Starting your own business can be an exciting and exhilarating challenge. It can also be an overwhelming and somewhat daunting experience for anyone. Here are 10 tips that will help you think about the more strategic level things you need to think about. Don’t forget that you will also need to look after the more detailed part of the business too, delivery, marketing, accounting, cashflow management etc.
If you don’t know what you are going, how will you know if you are moving the right direction and how will you know when you get there? Goals need to be clear and compelling; a vision so appealing that it pulls you out of bed in the morning and keeps you driving on into the small hours of the morning.
Building a business is hard work…Busy, busy, busy, hard work, hard work, hard work. You will need your compelling vision to keep you motivated and ensuring that you persist even when you are struggling to find the energy to keep going. Persistence is critical. Make just one more call, write one more email, do just 10 more minutes work and you will be that much closer to your goal.
Know your Market
Whatever you are doing, you need to make sure that someone is interested in paying you for it. You need to know what you target market wants and how they want it. You will also need to know how to approach them and how to sell the benefits of your service or product to that market.
Be Innovative and Differentiate
If you don’t differentiate, then you are only doing the same as many others and you can only compete on price. All you are offering your customers is another choice in a market of businesses saying ‘Me too!’
If you are doing something different, then you have another way to compete and can offer your customers something that stands out from the crowd. Mercedes Benz cars don’t cry ‘me too!’ to their customers. So should you?
Believe in What you are Doing
People only buy what they know will meet their needs. They will also only buy when they have a level of confidence that a product of service will meet that need. So the sales process is a way to ensure that your customer develops confidence in what you are offering and then commits to buying it.
How will you persuade them that what you are offering will meet their need if you don’t have at least the same level of confidence in what you are offering? The sales process then becomes a conversation aimed at building and sharing your confidence level with your customer so that they are convinced and buy.
You will achieve more if you are focused on doing one thing at a time. One task, one goal, one business idea. I recommend reading Jurgen Wolff’s book ‘Focus’ to give you some ideas and techniques to help you focus more effectively.
All businesses are people businesses. People take the actions, people make the sales, people buy the product, and people promote you business with endorsements and recommendations. The more time you spend developing relationships, the more effectively you will be able to manage and build your business.
Surround Yourself with Great People
As an entrepreneur, you will very soon recognise that won’t be able to do everything yourself. Indeed the very characteristics of being an entrepreneur means that you are better at building a business than achieving the individual delivery tasks within that business.
So ensure you hire or work with great people, especially people who are better at doing key tasks than you are.
If you hire people that are not as good as you, then you will build a company where you are continually checking on people and being disappointed with their output.
Hire great people and then set them free to achieve.
Lead Your Team
Part of being an entrepreneur is giving your team the guidance they need to fulfil the vision. Sharing your vision is not enough. You also need to ensure that the team is continually supported in the delivering that vision and are rewarded when they make significant progress towards achieving it. There are many models of leadership and leading, but the simplest form is to’ know the way, to show the way and to go the way!’
Cheesy perhaps, but it captures the sentiment of leadership in very simple terms.
Never Stop Selling
Never forget that you are running a business and that you need revenue to survive. Let your mantra be ‘Customer and Cash’.
You must, at a bare minimum, satisfy your customers. I would suggest that your best approach is to make them raving fans. But you must always be thinking of how to make the sale. Sometimes you can sell at the first opportunity. Other times you will need to make a continual investment in the relationship in order to establish credibility and have your prospect believe enough to become a customer. Always be building the relationship and the selling will take care of itself.
These are just 10 of many tips that you will read about and learn from myriad sources. Although not exhaustive, they are useful to have in mind when you are building your business.
Dare to Aspire