Seven Tips for New Small Business Owners

A man looks out into the ocean at sunset, perhaps contemplating starting a new business.

Starting a new business can be a daunting task, but there’s nothing we love more than watching entrepreneurs succeed. That’s why we put together this list of seven tips for new small business owners – to help make your lives just a little bit easier, because we want you to be massive successes. (And you might as well learn from the entrepreneurs that came before you, right? No need to reinvent the wheel.)

And there is no shortage of you. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 5.4 million new business applications were filed in 2021. This is a major increase, compared to 4.4 million in 2020. But starting a new small business is one thing, keeping it up and running is a completely different story. You’ll need all the help you can get, and we hope our tips will help you on your journey.

So read on for seven great tips for new small business owners! (And if you need help with the process of actually setting up a business in Orange County, or California in general, or anywhere really, check out this in depth blog post on how to setup a new business.)

Keep Personal Affairs Separate from Your Business

Many new small business owners tend to mix things up. For example, they use their personal bank accounts for business. This is definitely something to avoid. You need to keep everything related to your business separate from your personal life. Open credit and bank accounts exclusively for your business. This way, you will be able to easily trace your business transactions and keep organized financial records.

Identify Your Unique Selling Point (USP)

Do you offer a high-quality service or a unique product? What makes your business stand out from the others? How will the customer benefit from your product or service? All these questions can help you identify the USP of your small business. The USP is the essence of any business, large or small. It is what makes your product or service better than others offered by competitors.

Don’t forget why you went into business in the first place. There must have been a passion or personal need that helped you build your business idea. Use this to find your USP and articulate it clearly to your potential customers. Tell them what value your small business will bring to their life. This is how you attract and persuade people to buy your products and services.

Target a Niche Market

As a small business, you probably have limited resources. So, don’t spread your efforts too thin. Focus on a smaller target group to be able to fulfill their specific needs successfully. You probably can’t afford to target large markets, at least in the beginning, so you may benefit from focusing your efforts and resources on a smaller niche market.

For example, instead of targeting the entire food industry, you can specialize in “under 5 mins meals”. This will help you stand out in the market, keep your marketing and branding budget down, and provide a more unique customer experience. Then, over time, you can start expanding your market scope steadily.

Grow Gradually

When starting a business, you probably dream of it becoming a great success overnight. However, it’s important to keep your plans realistic. Having a successful business requires a lot of time and effort and you need to be patient and persistent.

Be careful, because your business will probably face a lot of ups and downs. So, don’t take success for granted or expand too quickly. Things can easily get out of control, and you’ll find yourself overwhelmed. It’s better to take things slowly. Set regular goals that help your business grow gradually and steadily. Land small customers first, then target larger companies. At each stage, give yourself time to build the required experience and resources for the next phase.

Create a User-Friendly Experience

Do everything you can to simplify and shorten the buying process. Keep in mind that not all customers have the time or patience to fill in long forms or go through multiple steps to purchase a product. So, remove any unnecessary steps. Also, try to offer various payment options to meet different customers’ preferences.

Make sure your website is easy to navigate. Any marketing content you publish must also be clear and simple. In addition, your business must be accessible. The customers should be able to reach you through various methods, like phone, social media, and email.

Sharpen Your Networking Skills

Networking is a crucial part of any successful business, especially if you are just starting out. By attending business networking events, you’ll get to know key players in the field. You’ll also learn about market trends, identify best practices, and open new opportunities.

There is no way to avoid networking events, even if you are an introvert. That’s why you need to work on your business networking skills. Attending these events should not feel like torture. To master networking skills, you can check our top 5 tips here.

A woman lounges in a hot bath, symbolic of new business owners remembering self-care.

Just because you are starting a business doesn’t mean you should forget about work-life balance entirely. Remember to find some time for yourself. Self-care can help new business owners avoid burnout.

Don’t Forget Yourself

Starting your own business requires a lot of time and effort. All the stress and the heavy workload can take a toll on your health and mental wellbeing. That’s why you need to be careful not to lose sight of yourself and your needs.

You are the main asset of your new small business. So, take good care of yourself, just like you are taking good care of the business. Try to get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep at night. Don’t forget to exercise and eat healthy, nutritious meals. Spend some time doing things you love and do your best to keep a reasonable work-life balance.

There you have it. Our seven tips for new small business owners. Hopefully, this will make your life just a little bit easier, and nudge you along on your road to success. Building a new business isn’t easy, and it’s important to take all the help you can get. Here’s to your success!

The road to a successful small business can be full of challenges and obstacles, but we are here to help. At My OC Bookkeeper, we understand the challenges of starting a new business in the Orange County area and can help you each step of the way. From basic monthly bookkeeping services to sophisticated business consulting, we are here to help. Reach out to us today and let’s do great things together.

Want to learn even more about starting a business? (Especially if you are in Orange County, or somewhere in CA.) Take a look at the video guide below, read this step by step guide to starting a business in Orange County, or check out this post on finding out if the name you want for your CA business is available.

5 Networking Tips for Business Owners

A group of professionals surround a table, like you might see at a networking event.

Without the right tools and skills, attending a business networking event can turn into a nightmare for any business owner. That’s why many people try to avoid these events. They think having a strong presence on social media platforms can be enough; however, that’s not the case at all. All of the online platforms combined can’t substitute for what networking brings to the table. According to a study published by Forbes: “Networking is vital to entrepreneurial success for 78% of startups!” Networking helps you generate new leads, gain a deeper knowledge of your industry, and open more opportunities for your business – whether it’s in Orange County or elsewhere. That’s why we created a list of 5 networking tips for business owners. So read on for some great networking tips!

Networking Tip 1: Set a Goal

You can easily feel lost and overwhelmed in networking events, not knowing where to start. That is why you need to determine your goals, before attending the event. Are you going there to establish new connections? Do you want to learn more about the industry from other business owners? Are you looking for referrals to help your business grow in Irvine or somewhere else in Orange County?

The goals you set will help you navigate the networking event. You can also determine who you want to talk to first or spend more time with. But, how do you know who is going to attend the event?

Networking Tip 2: Research Other Attendees

Showing up prepared will save you a lot of time during the event. It will help you strike up meaningful conversations with the right people. Some networking events mention the list of attendees in their description. If the event is on Facebook, you can check the list of people “interested” or “going” to the event.

Once you’ve found a list of attendees, do a little research. You can try to Google the names, check their business websites, or search for them on LinkedIn. This will help you create a shortlist of the people you want to speak to. Don’t make the list too long. After all, you want to establish a real connection with each of them.

The inside of an elevator, symbolic of using an elevator pitch at a networking event.
Always prepare your elevator pitch before going networking. They’re not just for use in elevators.

Networking Tip 3: Prepare an Elevator Pitch

In a networking event, you want to make the conversation long enough to generate a lead. However, it should not be too long. You want to have time to talk to other attendees as well. The term “elevator pitch” is familiar to anyone who has worked in sales or marketing. It consists of short and to-the-point sentences that best describe your California business and what you do. Try to focus on the core problem your business solves. This will raise people’s interest in what you do. Using the elevator pitch strategy will help you introduce your business to others in networking events. By keeping it short, you won’t lose their interest or attention. This will also give you time to ask them questions or answer theirs.

Networking Tip 4: Listen

Yes, you should promote your OC business at a networking event. However, the conversation should not be all about you. To truly connect with people, you should listen to them. This is not just about hearing them or giving them a chance to speak. Being an active listener can help you create a strong relationship with other attendees.

To show people you are truly listening to them, pay attention and try to ask questions. Do not just wait for them to pause so you can ask the next question on your list. This is not an interview. Instead, try to dig deeper into what they are saying. This will not just show your interest in their business, it will also give you the chance to learn something new from them.

Networking Tip 5: Follow Up

Establishing a strong connection at a networking event is only half the battle. Keeping the relationships going afterward is the other half. You don’t want the conversations to end at the event. If you do, you’ll leave the event with a bunch of business cards that will just gather dust on your desk, which won’t help your business. ALWAYS follow up after the event.

Wait a couple of days, after the networking event, then reach out to the people you met there. You can either write them an e-mail or send them a text thanking them for their time. Try to summarize what you have talked about and remind them of who you are. This will give you another opportunity to keep the conversation going and grow your business network.

Bonus: Networking Faux Pas

Networking tips are not all about what to do. There are a couple of things you need to avoid as well. Try to keep the conversation positive. If you start talking negatively about former employees or coworkers, you might scare people off. They would think you might talk badly about them as well.

When it comes to networking connections, remember it is all about give and take. So, do not be selfish. Try to offer people something as well. You can give them some business advice or share your knowledge with them. This will encourage people in your network to help you or offer something in return.

Thriving at networking events isn’t an easy task – that’s why we put together our list of 5 networking tips for business owners. Who are we? We are My OC Bookkeeper. We understand the challenges that business owners have to face every day and are ready and waiting to help. Unlike most bookkeepers, we don’t see ourselves as outside service providers, we consider our clients partners in making the Orange County business community thrive. Our bookkeeping, accounting, and business advisory services will help take your business to the next level. Get in touch with us now and let’s do great things together! Watch the video to learn more.

Want to learn a bit about more about who you might meet at a networking event in SoCal? Check out this post on the 5 biggest employers in the OC.