By Mark Dixon, CEO, Regus,
1. Focus on what you do best and outsource the rest
Administrative and support services are necessary for any business, but the costs and time expended managing these services may not be worth the investment for a small organisation. Focus your attention on what your business is really about - rather than hiring an office manager or worrying about which internet provider to select, let someone else handle this and concentrate on what your business does best.
2. Project a professional image on par with your services
A professional image is crucial to any entrepreneur's success. Potential investors and customers judge you on how you present yourself and your business. One critically important element of a professional presentation is an impeccable office where you can entertain potential clients and investors. Having a prestigious address can also add a level of prestige to your business that is hard to put a price on, but leasing traditional space there may still be cost prohibitive.
3. Spend wisely
Whether striking out on your own for the first time or maintaining an established small business, your company's long-term success is dependant on making more than you spend. Spending wisely doesn't mean cutting corners; paying your employees well and your bills on time is important, but spend only on essentials: good employees, technology, marketing; not on that really great, but expensive, espresso maker.
4. Grow wisely
As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, having presence outside of the UK may be an important part of your business's growth. However, expanding your business, whether nationally or globally, can be an expensive and risky undertaking. Make sure that you have researched new markets extensively and are confident you have the tools necessary to succeed in these uncharted waters. Often it is best to dip one toe in first before you take the plunge. Try a part time or virtual office for several months and set strict goals for performance before setting up shop permanently.
5. Network, Network, Network
Meeting other entrepreneurs is critical to creating lasting business relationships and expanding your business. Whether it's joining groups of other entrepreneurs or using social networks to connect with business leaders in your industry, networking is a great way to expand your professional contacts, gather advice, information, and raise your professional profile.