If you have a dream of starting your own business and want to be successful, here are 13 tips for making your new venture a success:

  1. Know Your Audience: Conduct your research on what type of people you’ll be selling to and learn about their habits and preferences. Then keep that research ongoing so you never run out of ways to get reactions from them.
  1. Go For Positive Reactions Every Time: Every transaction with a customer should get them to stand up and take notice. From the way your environment looks and feels to the interactions with your employees – all of it should elicit a memorable reaction every single time. Otherwise, you risk bordering on mediocrity and your competitors will have the upper hand.
  1. Consider the Lifetime Value of Each Customer: Don’t go for the once-in-a-lifetime experience, provide a consistently excellent experience that develops brand loyalty. Each transaction should be held to a high standard.
  1. Find Your Profit ‘Sweet Spots’: Most people fall into the motivation bracket of money, pride, ego, and fear. Craft your marketing messages to play off of one of these motivations. For example, a car dealership would do well to play off of ego, telling customers how good they’ll look behind the wheel of the newest model to hit the showroom floor.
  1. Treat Difficult Clients Like Grandma: Pretend your difficult or needy clients as if they were your grandma lashing out at you at the dinner table. You wouldn’t scream back at her, would you? Hold your tongue and cultivate patience. This can often be enough to turn even the most difficult clients into loyal customers.
  2. Hire the Right Staff: Forget experience — you should be hiring employees based on their personalities. You want outgoing people who will deliver an exceptional experience to every customer who walks through your door.
  1. Teach, Don’t Train: Don’t try to change what people do, change the way they THINK. Find out what motivates your team – maybe pride or fear – then use that element to light the fire under their behinds to strive for greatness every day.
  1. Don’t Coddle Your Weakest Team Members: Your employees are not family. Instead of coddling your weakest team members, treat them like a sports team would. Reward your highest-performing members and use peer pressure to get the underperforming members to act. If the weakest member doesn’t step up, don’t be afraid to ‘cut’ them from the team.
  1. Pare Down Your ‘Menu’: Too many product or service options overwhelm customers. Consider cutting down your options to just a few items. The 80/20 rule applies here: 20% of your products and services produce 80% of your profits. Find out which products/services are making you money and get rid of the rest.
  1. Don’t Settle for Mediocrity: Every day is a fight for excellence. Insist on high standards and set an example for your employees. Show up every day for work, read the fine print on every paper you sign and be honest with every person you work with.
  1. Don’t Be Cheaper, Be Better: If things aren’t going your way, the first instinct might be to lower prices or give away free product. Forget that option! Be better than your competitors and offer quality product: that way, you’ll be able to justify charging a premium rate.
  1. If You Fail, Try Again: If you make rookie mistakes, don’t sweat it. Your odds of coming back and succeeding are greater after you’ve stumbled and picked yourself back up. If you want it badly enough, success will happen. Remember: don’t embrace excuses, embrace SOLUTIONS.
  1. Use Your Voice and Vote: Small businesses are being undercut by corporations and passed-in-the-night legislation. Scream and make your voice heard to your legislators and elected officials and, most importantly, vote to ensure the American dream remains alive and well.

At the end of the day, your business will live or die by the customer reactions it generates. Use these tips and go for that ultimate customer response with every point of contact and your business is sure to be one of the best in your industry.