Here are five items to pack in your business emergency kit to help you through the first five years:

Business Owner1. Surround yourself with the right people.

You know the age-old adage: Hire where you’re weak. Nowhere is that more true than in small business. Even if you can’t afford employees from the get-go, you can still surround yourself with mentors, advisors, friends, family, independent contractors and professionals you can turn to with questions and for guidance.

2. Know your target market.

Also know where they shop and how they decide what to buy. Peruse social media channels to eavesdrop on conversations about buying trends. You’ll need to do this consistently to stay in touch with today’s fickle consumer.

3. Get the word out.

Marketers must be creative and reach out to bloggers and other influencers on social media. Join networking groups and  attend seminars and trade shows. Network online, too, by reaching out to others in your industry to see how you can help each other.

4. Focus on customer service.

Consumers choose a small business over a big business because they want personalized service. What are you doing to make the shopping experience memorable and special? Listen to what your customer wants and give it to them. It’s really that simple.

5. Make an appointment with a local SCORE mentor.

I can’t tell you often enough how reaching out to SCORE for free advice can improve your chances of survival. In 321 chapters across the U.S., over 124,000 clients have participated in over 250,000 mentoring sessions, and it’s working. According to the SBA, small business clients who receive three or more hours of mentoring reported higher revenues and increased business growth. 

Business Owner