By Allison Turner Business, Marketing & Sales Consultant Are you cut out to be a small business owner or entrepreneur? Many are not yet have been forced to do so in the last few years due to the economy. As companies downsized and let employees go in the midst of the recession, people have had to recreate themselves in order to survive. Others are choosing to leave a well paying job in order to build a business based on a passion or hobby. Regardless of why you became a small business owner, below are 5 Tips to keep your business on the right path. 1) Create a plan for your business: In building a business, you must have a strategic roadmap so you know where you are going and can decide how you want to get there. Some people prefer to focus on a 90-Day Strategy that gets them to the next place in their business while others really map out exactly where they want to go in the next year or even three years so they can then lay out a sequence of strategies and determine exactly what needs to be done and when. Either way can work as long as you are consistent in reviewing your plan, making changes and continuing to grow. 2) Have systems in place to grow: Oftentimes, I have spoken with a small business where few systems are in place. Sometimes I hear that we don’t need systems because we only have two people working in the business but that is where you are wrong. First, you must be clear on the roles of the owners and employees so you know exactly who does what and can count on it getting done. Second, you need systems in place for interactions with potential customers and clients whether it is putting a proposal together, fulfilling a contract, recording the finances or anything else. When you have the systems in place it makes it much easier to bring on more employees, grow and expand your business. 3) Working on the business and not in the business: So many small business owners work in the business and not on the business. What I mean by this is that they are so set on fulfilling their services or products that they aren’t looking at the big picture and really seeing where the opportunities are to grow the business or cut costs. They often miss out on opportunities because they have tunnel vision for what they are focused on at the moment. 4) Perseverance: Starting and growing a business isn’t easy. You read the statistics from the SBA that show about 2/3 of businesses with employees survive at least 2 years and about half survive 5 years. But you also read in Forbes magazine that 8 of 10 entrepreneurs fail in the first 18 months. These are both daunting statistics if you are a small business owner or entrepreneur. Clearly you must have a perseverance mindset to be a small business owner and get your business to the level you want it to go. Bumps in the road will invariably come but if you take charge instead of react to them you will have a greater chance to create success. 5) Balance: This is the one thing that so many entrepreneurs struggle with on a daily basis. How do you take the time to focus on your business, pay attention to family and friends and make time for you? It is imperative that you make time for all of these facets and so often the thing that gets left out is you. How do you take the time to recharge whether that is exercise, meditation, sleeping, or doing something creative etc. You must find the balance to prevent burnout and be successful. Being an entrepreneur or small business owner is not always easy but when you love what you do, it has great rewards. Take a few minutes to evaluate you and your business to make sure you are on the right path. References: Five Reasons 8 Out of 10 Businesses Fail. Forbes. (2013). http://www.forbes.com/sites/ericwagner/2013/09/12/fivereasons-8-out-of-10-businesses-fail/ Do Economic or Industry Factors Affect Business Survival. SBA Office of Advocacy. (2012). http://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/Business-Survival.pdf Allison Turner is CEO and cofounder of Business Consultants of South Florida,(BCoSF) located at 301 W Atlantic Avenue, Suite 05. She is a resident of Delray Beach as well as active member of the Greater Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce. BCoSF is passionate about helping their clients either start or grow a sustainable and profitable business through their strategic business, marketing and sales plans and consulting services. For more information visit www.BCoSF.com or call 561-276-4422.