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“How to succeed as a small business”; it’s a weighty topic for any businessperson. Small business owners are consistently discouraged from getting their hopes up. Everyone has heard stories about what a struggle it is to maintain a small, local business. However, it is small businesses that help keep the nation employed, as they tend to add more jobs than large businesses. They are invaluable to their local economies. But employees and the economy at large say nothing of what it takes. The owner needs to know how to succeed as a small business.

Small businesses are many, but the turnover is high. Only one-third of all small businesses will last a decade. Here are some ideas of what to do – and what not to do – as a small business owner.

How to Succeed as a Small Business: The Dos

Weigh risk and reward.

Starting out, small business owners tend to have an unbalanced view of good and bad in business. They either fear the risks too much or expect the rewards too often. It is helpful to see the two as necessary and constant. People take a risk (investing) to see a reward (profit). Once there is an attitude of acceptance, it becomes easier to tell when the risk is worth the desired outcome.

Strive to be number one in customer service.

There are a lot of strategies for edging out the competition, but excelling at customer service is still among the very best. Great customer service equals great customer experience. Customers can get a specific product or service in many places. Yet they will choose the place that has made them feel important and appreciated.

Make a plan but deviate from it.

Planning, record-keeping, and strict organization are all conducive to small business success. However, one still needs to be prepared to let the plans fall to the wayside when the situation calls for it. If spontaneity is not the business strategy of choice, consider it a strategic adjustment instead. Successful business owners get their best training through the work itself, not the plan.

Engage online.

The best marketing investment is not money; it is time. Even the smallest local business would benefit from an active online presence. With people everywhere searching online for local information, it is more crucial than ever that businesses step up and share. Update social media pages and use Google My Business to verify and ensure the information people would most likely search for (hours, location, offerings) will show up.


It is old, sage advice, but it still really matters. Plenty of small businesses consist of small teams of ten people or less, and every person counts. If there’s no time to answer questions on social media, outsource.

If an owner does not know how to design a great website, hire someone to do it. If a business wants to start a blog but does not have the time or know-how, reach out to a writing agency. Opting to delegate to someone with availability and expertise solves the biggest problem of all: taking on as much as possible alone, making mistakes, and getting burnt out.

How to Succeed as a Small Business: The Don’ts

Don’t neglect local SEO.

Those who want to know how to succeed as a small business don’t often realize that staying local still requires SEO. Include locations, adjacent municipalities, and regions in keywords. Check to make sure the business is represented on Google Maps. Even if goods and services are restricted to a localized area, people in that area will be searching for businesses closest to them. Additionally, almost half of today’s mobile search queries are made via voice. This too changes what keywords are used.

Don’t rush to open.

Starting a business is incredibly exciting. The biggest mistake newbies make is opening as soon as they can. This leads to stilted or subpar operations when what they want is a fully realized brand that stands a chance. It is almost universally better to open late, as opposed to ahead of schedule. Soft openings work for some businesses that want to expose areas of weakness and test run crucial processes.

Don’t stop setting goals.

This is a key principle responsible for the shuttering of many small businesses. Once a few milestones have been conquered, it’s easy to think one can loosen up on – or let go of – the reins. However, today’s success is no longer relevant when the competition meets its next goal. Consistently set attainable goals with deadlines.

Don’t sell the product short.

In the initial planning stages, entrepreneurs – even the small, local variety – will research their competition. On one hand, this is very helpful in formulating a strategy and getting a better idea of local demand. On the other hand, it can be a little intimidating. When confidence takes a hit, people charge too little for their goods and services. They think the way to survive is to make it less expensive. This leads to a narrower profit margin, which makes growth nearly impossible.

Don’t forget to market with web content.

Again, many small businesses have made the mistake of believing that local reach means the internet does not matter as much.

How does a business take their customer base and make them loyal? How do they get those customers to somehow pass the word on to their friends? How do they find people who have never heard of them, but would want to know about them? These are questions businesses of every size ask. One huge potential solution is a content strategy.

The benefits of consistent web content for small businesses are easy to spot. With more content, there’s more room for SEO, local and otherwise. Web content, including articles and blogs, are more cost-effective than other forms of marketing.


Sharing online consistently also breeds familiarity. The more familiar people are with a business, the higher the chance that they will purchase. Anyone who wants to know how to succeed as a small business needs to know only that; they must stand out. Professionally written, optimized, top quality web content is today’s solution to staying ahead of the pack.