According to Forbes, nearly 543,000 new businesses are started every month.  Starting your own business can be one of the most exciting ventures in life. When you run your own business, you have the ability to call the shots, the freedom of being your own boss, and the flexibility to schedule more family time.  With all these perks does come a certain amount of risk, though.

According to the Small Business Association, 50 percent of new businesses close their doors within the first five years. This is a sobering fact, but don’t let it discourage or stop you from pursing your aspirations; use it to motivate you not to let your business flounder. Here are five tips that may help you reduce the risk of going out of business while solidifying a more prosperous journey in the world of entrepreneurship.

Diversify

Don’t place all your eggs in one basket — diversify.  Explore what other valuable sister products or services you can offer to attract and retain clientele. Not only will this increase your revenue, it will continue to generate additional revenue during seasonal dips. Another advantage in offering more than one specialty is that you can cross-market, giving consumers more value for their purchase while increasing your bottom line.

Do Your Research

Make sure you don’t rely on beginner’s luck. Research every possible aspect of your business before you launch, including your competition, industry trends, and different marketing platforms. These are factors that are constantly changing and should be assessed quarterly to ensure your business stays current. Social media is a great place to focus your attention – it’s a cost-friendly option that allows frequent contact with your target market. Your target market actually expects to see you on social media platforms, and failing to be where your customers are can cost you valuable revenue at the end.

Have a Solid Financial Plan

Every company, big or small, needs to put some thought into how it will manage its finances without leaving it to chance. Proper financial management is essential to survival in this economy and to beat out the competition in your industry. Have reserves for slow seasons, manage your cash flow and expenses, and do not use your revenue for personal expenses. Exercise caution and consider hiring an accountant or bookkeeper to help you with these financial tasks if you prefer not to take on the tasks alone.

Network

People like to do business with people they know, so start your networking early to build relationships. Attend chamber meetings, join industry associations, and introduce yourself online to peers in your town. The individuals in these groups will share a similar ambition and can help you grow personally and develop your business. Remember that you are gaining more than just exposure to the people you meet; you are also building connections to their networks.

Be Realistic

Do your research so you know which businesses are most likely to succeed and which are prone to failure. Entrepreneurs often fail to think about which business to start. It may be tempting to delve into a business because someone else made a lot of money doing the same thing. Make sure to research the potential of your business idea – the idea you select is the most important decision you can make as a future business owner.

If you are ready to put in a lot of time and hard work and believe you have what it takes to succeed, don’t be afraid to launch your small business. Ensure you are fully prepared to help cement your long-term business success with these tips, keeping in mind that you want longevity.

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