Best 7 small-business tips
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INSIDER SECRET: Most small-business credit cards don’t appear on your personal credit report; they won’t add to your Chase 5/24 count.
Whether you own a landscaping company, do freelance writing or are working to develop the next viral app, small business is complex.
One simple step any small-business owner can take is to open a business credit card. It’s a great way to keep your business expenses separate from personal expenses – and earn more travel rewards while you’re at it.
Let’s take a look at some other tips that can help you as you start and grow your new business.
Together, my wife and I have six jobs: freelancer, consultant, re-seller, coaster maker, inside sales representative and telecommunications engineer. In fact, lots of the folks on the Million Mile Secrets team have qualifying small businesses. So we’ve gathered our best small-business tips to help you succeed.
1. Keep your day job
Small businesses can be expensive early on. You’ll likely have to front some cash in order to get your idea off the ground, so keep your day job to support your small business.
It’s important that you can support yourself and whoever relies on you. Small businesses take time to mature and make a profit. When your business is providing what you need, you can start thinking of moving on from your day gig.
2. Find a problem and solve it
Finding an idea for a successful small business can be difficult. It’s hard to break through as a newcomer in a crowded marketplace.
If you find a problem that needs a solution, you’ll have less competition. For example, a new general landscaping business may have stiff competition but starting a business for identifying and removing poisonous or noxious plants could be a great idea.
3. Consider other opinions
Feedback is everything for a small business. Whether positive or negative, you can use feedback to help your small business grow.
Make sure your customers have a way to provide feedback to you personally and to the public. You can set up an email just for feedback. And set up business profiles on various online platforms so folks can leave reviews on Google Maps and other social media outlets.
You can learn a lot from the opinions of your customers.
4. Take care of these important priorities
You can get in a lot of trouble financially if you don’t create a financial plan. It doesn’t need to be fancy but it should outline some simple things like how much production costs, how much you expect to make and how these two calculations might change over time.
Also it’s important to understand the local and state laws when starting a small business. Most folks can use their own Social Security number for their business under a sole proprietorship, but owning a business can have tax consequences and consulting a professional small-business adviser is extremely important.
It’s likely you’ll spend more upfront and earn more later. Small-business credit cards like the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card offer great ways to manage spending. Just make sure you don’t carry a balance every month because any interest you accrue will negate any rewards you earn.
5. Maintain a low overhead
Small business cards can be a great way to track your overhead costs. These costs eat at your profits so keeping them low is key.
My wife recently started painting coasters and reselling them as a side hustle. She keeps her overhead low by shopping for bargain paints and coasters.
Some businesses reduce internet and phone costs by switching plans. Others purchase things that are a little more expensive but reliable because buying the cheaper option might mean replacing it more often.
6. Show your gratitude
When your parents told you, “It’s all about who you know,” they weren’t wrong. Sure, it helps to have a product or service that fills a gap in the market, but it’s super-important to keep your business (and personal) relationships healthy.
Try to find ways to share your gratitude with folks who have helped you and your business succeed. Whether it’s a client, a friend or the mail person, everyone appreciates being appreciated.
7. Don’t lose yourself
Having a small business is a huge commitment. From finding a successful idea to following a financial plan to keeping your day job, it can be easy to get overwhelmed.
Try not to lose parts of yourself. You need to eat, sleep and breathe. Keep some time in your schedule to decompress and relax.
Showing your gratitude, creating a financial plan and keeping your day job can help your small business succeed. And using business credits cards can help keep your financial plan on course.
If you have any tips you’d like to share, let us know in the comments below.
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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)