Top 65 General Business Tips

General Business Tips: In the simplest terms, business development can be summarized as the ideas, initiatives, and activities that help make a business better.

This includes increasing revenues, growth in terms of business expansion.

Increasing profitability by building strategic partnerships, and making strategic business decisions.

General Business Tips

1. Ask yourself what’s next. 

What technology or advancement is coming soon.

And how will that change the business landscape as we know it?

Can you get ahead of the curve?

2. Fix something that bugs you. 

People would rather have less of a bad thing than more of a good thing.

If your business can fix a problem for your customers, they’ll thank you for it.

Read also: Top 16 Tips to Start Photography Blog Business

3. Apply your skills to an entirely new field.

Many businesses and industries do things one way because that’s the way they’ve always been done.

In those cases, a fresh set of eyes from a new perspective can make all the difference.

General Business Tips

4. Use the better, cheaper, faster approach.

 Do you have a business idea that isn’t completely new?

If so, think about the current offerings and focus on how you can create something better, cheaper or faster.

Also, go out and meet people and ask them questions.

Seek advice from other entrepreneurs, research ideas online.

Or use whatever method makes the most sense to you.

General Business Tips

5. Do market research.

Is anyone else already doing what you want to start doing? If not, is there a good reason why?

Start researching your potential rivals or partners within the market by using this guide.

It breaks down the objectives you need to complete with your research and the methods you can use to do just that.

For example, you can conduct interviews by telephone or face to face.

You can also offer surveys or questionnaires that ask questions like “What factors do you consider when purchasing this product or service?” and “What areas would you suggest for improvement?”

Just as importantly, it explains three of the most common mistakes people make when starting their market research, which are:

  1. Using only secondary research.
  2. Using only online resources.
  3. Surveying only the people you know.

6. Get feedback.

Let people interact with your product or service and see what their take is on it.

A fresh set of eyes can help point out a problem you might have missed.

Plus, these people will become your first brand advocates.

Especially if you listen to their input and they like the product.

7. Focus on “The Lean Startup”

One of the easiest ways to utilize feedback is to focus on “The Lean Startup” approach.

But it involves three basic pillars: prototyping, experimenting, and pivoting.

By pushing out a product, getting feedback, and then adapting before you push out the next product.

You can constantly improve and make sure you stay relevant.

Just realize that some of that advice, solicited or not, will be good. Some of it won’t be.

That’s why you should have a plan on how to receive feedback.

General Business Tips

8. Know how to handle feedback:

  1. Stop! Your brain will probably be in an excited state when receiving feedback, and it might start racing to bad conclusions. Slow down and take the time to consider carefully what you’ve just heard.
  2. Start by saying ‘thank you.’People who give you negative feedback won’t expect you to thank them for it, but doing so will probably make them respect you and encourage them to continue to be honest in the future.
  3. Look for the grain of truth. If someone doesn’t like one idea, it doesn’t mean they hate everything you’ve just said. Remember that these people are trying to help, and they might just be pointing out a smaller problem or solution that you should look into further.
  4. Seek out the patterns. If you keep hearing the same comments, then it’s time to start sitting up and taking notice.
  5. Listen with curiosity. Be willing to enter a conversation where the customer is in control.
  6. Ask questions. Figure out why someone liked or didn’t like something. How could you make it better? What would be a better solution?

9. Create a “wall of love,”

Also, one way to help you get through negative feedback is to create a “wall of love,”.

Where you can post all of the positive messages you’ve received.

Not only will this wall of love inspire you.

But you can use these messages later when you begin selling your product or service.

Positive reviews online and word-of-mouth testimonials can help make a big difference.

10. Make it official.

Get all of the legal aspects out of the way early.

That way, you don’t have to worry about someone taking your big idea.

Screwing you over in a partnership, or suing you for something you never saw coming.

A quick checklist of things to shore up might include:

  1. Business structure (LLC, corporation, or a partnership, to name a few.)
  2. Business name
  3. Register your business
  4. Federal tax ID
  5. State tax ID
  6. Permits (more on permits here)
  7. License
  8. Necessary bank account
  9. Trademarks, copyrights, or patents

While some things you can do on your own.

It’s best to consult with a lawyer when starting out, so you can make sure you’ve covered everything that you need.

Here are some questions you can ask when looking for a small-business lawyer.

11. Write your business plan.

A business plan is a written description of how your business will evolve from when it starts to the finished product.

As an angel investor and tech-company founder Tim Berry wrote on Entrepreneur, “You can probably cover everything you need to convey in 20 to 30 pages of text plus another 10 pages of appendices for monthly projections, management resumes, and other details. If you’ve got a plan that’s more than 40 pages long, you’re probably not summarizing very well.”

General Business Tips

12. Learn to apply this in your business plan:

  1. Title page. Start with naming the name of your business, which is harder than it sounds. This article can help you avoid common mistakes when picking.
  2. Executive summary. This is a high-level summary of what the plan includes, often touching on the company description, the problem the business is solving, the solution and why now. (Here’s what you should include in the summary and how you can make it appeal to investors.)
  3. Business description. What kind of business do you want to start? What does your industry look like? What will it look like in the future?
  4. Market strategies. What is your target market, and how can you best sell to that market?
  5. Competitive analysis. What are the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors? How will you beat them?
  6. Design and development plan. What is your product or service and how will it develop? Then, create a budget for that product or service.
  7. Operations and management plan. How does the business function on a daily basis?
  8. Finance factors. Where is the money coming from? When? How? What sort of projections should you create and what should you take into consideration?

For each question, you can spend between one to three pages.

Keep in mind, the business plan is a living, breathing document and as time goes on and your business matures, you will be updating it.

13. Finance your business.

There are a ton of different ways to get the resources you need to start your business.

Angel investor Martin Zwilling, whose business Startup Professionals provides services and products for startups and small businesses, recommends 10 of the most reliable ways to fund your business.

Take a look and consider your own resources, circumstances, and life state to figure out which one works best for you.

14. Fund your startup yourself.

Bootstrapping your business might take longer.

But the good part is that you control your own destiny (and equity).

15. Pitch your needs to friends and family.

It can be hard to separate business from personal relationships.

But if you’re considering asking for a loan.

Here’s a resource you can use to make it as straightforward as possible.

General Business Tips

16. Request a small-business grant.

Start by checking out our guide to small-business grants.

Then, head over to gov, which is a searchable, online directory of more than 1,000 federal grant programs.

It might be a long process, but it doesn’t cost you any equity.

17. Start a crowdfunding campaign online.

Sometimes power is in numbers, and a bunch of small investments can add up to something major.

If you think your business might be a fit for something like Kickstarter or Indiegogo.

You should read up on 10 of the best-crowdfunded businesses ever or check out the most popular crowdfunding websites.

18. Apply to local angel investor groups.

Online platforms such as Gust and AngelList and local networking can help you find potential investors who relate to your industry and passion.

19. Solicit venture capital investors.

VCs typically look for big opportunities from proven teams that need a million dollars or more.

So you should have some traction before approaching them.

General Business Tips

20. Join a startup incubator or accelerator.

These companies are designed to help new or startup businesses get to the next level.

Most provide free resources, including office facilities and consulting, along with networking opportunities and pitch events. Some, also provide seed funding as well.

21. Negotiate an advance from a strategic partner or customer.

If someone wants your product or service bad enough to pay for it.

There’s a chance they’ll want it bad enough to fund it, too.

Variations on this theme include early licensing or white-labeling

22. Trade equity or services for startup help.

For example, you could support a computer system for office tenants in exchange for free office space.

You might not get paid for this, but you won’t have to pay for an office, either, and a penny saved is a penny earned.

23. Seek a bank loan or line of credit.

Here are 10 questions you should ask before applying for a bank loan, including whether you will qualify. If you do meet the requirements, a good place to start for loan opportunities is the Small Business Administration.

24. Develop your product or service.

After all the work you’ve put into starting your business, it’s going to feel awesome to actually see your idea come to life. But keep in mind, it takes a village to create a product. If you want to make an app and you’re not an engineer, you will need to reach out to a technical person. Or if you need to mass-produce an item, you will have to team up with a manufacturer.

General Business Tips

25. Manufacturer and pricing strategies

Finding a manufacturer and pricing strategies — you can use for your own product development.

A major point the article highlights is that when you’re actually crafting the product.

You should focus on two things: simplicity and quality.

Your best option isn’t necessarily to make the cheapest product, even if it lowers manufacturing costs.

Also, you need to make sure the product can grab someone’s attention quickly.

When you are ready to do product development and outsource some of the tasks make sure you:

26. Retain control of your product and learn constantly.

If you leave the development up to someone else or another firm without supervising, you might not get the thing you envisioned.

27. Implement checks and balances to reduce your risk.

If you only hire one freelance engineer, there’s a chance that no one will be able to check their work. If you go the freelance route, use multiple engineers so you don’t have to just take someone at their word.

General Business Tips

28. Hire specialists, not generalists.

Get people who are awesome at the exact thing you want, not a jack-of-all-trades type.

29. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Make sure you don’t lose all of your progress if one freelancer leaves or if a contract falls through.

30. Manage product development to save money.

Rates can vary for engineers depending on their specialties, so make sure you’re not paying an overqualified engineer when you could get the same end result for a much lower price.

To help you have peace of mind, start learning as much as you can about the production, so you can improve the process and your hiring decisions as time goes along.

This process will be very different for service-focused entrepreneurs, but no less important.

See also: Simple Tips to Starting a Lube Shop 

You have several skills that people are willing to pay you for right now, but those skills can be hard to quantify.

31. Establish yourself and your abilities?

You might consider creating a portfolio of your work.

Create a website to show your artwork if you’re an artist, writing if you’re a writer, or design if you’re a designer.

Also, make sure you have the necessary certificates or educational requirements.

So that when someone inquires about your service, you’re ready to jump at a good opportunity.

32. Start building your team.

To scale your business, you are going to need to hand off responsibilities to other people.

You need a team.

Whether you need a partner, employee, or freelancer, these three tips can help you find a good fit:

See also: Starting a Soccer Business Shop

33. State your goals clearly.

Sure everyone understands the vision and their role within that mission at the very start.

34. Follow hiring protocols.

When starting the hiring process you need to take a lot of things into consideration, from screening people to asking the right questions and having the proper forms. Here is a more in-depth guide to help you.

35. Establish a strong company culture.

What makes a great culture?  What are some of the building blocks?

You can see our list of examples of companies with great cultures.

But keep in mind that you don’t need to have Google’s crazy office space to instill a positive atmosphere.

That’s because a great culture is more about respecting and empowering employees through multiple channels, including training and mentorship than it is about decor or ping-pong tables.

In fact, office perks can turn out to be more like traps than real benefits.

General Business Tips

36. Find a location.

This could mean an office or a store. Your priorities will differ depending on your need.

37. Style of operation.

Make sure your location is consistent with your particular style and image.

38. Start by considering who your customers are.

How important is their proximity to your location? If you’re a retail store that relies on the local community, this is vital. For other business models, it might not be.

39. Foot traffic.

If you need people to come into your store, make sure that the store is easy to find. Remember: even the best retail areas have dead spots.

General Business Tips

40. Accessibility and parking.

Is your building accessible? Don’t give customers a reason to go somewhere else because they don’t know where to park.

having competitors nearby is a good thing. Other times, it’s not. You’ve done the market research, so you know which is best for your business.

See also: Tips to Starting a Cabinet Shop 

41. Proximity to other businesses and services.

This is more than just about foot traffic. Look at how nearby businesses can enrich the quality of your business as a workplace, too.

42. Image and history of the site.

What does this address state about your business? Have other businesses failed there? Does the location reflect the image you want to project?

Depending on your business, these could help or hinder you. For example, if you’re starting a daycare center, ordinances that state no one can build a liquor store nearby might add a level of safety for you. Just make sure you’re not the one trying to build the liquor store.

43. The building’s infrastructure.

if you’re looking at an older building or if you’re starting an online business, make sure the space can support your high-tech needs. If you’re getting serious about a building, you might want to hire an engineer to check out the state of the place to get an objective evaluation.

44. Rent, utilities, and other costs.

Rent is the biggest facilities expense, but check out the utilities, as well, and whether they’re included in the lease or not. You don’t want to start out with one price and find out it’s going to be more later.

Once you know what to look for and it’s time to start searching for a place that fits all of your qualifications, these four tips can help.

Read on: 33 Top Pathfinders to Business

General Business Tips

45. Think on your own timeframe.

Landlords are starting to offer shorter-term office rentals. Don’t get stuck in a long-term lease if it doesn’t make sense for your business.

46. Play the whole field.

There are all sorts of places to use — co-working spaces, office business centers, sublets, and more. Keep your options open.

47. Click around town.

You might be able to find the perfect place by using online resources.

48. Do the deal on your terms.

Again, you have options. Don’t get roped into something that makes you uncomfortable.

General Business Tips

49. Start getting some sales.

No matter your product or industry, your business’s future is going to depend on revenue and sales. Steve Jobs knew this — it’s why, when he was starting Apple, he spent day after day calling investors from his garage.

When you listen to your clients/customers, you find out what they want and need, and how to make that happen,” says investor and entrepreneur John Rampton.

50. Ask for a commitment, but don’t be pushy about it. 

You can’t be too shy to ask for a next step or to close a sale, but you also can’t make customers feel as though you’re forcing them into a sale.

51. Don’t be afraid of hearing “no.”

As former door-to-door salesman (and now co-founder of software business Pipedrive) Timo Rein said, “Most people are too polite. They let you make your pitch even if they have no interest in buying. And that’s a problem of its own. Time is your most important resource.”

52. Make it a priority.

As an entrepreneurial wizard, Gary Vaynerchuk said, “Actually creating revenue, and running a profitable business, is a good strategy for business. Where are we that people think users or visits or time on site is the proxy to a successful business?”

But how do you actually make those sales? Start by identifying targets who want your product or service. Find early adopters of your business, grow your customer base or put out ads to find people who fit your business. Then, figure out the right sales funnel or strategy that can convert these leads into revenue.

Read on: 3 Ideas to consider for Jersey Cow Farming

General Business Tips

53. Grow your business.

There are a million different ways to grow.

You could acquire another business, start targeting a new market, expand your offerings, and more.

But, no growth plan will matter if you don’t have the two key attributes that all growing companies have in common.

They have a plan to market themselves.

They use social media effectively through an organic, influencer, or paid campaigns.

They have an email list and know how to use it.

They understand exactly who they need to target — either online or off — with their marketing campaigns.

54. Developing Potential Entrepreneurs:

The Entrepreneurship Development has been running entrepreneurship training courses since the 1970s.

An important part of the success of the program is the selection of trainees that takes place before the course begins.

Courses then focus on how to set up a small venture, how to manage it, and how to make profits out of it.

Today, more than 600 organizations in the world and in several other developing countries are following this model.

General Business Tips

55. Train Young Women:

Training Young Women in business. Competency-Based Economics Through Formation of Entrepreneurs (CEFE).

The initiative that currently operates in several countries, is planning to begin training of trainers (TOT )  at Α Centres for Young Rural Women.

These trainers will then pass on their skills to rural women to encourage them to design income-generating projects.

56. Scheduling meetings

Get efficient at scheduling meetings by creating pre-defined time slots for different types of meetings in your calendar.

Always propose three to four specific times for a meeting, depending on the type of meeting, and fit it into an available time slot.

If the person you are trying to connect with is super busy, be flexible, break your blocks and accommodate them.

Minimize the number of emails to schedule a meeting. If a person agreed to a meeting, propose specific times immediately. Don’t ask them to suggest the times.

57. Know when and when not to be transparent.

Transparency is as detrimental at some times as it is beneficial at others. There are times to share openly and times to zip it. You need to know when and with whom to do one versus the other. It comes with experience.

58. Trust your gut.

This phrase is often repeated but rarely understood. It means that your own instincts are an extremely valuable decision-making tool. Too often we end up saying in retrospect and with regret, “Damn, I knew that was a bad idea.” But the key is to know how to access your instincts. Just sit, be quiet, and listen to yourself.

General Business Tips

59. Protect and defend your intellectual property.

Most of you don’t know the difference between a copyright, trademark, trade secret, and patent. That’s not acceptable. If you don’t protect and defend your IP, you will lose your only competitive advantage.

60. Learn to read and write effective agreements.

You know the expression “good fences make good neighbors?” It’s the same in business. The more effective your agreements are, the better your business relationships will be.

61. Run your business like a business.

Far too many entrepreneurs run their business like an extension of their personal finances. Bad idea. Very bad idea. Construct the right business entity and keep it separate from your personal life.

62. Know your finances inside and out.

If you don’t know your revenues, expenses, capital requirements, profits (gross and net), debt, cash flow, and effective tax rate – among other things – you’re asking for trouble. Big trouble.

General Business Tips

63. You don’t know what you don’t know.

Humility is a powerful trait for leaders, and that goes for new business owners, veteran CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, and everyone in between. More times than not, you will come to regret thinking you knew all the answers.

Behind every failed company are dysfunctional, delusional, or incompetent business leaders. The irony is, none of them had the slightest idea that was true at the time. Even sadder, most of them still don’t. Don’t end up like one of them.

64. Focus on leads, not sales

Of course, we all want to spark business growth and increase revenue. But the way you do this in a sustainable way is to focus instead on the building of a loyal database of avid fans.

Content marketing, paired with optimized website forms and intelligent email automation follow-up is critical to business success. This approach builds trust by giving away free value before asking for someone’s hard-earned money.

Not an expert in creating optimized lead generation pages on a website? No worries, use a trusted tool like Leadpages to make it happen.

General Business Tips

65. Don’t sell products, provide solutions

Like it or not, folks out there aren’t searching for your brand, they’re just looking to solve a problem or find a particular type of product.

Don’t list all the benefits your product brings. Focus on the solutions. Explain to the customer in simple, straightforward terms how or why your product can help them or assist in the attainment of their goals.

Run through some market research to profile your target customer. How does your product or service – and your delivery and price point – solve other people’s problems and make their lives easier or more pleasurable?


General Business Tips: Business development activities extend across different departments, including sales, marketing, project management, product management, and vendor management. Networking, negotiations, partnerships, and cost-savings efforts are also involved. All of these different departments and activities are driven by and aligned with the business development goals.

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