in Lean Planning.

It’s important to develop a strategic and financial plan and track it on a regular basis, as opposed to a doing a long written document that you use once and stick in a drawer.

Planning is an ongoing tool that should be used to understand assumptions you have about your business, and whether those assumptions are correct, or whether you might have to make adjustments and change your assumptions.

60 percent of the small businesses that fail in America fail due to lack of cash, not lack of profits—using Lean Planning you can quickly understand if you have missed assumptions about your financials that will ultimately have an adverse effect on your cash. Maybe you thought you were going to get paid promptly every 30 days.

By engaging in ongoing planning and then tracking the actual results of your business compared to your plans you can quickly figure out if in reality you are getting paid every 45 days (instead of every 30 days), and if so, you can quickly and appropriately increase your credit line, and keep you business cash healthy—before you get into trouble.

LivePlan’s Dashboard is an easy-to-use planning and financial tracking tool that we use to do Lean Planning and it integrates with a business’s QuickBooks account to make the tracking piece easy and automated.

4. You need to understand your margins on all your products and services.

There was a small business commercial banker who was trying to help a client get their business ready to sell. It was a business doing $20 million in revenue per year that had been around for 20 years. The owners were shocked and dismayed to realize how little the business was actually worth—because their profit margins were so dismally small.

In a $20 million business they were only making about $110,000 in profits. It turns out when they dug into the business they had multiple product lines that were dragging down the profits due to terrible margins. Had they gotten rid of those product lines, they would have only made about $13 million in revenue, but over $1 million in actual profits.

5. You need to have a strategy for recruiting and retaining talent.

We are always looking for quality talent in our business, so we make it a point to regularly track talent in our region and develop great programs and benefits for retaining talent.

Take time to think about company culture, and what you want the culture to be, and make sure you bring culture into the hiring decisions. Linkedin is a tool we use regularly for tracking and recruiting talent.

6. You need to listen online every day.

Your business is “always on”, even if you only operate between 9 am and 5 pm, Monday through Friday. Every business should set up alerts online to gauge what your market is saying about you, your competitors and your market in general.

Google Alerts is a great tool for “listening” online (and it’s free). Be the first to know when a customer gives you a bad review, or someone raves about your business online. Use these tools to stay ahead of the chatter and use it to your benefit.

7. You need to engage in marketing that gives you ROI.

Small businesses often tell us that they don’t understand marketing. Where should they spend money? Does it work? Should they advertise on the radio, or online? Should they listen to the Groupon or Comcast sales person trying to sell them on giving coupons to the masses or buying local TV ads? What works? What doesn’t?

Small business owners need to start in places that can be free and easy. Start by networking with local businesses and local business owners. Find out what they do that works. Use your website and Google Analytics (a free tool) to find out how people find your web site, and where they come from.

Talk to customers and ask them how they heard about you. And when you do advertise, figure out how to track the advertisement. Do a special deal and track that. Offer only a certain service or product. Learn what works, and what doesn’t, and repeat your successful marketing promotions. Don’t spend money if you aren’t going to be able to measure the results.

8. You need to talk to your customers.

Every business should talk to its customers as often as possible. If you run a retail store, talk to them at least a few times a week (if not every day). Find out what they like—and what they don’t like.

If you run an online business, ask a few survey questions after check out, or send a quick survey to your customers. Call them. People like to talk, and people like to be asked their opinion. The negative criticism may be hard to hear, but it’s well worth hearing and understanding how you can change things to make your business better for your customers.

9. You need to know your competitors.

You need to know and understand both your direct and indirect competitors. You always need to keep an eye on your competitors, understand what they are doing, how they market, what their pricing is, etc.

You may be unique in your town, or in your industry and not have direct competitors—but that doesn’t mean you don’t have indirect competitors. A local do-it-yourself tie-dye shop in my town has no direct competitors.

But they offer activity-based events, and compete with all the other establishments that do birthday parties and events for groups. They also compete with the Saturday Fairs and Markets that have other tie-dye vendors. They need to know how to position themselves against all the indirect competitors—even though they don’t have direct competitors.

10. You need to have a higher purpose: a mission.

People like to work for businesses that are more than just a machine for making money. That doesn’t mean that you can’t have sales goals, and profit goals; it just means that your employees will work harder and be more loyal if they feel like they are contributing to a greater mission.

Customers also like to buy from businesses they feel have ethics and passion. Patagonia has been famous for doing this well. They have good quality clothes that are pretty expensive. People LOVE Patagonia—both as a place to work and as a place to shop from. One of the things that makes people loyal is all the money that Patagonia gives back to help save environments and ecosystems all over the world.

People are willing to pay more for clothes made from fair-trade cotton. Patagonia wins big from the ethics it uses to manage the business. Palo Alto Software is a small business, and we help other small businesses be successful. We sell our products and definitely have sales goals and profit goals, but we are also passionate about helping entrepreneurs.

What Are The Main Challenges to Small Business?

Whether you’re thinking of starting a small business, or in the first few years of operation, here are common problems we’ve all faced at some point in time.

1. Health Care

Bar-none, one of the most challenging aspects of running a small business comes from managing health care for your employees. Without a doubt, your workers’ health is important, but the increased healthcare costs make finances difficult to manage. While “Obamacare” is undoubtedly beneficial for the health of workers, it’s often the business owners that receive the financial blow.

2. Government Regulations

Each year it seems like the government’s collar around owners’ necks becomes tighter. One of those regulations deals with the environment. The Clean Air Act of 1990 forces you to remove air pollutants, and your vehicles’ contribution to smog, gas and other chemicals that crush the ozone layer. While this act isn’t a bad thing, it is a challenge for business owners who don’t have the proper vehicles or environmental-protection know-how.

Another set of regulations that may damper your business is advertising regulations. In this instance, the challenge occurs when the copywriter enjoys artistic license too much… and puts fraudulent claims in the copy. The Federal Trade Commission applies these regulations to both online and print advertising. (In advertising, honesty truly is the best policy.

Not only to save your own hide but to provide the service your customers expect; when they see that your business is “the real deal” your ads claimed, you’ll dramatically increase the number of lifetime customers who buy again and again.)

3. Federal Income Taxes

Does it feel like each year federal income tax rates skyrocket? It’s unbelievable. Under current U.S. law, the corporate tax rate is currently 15% on the first $50,000 of taxable income. Expect 25% tax rate on the next $25,000, and a whopping 35% tax on income over $10 million. Knowing your state’s tax rate is crucial for minimizing the costly damage of paying them.

4. The Economy

Not even Wall Street stockbrokers—or so-called “masters of the universe”—do not truly know how the economy is going to pan out. Fortunately, a SBA 504 loan can help you if you plan on purchasing commercial property or major equipment.

The SBA 504 loan protects you against the economy’s rising rates, since the loan keeps down your overall finance costs, letting you get the most from tax rates. The uncertainty of the economy’s condition cannot be overstated, and must be treated with the utmost respect; doing so keeps you from taking unnecessary risks.

5. Tax Compliance

When your small business is home-based, home office deductions are vital for keeping profits high. However, regulations concerning record keeping are time-costly and, if you don’t have a penchant for bookkeeping (guilty), frustrating.

If your business makes less than $5 million, you’re allowed to use cash accounting. This is in stark contrast to the more traditional (and complicated) accrual method. The National Federation of Independent Business states that when you invest in your business, Section 179 allows you to instantly deduct the cost of that investment. Therefore, that investment-cost can be re-invested further into your company.

What Small Businesses Are in Demand?

Thinking about starting a business? With technology on your side and new, creative ways to improve your business popping up everywhere, and small business banking solutions from Seacoast, there’s never been a better time to be an entrepreneur.

And the one thing you need to kick off your business venture? A great idea. If you’re ready to take on entrepreneurship but don’t know where to start, here are 5 business ideas to consider.

1. Social Media Consulting

Sure, there are plenty of businesses offering social media consulting services, but you can stand out from the crowd by focusing primarily on networks that are still gathering steam with businesses. Facebook and Twitter are still the top networks, but businesses tend to struggle the most with platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Snapchat and Periscope.

All of these platforms have huge audiences, but many businesses don’t realize how big they really are, how effective they can be and how to make them work for their niche. Periscope, Twitter’s live-streaming app, has more than 10 million active accounts, for example, and Snapchat has more than 100 million users, according to The Verge. Tumblr and Instagram have more than 400 million users, and Pinterest has over 100 million.

If you’ve got a background in social media and a deep understanding of these particular platforms, try starting a social consulting business that focuses less on the basics and more on helping businesses take advantage of the millions of users they’re not reaching by sticking solely with Facebook and Twitter. 

2. Senior Care Services

Many businesses these days are focusing on marketing to millennials, but it might be worth it to start a business that caters to seniors instead. People are living longer than ever, and that opens up a whole new audience of customers.

According to the National Institute on Aging, between 2010 and 2050, the 85-and-over population is projected to increase 351 percent globally — 188 percent for the 65-and-over population — and the global number of centenarians (those over age 100) is projected to increase 10-fold. That’s a lot of people who could use specialty services that cater to their needs.

And there are plenty of ways to help seniors and grow a successful business. Everything from salon services to errand services can be a success, as long as you can bring your skills to their homes or assist older people who can no longer walk or drive in some way.

Also, consider a business to help seniors transition from their homes to assisted living facilities, from packing and transporting to setting up or storing their furniture and possessions.

3. Smart Product Development

Thanks to the emergence of the Internet of Things, smart products are the next big thing and the possibilities are endless. Researchers at Disney Research recently developed a new sensing technique that has the potential to enhance everyday objects via a single sensing electrode.

Examples of its potential include a doorknob that knows whether to lock or unlock based on how it is grasped, a smartphone that silences itself if the user holds a finger to her lips and a chair that adjusts room lighting based on whether a user is reclining or leaning forward.

“In our laboratory experiments, we were able to enhance a broad variety of objects with high-fidelity touch sensitivity,” said Ivan Poupyrev, senior research scientist at Disney Research. “It could immediately be used to create new and exciting ways for people to interact with objects and the world at large.”

Read Also: Ways You Can Make Money Online With Google

Smart technology can be applied to clothes as well, including for medical purposes. A team of engineers at the University of Arkansas recently unveiled a series of nanostructured textile sensors integrated into a conventional sports bra for female patients and a vest for male patients that gather critical information about the wearer and communicate in real time to a physician, hospital or the patient.

4. Organic Beauty Products

Consumers of all age groups have been hopping on the “all-natural and organic” bandwagon when it comes to their food and lifestyle products, but according to a trend report by JWTIntelligence, the over-50 crowd is especially interested in natural beauty products made with ingredients like charcoal and kale. Launching your own line of homemade face soaps, scrubs or cosmetics could be a smart way to capture this demographic. 

5. Healthy Fast Food

If you’ve ever dreamed of opening a restaurant or a food truck, this just might be the time to do it. JWTIntelligence’s report noted that millennials are more health-conscious than ever, and “guilt-free” takeout food will become an increasingly popular culinary trend. Consumers are looking for competitive pricing on local, seasonal dishes that they can take on-the-go with them.

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