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The Crucial Third Year – How Small Business Owners Can Beat The Odds And Succeed

Written by: Anza Goodbar, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Anza Goodbar

As a small business owner, making it past the third year of business is a significant milestone. It signifies that you have overcome the hurdles of the early years and have established a foundation for long-term success. However, reaching this point is not without its challenges. Many small businesses struggle to survive beyond the initial few years. So, how can you ensure that your business not only survives but thrives beyond the third year? Let's explore some key strategies that can help you achieve sustainable growth and success.

Girl buying in sustainable plastic free grocery store

Have a clear plan and strategic direction for your business

Without a roadmap, it's easy to lose sight of your goals and get stuck in the day-to-day operations. Take the time to assess where your business currently stands and where you want it to go. Set measurable objectives and develop a strategic plan to guide your actions. Three reasons why if you don’t have a business plan, you need to write one:

  1. It outlines your objectives and strategies for achieving success. It is an excellent tool to guide you in making decisions and staying focused on your priorities. And most importantly, it allows you to allocate resources, define your marketing position, and take advantage of opportunities that come your way.

  2. It allows you to identify and mitigate potential risks and challenges proactively. It provides a framework for conducting market research, analyzing competition, creating financial projections, and developing contingency plans to address potential challenges

  3. It is necessary to secure funding from lenders, investors, or other sources of capital. A well-written business plan that demonstrates a clear understanding of the market, a strong value proposition, and a viable financial model can increase the likelihood of securing funding and accessing resources needed for growth and expansion.

Build and maintain strong relationships with your customers

Your customers are the lifeblood of your business, and their satisfaction is directly linked to your success. Provide excellent customer service, listen to their feedback, and continuously look for ways to exceed their expectations. Happy customers are more likely to become repeat customers and refer your business to others. Focus on these three areas to keep your customers coming back:

  1. Excellent customer service: Provide exceptional customer service at every touchpoint, whether it's in-person, over the phone, or online. Train your staff to be friendly, attentive, and knowledgeable, and empower them to resolve customer issues quickly and effectively. Respond promptly to inquiries, address concerns with empathy, and go above and beyond to exceed customer expectations.

  2. Consistent quality: Consistently deliver high-quality products or services that meet or exceed customer expectations. Strive for excellence in every aspect of your business, from product design and development to manufacturing, packaging, and delivery. Monitor quality control processes, solicit feedback from customers, and continuously improve your offerings based on their input.

  3. Reward loyalty: Recognize and reward loyal customers for their repeat business and advocacy. Implement a loyalty program that offers incentives, discounts, or exclusive perks for frequent customers. Show your appreciation through personalized thank-you notes, birthday or anniversary gifts, or special promotions tailored to their preferences and purchase history.

Build a strong team

Surround yourself with talented individuals who share your vision and are committed to helping your business succeed.

  1. Take the time to recruit candidates who not only have the necessary skills and experience but also align with your company's culture and values. Look for individuals who are passionate, motivated, and share your vision for the business.

  2. Invest in developing their skills, provide them with growth opportunities, and create a positive work environment that fosters collaboration and innovation.

  3. Lead by example and set the tone for your team by demonstrating integrity, accountability, and professionalism in your own actions and behavior. Be transparent and honest in your communication, admit mistakes, and take ownership of problems. A motivated and engaged team can be the driving force behind your business's success.

Maintaining a keen focus on your finances

Keep a close eye on your cash flow, monitor your expenses, and look for opportunities to increase your revenue. Having a solid understanding of your financial position will enable you to make informed decisions and weather any economic uncertainties. Here are three important KPIs to monitor your business finances:

  1. Tracking your revenue growth rate provides insight into your business's ability to generate income over time. Calculate your revenue growth rate by comparing your current period's revenue to the previous period and expressing the change as a percentage.

  2. Your gross profit margin measures the percentage of revenue that exceeds the cost of goods sold (COGS). It reflects your business's efficiency in producing goods or delivering services and provides insight into pricing strategies, production costs, and profitability. Calculate your gross profit margin by subtracting COGS from total revenue, then dividing the result by total revenue and multiplying by 100.

  3. Cash flow is the lifeblood of your business and is essential for meeting financial obligations, investing in growth, and ensuring long-term sustainability. Monitor your cash flow by tracking the movement of cash into and out of your business over a specific period, such as a month or quarter.


Embrace innovation and stay informed about industry trends

While having a clear plan, strong relationships, a talented team, and solid financial management are all important, it's also essential to stay adaptable and open to change. The business landscape is constantly evolving, and being able to pivot and adjust your strategies as needed is crucial for long-term success. Be willing to take calculated risks to propel your business forward. Check out these three ways your small business can pivot:

  1. Target market expansion: Evaluate potential opportunities to expand your target market or reach new customer segments. Identify underserved or emerging market niches, demographics, or geographic regions that align with your business's offerings and capabilities.

  2. Business model adjustment: Assess your current business model and explore alternative approaches or revenue streams that may better align with market dynamics or customer preferences.

  3. Strategic partnerships or collaborations: Explore opportunities for strategic partnerships, collaborations, or alliances with other businesses. Collaborate on joint marketing campaigns, co-branded offerings, or cross-promotional initiatives to leverage each other's strengths and create mutually beneficial growth opportunities. Don’t underestimate the power of co-hosting or co-sponsoring live events to get in front of new potential clients.


So, there you have it! By putting these powerful strategies into action, your small business is all set to embark on an amazing journey of growth and success. With your fearless innovation and plans for expansion, you'll confidently handle whatever comes your way in the ever-changing world of entrepreneurship. As you build key partnerships, tackle new challenges, and carve out your path to success, your business won't just adapt—it will break through barriers and show what's truly possible. Now's the time to seize the moment, unlock your potential, and see your business soar to incredible new heights, leaving a legacy of innovation, grit, and prosperity in its wake. Let's go make it happen!

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Anza Goodbar Brainz Magazine

Anza Goodbar, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Anza Goodbar is a passionate business consultant and events strategist with over 20 years of small business ownership experience. She has a proven track record of planning and executing more than 4,000 successful events, generating over $100 million in revenue for her clients. Anza firmly believes in the power of strong leadership as an essential tool for business success and solving bigger problems. She helps small business owners harness the potential of live events to build their brand, establish long-lasting relationships, and increase revenue. Her commitment to creating personalized strategies has led to numerous businesses reaching new heights.



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