So you have had this dream of setting up your own small business and being your own boss. But, ever since your dream became a reality, life has not been the same. And not necessarily in just a good way.

BLOG: 10 Reasons why most Small Businesses fail within the first three years

As an employee, you most likely thought your previous boss was being rewarded more than he or she deserved. But perhaps now you are starting to realise, that maybe, you are not all that different from the people you used to work for.

It is no secret that a majority of small businesses fail within three years. Even if you survive the big three, there is a chance that you may not last the first five.

As an experienced business consultant, there have been several occasions in which I was able to sense whether a new business could go the full distance and be successful. More often than not, I have noticed that one factor made all the difference – the business owner.

Most business owners realise that the key to making sure their business is successful depends to a great extent on their input, but more often than not, they overlook the fundamentals which can lead to disasters.

If you are a small business owner and you are uncertain about the long term growth of your business, it is imperative that you do not make the same tested and tried mistakes that a large number of failed operations have made. The following ten tips form the core of any successful business plan in the market and integrating them into yours could make a huge difference to your future.

1.Your business must have a vision. Without a vision, your business pretty much means nothing. You and your employees need to know what achievements and milestones to focus on. You certainly do not want to become a victim of accidental growth as it is unstructured and rarely sustainable.

2.You need to clearly identify your short term and long term goals. Most often, you do know your goals but without having made this distinction, you may be trying to do too many things at the same time and constantly find yourself overwhelmed. The successful business owner understands that it is best to focus on one thing at a time and allocate a sufficient timeline to complete each objective. Learn to prioritise your goals and accompanying tasks.

3.You need to understand that no one else cares about your business more than you do. Often, you expect your employees to do as much as you can do. This does not always happen. Your ambitions are different to your employees. A smart business owner should accept this and try to align the competing agendas into organised action plans towards the development of the business.

4.You think you are Superman. If you think you can multitask all aspects of everyday operations and still be actively formulating strategies for the success of your business, then you are not far from making the mistake most small business owners do. Remember - you did not setup the business to employ yourself.

5.Regardless of the size of your business, you need to have a good relationship with your accountant, lawyer and your banker. Most often, small businesses do not have a trusted impartial adviser who can help in this space and fail to recognise how many commercial pitfalls can be avoided by nurturing these relationships.

6.You spent a large amount of capital in purchasing or doing up a business, but you fail to invest enough on marketing, technology and training staff. Set up is crucial but your follow up costs are critical to the survival of the business. Most business have a tendency to look inwards and not outwards and a failure to invest in the tools that will assist in understanding the changing market could result in your business getting left behind.

7.You start your business with insufficient capital. If do not have sufficient cash to operate, you need to focus on sustaining your growth and maybe even slow down. You might even want to consider deferring setting up your business until you have access to the necessary funds.

8.You think offering the product cheap is going to fire up your business. Not true. Most people choose based on the value provided to them rather than on the cost alone.

9.You do not have enough experience in the business you have started. You should not be jumping into the deep end. If you’re putting your time and money into a venture, make sure you know exactly what you are getting into.

10.You struggle to manage and anticipate costs. Often you are way more concerned about the amount of business you do rather than the profits you make. Remember –turnover does not equal profit.

In most instances these issues can be carefully mitigated if you take a proactive approach to manage and troubleshoot business issues. Remember, facing such problems and challenges are a part of being an entrepreneur. What will set you apart is your approach to handling them. Running your own business is a lot of hard work but if you get your basics right, it could turn out to be the best kind of hard work you will ever do in your life.