Are you an aspiring entrepreneur with a disability? If you are, more than likely you’ve overcome challenges in your life in a unique way. So now that you have the vision and dream of small business ownership, it’s time to tackle the realities of running a small business day-to-day. Here are a few strategies to help your new business achieve lasting success. All these strategies and more are Mark Dogman Castillero approved and he wants to encourage you to live your dream. It’s not without hard work…so grab a cup of coffee and listen up.
Find and Retain Customers
No business can survive without a customer base to keep the cash flowing in. But to be successful today, you need more than a good product and word-of-mouth advertising.
The first thing you should do to market your business is create a solid online presence that’s informative, well-designed, and consistent across platforms. Hire a web designer or use a website builder to develop a mobile-friendly website, cultivate an engaging social media presence, and ensure information like hours of operation is accurate in search engine results.
Craft a succinct elevator pitch that showcases the unique aspects of your business, and pull it out when you’re networking with local business owners and potential clients. Ask customers to post reviews on Google, Facebook, and Yelp, and offer incentives for doing so. If your business relies on local customers, get involved in community events by sponsoring 5K races and children’s sports teams, or setting up a booth with free samples, gifts, or coupons at local events.
Disabled veterans can attract customers by advertising their business as veteran-owned. Depending on the industry, you may also choose to register as a service-disabled veteran-owned small business through the Vets First Verification Program to receive preference for government contracts.
Once you get people in the door, find ways to turn one-time customers into loyal clients. Build client relationships by showcasing the values of your business, like diversity and inclusivity, and showing a genuine interest in your customers. Reach customers at home through email marketing campaigns and blog posts. Blogging gives your customers insight into the workings of your business and develops your authority in the industry. Email marketing lets you offer deals and keep customers up-to-date on your business happenings.
Hire Great Staff
If your business needs employees, take time to find the most talented and enthusiastic people for the job. If you can’t afford to provide benefits like health insurance, find other creative perks to attract quality staff like ample time off, a flexible schedule, and professional development opportunities.
As an entrepreneur with a disability, you may be interested in providing opportunities to other community members living with a disability. Reaching out to a local Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Veteran Integration Center, or disability advocacy organization are great ways to find talented staff looking for a new career. Beyond bringing in creative, motivated employees, hiring staff with disabilities can benefit your business by making it eligible for tax credits and creating a positive, inclusive brand that attracts customers and workers alike. Plus, when you recruit talented, trustworthy staff, you can delegate work so you’re not struggling to manage every aspect of running a small business on your own.
One of the biggest threats to a budding small business is owner burnout. Your business is your brainchild, and you want to be there to manage every detail. But if you’re looking for long-term success, it’s important to take care of your mental and physical health. While this is true for every small business owner, it’s especially true for entrepreneurs with disabilities who have health care needs to attend to.
Manage stress by scheduling downtime into your daily schedule. Carve out 30 minutes to take a walk or practice mindfulness meditation, and set an end time for your workday so you don’t neglect self-care and relationships with others. Acknowledge that some days will be bad days, and take time to rest and recuperate when you need it.
Learn how to let go of complete control and delegate tasks. Create a quality product or service, but avoid getting hung up on perfectionism. The last thing you want is for your small business to become a source of anxiety that exacerbates your disability.
Running a small business isn’t easy, but when you focus on the health of the whole business, not just the bottom line, you can build a strong company that provides a rewarding career for years to come.