With just 44 percent of small businesses staying open after four years, it's important to study small business concepts before you start your new company. Don't jump in feet first and set yourself up for failure—take your time and do things right. To run a small business successfully, you have to go through a thorough planning process, promote constantly, manage effectively, and align yourself with the right people.

Plan your next move out thoroughly before you act. According to the Small Business Association (SBA), one reason why many small businesses fail is because they fail to plan and execute actions appropriately. Create a business plan (even if it's a short one just for your own viewing). Research and analyze the target market for your product or service, then write a marketing plan based on your research.

Hire people. Many small business owners make the mistake of trying to do everything themselves. Sometimes hiring a part-time or full-time employee or an independent contractor to help on certain projects can be just the help you need to propel your small business to the next level.

Rein in your spending. Overspending is another top reason why many small businesses fail. Don't spend all of your capital investment in one area, such as an advertising campaig. That is a recipe for disaster if the campaign doesn't work. Instead, wait until your plan is fully developed and invest small amounts of money in a variety of initiatives that can get your business off the ground. Then you can funnel more money into the areas where you see an opportunity for growth.

Watch your competition constantly. Be prepared to make changes when needed—don't sit around idly and stubbornly while your competition overtakes you with better offers and products. Don't be afraid to move with trends to keep your small business successful.

Brainstorm continuously and test promotions for your small business. If people can't find your business, you have no business. Promotion is key for a small business, so focus a significant amount of your time in developing and implementing promotional ideas.

Pay your bills and obligations on time. If you want to run a small business successfully, you have to maintain your reputation. If word gets around that you don't meet your obligations as a small business, it's going to be hard to grow your business through loans and better terms with suppliers. Develop a strong relationship with your business contacts (particularly suppliers) and pay them in full and on schedule every time.