As an entrepreneur who has just started a new business, you can be equally upbeat, enthusiastic, hopeful, and in utter panic. You know you have a great product or service to sell. You know that when people buy it their position will be better. But how do you connect with these people? In other words, how do you find customers and how do they find you so that you can grow your business and take it from start-up to great success?
Here are 10 strategies to make your new business a success.
1️ be a great leader
It’s your business, so the more planning you do before it’s actually launched, the better. All great business starts with a great business plan. This is your fundamental document that sets out your core business values, activities, objectives and how you plan to achieve your business goals. It also sets the tone for what will become your corporate culture.
At a minimum, your business plan should include the following:
executive Summary: an outline of your business, including its mission statement, leadership, operations and location
product and/or service: an outline of the product and/or service your business will sell, as well as its price, lifetime, and customer benefits
market analysis: Outline of your target market, how your product/service fits into this market, its strengths and potential weaknesses, its expected consumer demand, its competition (both local and national), and how easy or difficult it will be to take market share from your competition Distant
Market Strategy: An outline of how you intend to attract and retain customers, such as advertising, online presence, social media presence, promotions, marketing campaigns, etc.
Financial Planning: Outline your financial goals, financial projections for the first five years, current and projected financial needs, and how you intend to go about attracting investors.
Budget: Outlining your estimated costs for things like brick-and-mortar office and/or construction space, staffing, research and development, construction equipment and equipment, marketing, and more.
Keep in mind, however, that as good as it is, your business plan is not meant to stand still. You’ll want to review it at least annually, and possibly half-yearly, to make sure it’s still in force. If not, update it when appropriate.
2️ surround yourself with great people
Even if it’s your business, you can’t be everywhere and do everything. You need two types of people working with you: those who help you run the business and those who help you do the business.
The first category includes such people:
- Lawyer/External General Counsel
- website designer/developer
- Website copywriter/blog post writer
- Social Media Designer/Developer
- graphic artist
Most if not all of these people may be independent contractors rather than actual employees. You will save money and reduce your overall costs by contracting with outside specialists instead of hiring specialists who need to provide you with employee benefits as well as providing them with the tools and equipment they need and a place to work. Will be
In the context of the second category, that is, actual employees, these may include people such as:
- manufacturing line workers
- office manager
- retail sales associate
- customer support personnel
Whether working with independent contractors or employees, make sure both you and them have a clear understanding of your tasks and duties. Then trust that they know what they are doing and don’t micro-manage them. The ability to represent effectively is a hallmark of all great leaders. In addition, effective delegation allows you to “do what only you can do.”
3️ is a good website
Statistics show that 88% of today’s consumers research potential purchases online before actually buying anything. As a result, you need a great website that converts the look-alike into customers.
At a minimum, your website should include the following:
- Your business name and logo
- A summary of what your business does
- Your Contact Information
- Your physical address, enhanced with a Google Maps link
- your mission statement
- Customer Testimonials As They Arrive
A blog in which you, or more likely your content writer, discuss topics related to your business and why customers should choose you to establish your expertise in the field
Make sure your website designer/developer knows that your site should be mobile friendly.
Today most people use their smartphones to surf the web. You would also do well to allow your customers to pay for your product/service online through PayPal, Google Wallet, Apple Pay and other services.
Also, don’t forget to include reviews on your site. You can also consider using a business review site. Studies show that more than 93% of today’s consumers take into account online reviews to decide which purchases to make.
The top three business review sites are Google My Business, Facebook and Yelp. While you run the risk of receiving the occasional negative review, close monitoring of these sites can quickly mitigate any damage caused by such reviews.
4️ use social media effectively
One of the fastest and most effective ways to create positive word-of-mouth for your business is to use social media effectively.
- Facebook Messenger
By establishing a positive presence on these and other outlets like Twitter, you ensure that people will be talking about you and your business.
5️ provide great customer service
You may have the best product or service in the world, but if you don’t provide excellent customer support to your customers, they won’t become repeat customers. Research shows that 51% of customers say they would never do business again with a company that gave them poor customer service. Others don’t even wait that long. A negative customer service experience may prompt them to ship in favor of one of your competitors.
6️ expand your marketing
Not all marketing needs to break the bank. Consider doing one or more of the following:
- Create a promotional kit.
- Include a promotion with your invoices.
- Include short video workshops about your product/service on your website or YouTube.
- Advertise on your car, truck or van using vehicle wrap.
- Involve your local newspapers whenever you have a grand opening for your business, sponsor a charity event, etc.
- Network with others – even with your competitors – by joining professional organizations.
Speaking of sponsoring a charity event, don’t forget that giving back to your community is one of the best ways to gain goodwill for your business. This is a great way to get your business name “out there” in a highly positive way.
7️ Analyze Your Competition
Don’t hesitate to research and learn from your competitors. What are they doing to increase sales? Can you apply some of these ideas to your business?
8️ stay focused
Never mind why you started your business in the first place. It is easy to become distracted from your core product(s) or service(s) from everything else that is involved in running and growing a business. Do your best to focus on providing the best possible product/service. After all, if you neglect it, you probably won’t have any business for a long time.
9️ keep track of everything
Keep a written record of what works, what doesn’t, and the cost of any business decisions you make. It’s not as difficult as it sounds, thanks in no small part to your smartphone and the various apps available for it. If nothing else, send yourself or your office manager a quick text message about any new ideas coming up with you and any business expenses you’re likely to pay.
These dirty facts and figures can eventually become your policies and procedure manuals that effectively train or retrain your employees. They can also serve as a potential new expense category on your profit and loss statement. In any event, they can help you see how your gross revenue converts to net income or net profit.
I stay balanced and have fun
You hear a lot these days about finding a viable work-life balance. Don’t overlook or underestimate its value. Whether you’re Jack or Jill, all work and no play makes you a dull person – not to mention an unhealthy person.
You need enough time off work to:
- family time
- social time
- exercise time
- sleep time
Quiet “me” time to meditate, reflect, review, contemplate, contemplate, or simply vegetate
After all, you didn’t get married to be the absent spouse. Nor did you have children to be an absent parent. Bottom line, you didn’t start your business to “kill yourself” working 24/7. If you are constantly stressed and not having fun and enjoying your life, then what is the point?
Stress is a killer – literally and figuratively. You may not have an affinity for roses or the desire to stop and smell them, but you need to take care of yourself and ensure that you stay physically, mentally and emotionally healthy. It’s the only way to keep your enthusiasm going, especially when you face a setback that all businesses experience at times.
Building, operating and growing your own business is the quintessential American dream. It speaks like nothing else to the American belief in individualism, entrepreneurship, creativity and excellence. By implementing the above strategies, you stand a very good chance of achieving that dream.