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Building a small business from the ground up typically involves a lot of trial and error. And while it’s challenging in more ways than one, owning a small business means learning something new every day, too. Lucky for you, we spoke with Kelly Heysinger, co-owner of Unified Therapy Services, and Larry Bradshaw, owner of Think Different Designs, to learn the secrets behind their success.

1. Utilize Your Resources

Whether it’s HR, finance, communication or legislature, owning a small business means being an expert in more areas than one. But without the use of mentors, being skilled in several areas can be a difficult task. “[My partner and I] sought out mentors in various areas of business,” Heysinger explains. “In the beginning, we met often to learn from their experiences and take their advice when making decisions.”

2. Make Objective Decisions

When you’re running a small business, it’s important to make objective decisions and see them through. According to Heysinger, “Oftentimes, small business owners lead with their hearts because they are so passionate about what they do. This can lead to inconsistencies on the business side, which can have a negative impact on employees and customers.”

3. Value Your Customer

One of the best ways to gain new clients is by word of mouth. But if customers don’t have a positive experience, they won’t be talking. “My business has grown purely on the satisfaction of individual clients,” Bradshaw explains. “If they really like not only the end product we created together, but the ease of the journey it took to get there, they will tell their friends, family and clients about how satisfied they were working with us.”

4. Utilize Social Media

These days, there’s no better way to reach your target customer than with social media. But maintaining a strong social presence isn’t always easy. “The biggest piece of advice I would give to a new small business owner is to treat their social media profiles like any other critical business asset,” Bradshaw says. “Too often, I see small businesses mismanaging their social profiles, primarily due to a lack of education. In today’s economy, social media is more important than almost any other form of communication. With social media, you will have more opportunities to communicate with potential and existing customers than with any other advertising medium.”

5. Have a Plan

Having a detailed business plan will keep you organized and on the right path. “Really study the market you are trying to fulfill and think through all of the details of what it takes to actually run the business,” Bradshaw tells us. “In the end, follow your plan and don’t get sidetracked and go in directions that were not carefully thought through and planned for.”

6. Have Pride in What You Built

There’s nothing more gratifying than watching your own business grow from the ground up. “Being a small business owner gives one a sense of pride,” Bradshaw says. “

Learn more about ways to take your small business to the next level here: capitalone.com

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