All the most successful business people had to start somewhere – Steve Jobs, Sheryl Sandberg, Warren Buffett – with many experiencing mighty falls only to rise from the dust once again. If you’re considering starting a business you’re in great company but before you start I’m going to let you in on some key strategies to ensure you get out of the starting blocks on the right foot.
But first a story…
If you know me I’ve only had two jobs in my entire life and for the past 13 years I’ve been busy building my own companies from zero to a $million+ turnover each. As the founder of ThinkZILLA PR & Consulting Group my team and I have helped literally hundreds of other entrepreneurs build their own successful companies and realize their dream of running their own mini-empires. Living the dream.
The bad news however…
Did you know that 80% of new businesses fail in the first two years?
The good news…
It’s easy to avoid being part of that statistic. Here I’m going to give you a jump-start in what is takes to give yourself the best chance of success when starting or building your business…
IS THERE DEMAND FOR YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE?
Believing in your product, service or idea will only get you so far. I can’t tell you how important it is to research your market. Check whether people want or need your product or service? If there’s plenty of competition this can be a good thing – it shows there’s obvious demand. However, your job or the job of your marketing agency will be to work out how to differentiate you from the competition – how to stand out from the crowd. If there’s no competition and you’ve done the market research then it’s time to have fun dominating your niche!
BE ON TOP OF THE NUMBERS
Lack of money is one of the top reasons businesses fail. That said, businesses have been started from nothing and carefully grown organically. Other businesses pursue investment from friends, family, banks and angel investors. The key thing to do is to set goals (monthly, yearly) know where you’re headed in terms of sales, clients…boy, even how many hours of leisure time you want to build into your life in order to live the dream! This is also the time to check your pricing – are you charging enough to cover expenses and earn a profit?
NURTURE YOUR DATABASE
You’re only as good as your database of clients past, present and future. Begin building a list of emails of the people who visit your website, all phone inquiries, anyone you meet face to face. Each contact could convert to being a golden lead or a platinum sale in the future. Learn through email marketing techniques to segment your database into highly focused lists based on interest, buyer behavior, geography, products etc. If you’re not confident hire a marketing consultant agency to do it for you so you can get on with running other aspects of your business.
CREATE GREAT CONTENT THAT’S SHAREABLE
In days gone by it was all about SEO (search engine optimization). Now it’s about having a two-way conversation with your customers, it’s about being helpful to them, available whenever they need you. And the only way to achieve that in the digital world is through content marketing. When you’re developing your brand messaging, it’s important to create unique and useful content that people want to read, that they want to share (free exposure!) and lots of opportunities to get in touch with you 24/7.
EMBRACING YOUR GO MOMENT WILL GET YOU THROUGH
Running your own organization is one of the most rewarding things you can do for a meaningful and fulfilling life. But nothing comes easy in business. You’ll come up against tough days, awful weeks, disappointments, bad actors, liars and downright rude people. But those who make it in business are not the ones who got straight A’s in school but those who have the PASSION and the will power to dust yourself off when the going gets tough. Embrace your failings, learn from them and move on and up or just grit to make those calls when you really don’t feel like it.
DON’T SEEK PERFECTION
Don’t delay launching your business because you’re looking for everything to be perfect before the Big Day! The website, your office doesn’t have to be perfect to get customers. Sell your product before you make it by offering a pre-order. Start marketing early to focus on getting sales and attracting leads. Successful companies launch all the time and they certainly aren’t perfect. Most online companies are constantly adjusting and improving – think Facebook for starters. Start with one product and add more over time.
Just enjoy the process and be happy that’s it’s just ok or pretty good. Start today. If not now, when?