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Small businesses are the pride and backbone of the United States of America. According to recent data from the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy, 99.9% of all businesses in the U.S. are small businesses. Also, data from Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) tell an interesting story; small businesses employ nearly half of the labor force in the U.S, despite the fact that over 80% of small businesses do not have employees (easy to see how prosperous the U.S economy will be if more small businesses prosper well enough to employ people). Small businesses employ 61.7 million workers. That is about 46.4% of all US employees. However, the average small business owner salary is just 3% ($60,151) above the national average mean wage of $58,260, and data shows 1 in 5 businesses fail within the first year. It gets even more brutal, 20% of businesses fail in the first year, 30% in the second year, and 50% by year five.
It’s worthy to note that when more small businesses prosper, the U.S. economy prospers and becomes stronger. Here are a few tips for prospering as a small business in the midst of uncertainty.
Almost every smart consultant talks about businesses being customer centric, but the truest way to be customer-centric is to make what customers want. In my book, Make What Customers Want, I detailed how to achieve this. One way that I’d focus on in this article is executing original ideas inspired by accurate data from customers. The best way to generate original ideas is from accurate data that details patterns of real customers. It’s dangerous to be passionate about solving the wrong problem. Customer centric companies’ focus on solving the problems customers want solved, and sometimes customers don’t even know what these problems are, but accurate data never lies. It always tells the true story. We would never have guessed we wanted Facebook in the early 2000s like we could tell we wanted the aircraft in 1900s, Zuckerberg’s ability at the time to read the patterns he noticed from an earlier app he created showed him there was a strong desire for the solutions Facebook offers even though users were unaware. Solving the right problem is being customer centric. It doesn’t matter if it’s being kind to the customer or creating a service they love. The reward for being customer-centric is great and consistent demand.
It is possible to make products customers love but are unwilling to pay for. This is important to note in product development. The service your business renders should be valuable enough to inspire customers to swipe their credit cards. As we often say at Stralution LLC, business shouldn’t feel like business. Customers should “almost” feel like they are outsmarting the business owner because they are seemingly getting the best part of the deal. Customers should feel gratitude for engaging with your business. This is true business. This is how we feel when we find that high-quality product at a fair price or drive that luxury car to a date.