“The Small Business Success Guide” by Margie Sheedy

We all hear about the alarming statistics stating spectacular rates of failure for small business in Australia. The numbers are enough to scare off most budding entrepreneurs. Surprisingly, we hear little about the key success factors. Those things, which done well, could help your small business flourish.

I talked to Margie Sheedy,  Tips to Maintain Profitable Small Business with Little Investment author of The Small Business Success Guide, to discuss the keys to the successful operation of a small business. Her insight, as both an entrepreneur, and a small business journalist with more than 20 years experience under her belt, will prove valuable for all small business, regardless of the industry.

KP: What do you believe are the keys to owning and operating a small business?

Margie Sheedy:

Owing a small business is a spectacularly individual adventure. You’ll have different levels of entrepreneurial experience from the small business owner next to you. What is universal is that you’re expected to know a lot about everything in business, from marketing and managing staff to cashflow and customers, often straight away.

So one of the major keys to being a successful small business owner is opening yourself up to finding trustworthy, practical ideas, and then putting them into a plan. As a business owner myself, I know how time-consuming this can be. That’s why I wrote The Small Business Success Guide in a question and answer format, so that all the information you need is in one easy-to-understand resource.

KP: Why are these ‘success keys’ so important to the running of the business?

Margie Sheedy:

Getting the right advice means you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You can hit the ground running. You also will be giving yourself the time to think strategically about your business (working on, not just in your business). That way, you’ll know exactly why you do certain things, and how you could do them smarter, not harder.

KP: From your experience, where do you believe most business owners get it wrong?

Margie Sheedy:

Most people start a small business without having anything written down. They think that having a vision in their heads is enough. But when your business playing field changes – for example, there could be a lull in sales, production prices might go up or your customers’ tastes may change – you won’t have any articulated strategies to help you and your team weather the storm.

On the flip-side, when things are going well you will also have problems. You might need finance to grow or you may want to sell your business. Even the most generous bank manager or business purchaser will want to see why your business is worth the investment. And they’ll need more than your word to seal the deal.