A young man with dark hair and a beard leans over a counter in a cafe. The wall behind him is painted a deep blue and filled with shelving holding cups, mugs, and bags and cans of coffee. The stainless steel counter below the shelves holds two coffee machines, another bag of coffee and a carton of creamer. The front counter that the man leans on is filled with plates of pastries covers with glass lids and an electronic tablet used as a point of service. The man wears a white T-shirt and dark gray apron. He has a slight smile on his face.
When you're running a small business, good luck can come in handy. But it can't replace effective business processes or a deep understanding of your industry and customers. — Getty Images/Tom Werner

Entrepreneurship challenges even the most capable people. You can't always count on luck to save the day or, in this case, your company. However, you can do things that increase your chances of small business success. Concentrate on people, processes, and data. But remember to take care of yourself and keep looking for potential revenue streams. Use these tips to make your own fortune.

Stay focused on your target market

Often, the first advice entrepreneurs hear is to pick a niche and find your target market. These customers are most likely to buy and benefit from your products or services. You'll use this information to tailor advertisements and marketing campaigns. But there's more to it than promoting your brand.

Your potential customers aren't statues. They continually change their habits and behaviors. Understanding what makes them tick helps your business survive. It enables you to pivot your approach to meet their needs at the moment.

Don’t rely on luck when it comes to:

  • Marketing platforms: Avoid relying heavily on one social media platform. Instead, cultivate relationships on multiple channels, including your website and email.
  • Customer service: Show customers that you value their time and support them with prompt, consistent care.
  • Communication: Know what methods your clients prefer and ensure you offer them, whether that's text messaging, phone calls, or online chat.

[Read more: Trust and Team Building: Imperium Data Co-Founder Shares Tips for Growing a Strong Business]

Understand and leverage data for decisions

Using data is the opposite of leaving things up to fate. It informs strategies for making tough business decisions and everyday choices. Consider how you can use customer feedback to identify gaps in your product line or to inform development processes. Or how website data reveals user experience issues and lets you better map customers’ buying journeys. Indeed, information can give you the competitive edge needed to succeed in business.

Moreover, data helps secure your operations. Cybersecurity and accounting tools determine a baseline for regular activity. It alerts you if unusual or fraudulent behavior occurs. And you don't need to be a data analyst or tech whiz to find and use it. Many cloud-based services collect data and provide easy-to-understand reports.

Learning how to recognize the signs and act before burnout occurs is vital.

Capture and analyze data to learn about:

  • Cash flow and operational expenses.
  • The customer journey.
  • Upselling and cross-selling opportunities.
  • Purchase frequency.
  • User experience.
  • Product feedback.

Develop business systems and processes

Charles Gaudet, CEO of Predictable Profits, said, "Developing business systems is a critical part of being a successful entrepreneur." Processes help you become more efficient and reduce errors. In addition, documenting systems make it easier to transfer those duties to employees or virtual assistants.

You can create scalable methods by thinking about how and why you do things now and each time your business changes. When in doubt, you can hire a business coach specializing in business process documentation and automation.

Manage signs of burnout early

Chronic stress can lead to burnout and significantly impact your success as an entrepreneur. In a study by CapitalOne, almost half of small business owners "say they are either currently experiencing or have experienced burnout in the past month." The survey defined signs like "overwhelming exhaustion, negative attitudes, or a lack of commitment with clients and dissatisfaction with job performance."

However, it isn't only your emotional and physical health that matters. Employee burnout can affect productivity and customer experiences. Learning how to recognize the signs and act before burnout occurs is vital. Consider adjusting your daily habits to stop burnout before it takes hold.

[Read more: 6 Personality Traits Successful Business Owners Need to Thrive During a Recession]

Build alternative revenue streams

Diversifying your revenue streams enables you to survive difficult economic times, from recessions to heavy competition. And you don't necessarily have to develop all-new product lines. Perhaps you can branch out to a different marketplace, introducing your services or goods to a new audience. Or find passive income streams to cover some of your business expenses. Use data to pick the most beneficial ones to pursue, and be bold and pivot to another idea if one doesn't pan out.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

CO—is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, here.

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