According to Bloomberg, 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months. A terrifying number! What can you do to prevent that from happening to your company? How come some businesses become great and some of them don’t? If those questions run through your head, I would definitely recommend you a book “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t” by James C. Collins. Although the author talks mainly about large corporations, you can still take on board his ideas how to become great. After reading many books as well as undertaking research about this subject, I came up with a few important aspects of building a great business. Let’s have a look.
- The idea.
Not every idea can turn into a great business. As a business owner or an aspiring entrepreneur, you need to be realistic whether your idea will work or not. It takes a lot of courage to be able to judge it objectively but it’s important that your idea solves a problem. You need to research the market, competition and find out whether your idea is potentially profitable. Moreover it’s crucial that you are really passionate about your product or a service and you believe that you can be the best at it. After you decide objectively that your idea in fact can make a difference you need to invite right people on the bus.
- Get the right people on the bus
When you have your brilliant idea it’s time to think about your team. It’s important to partner up and hire people who can be as passionate about your business as you are. Although at his stage it might be only you, it’s important to start thinking about a team of experts who will help you make your dream come true. You will need people who you can trust and rely on at all times. People who will care about the product, the client and who will be self-motivated. According to J. Collins making sure that the right people hold the right positions is one of the most crucial aspects of having a great company. If it means that you need to let some people go, so be it. As a business owner, making sure that the company succeeds is a priority. Once you have right people on the bus, think of where the bus is going.
- Plan of action.
You need to create a strategy for your business. A step by step guide how to start it and then make it work. How will you pay for it? Can you afford it? So many businesses fail due to lack of cashflow. Don’t let it happen to you. Research your competition and see how they progress. Set your realistic goals and create a plan that will allow you to achieve them. It won’t be easy but it’s a start. When you have your strategy in place, it’s time for the next step: finding clients.
- Finding your clients.
A lot of businesses fail because they simply don’t know who is their target audience. How can you sell your product if you don’t know who you should sell it to? Creating a specific client profile is crucial at this stage. Once you know who is your client, you’ll be able to find them. You should know what is their age, occupation, education, gender, what they like, how they spend time and how much they’ll earn. Your marketing strategy should really reflect your client’s characteristic. Don’t set up Snap Chat because someone told you so. Do it only of your potential client uses it. After you find them, the question is how do you convince them to buy your products or services?
Very often people forget to learn how to sell. Although you might be an expert in your field, whether you like it or not, you became a sales person. Even the best idea is rubbish if no one buys it. You need to learn how to sell your products without behaving like a salesman. Here I would definitely recommend you a book by Spencer Johnson, The One Minute Sales Person. The author teaches you how to be effective by using 80/20 rule and how to have fun doing it.
Starting a business is not an easy task. Frankly if it was so easy, the market would be too crowded. Although it will be hard, don’t give up and always remember why you started in a first place. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Although it’s crucial to be realistic and self conscious, focus on facts and learn from your mistakes. No one knows everything so it’s worth educating yourself by reading, going to seminars and networking events. People you’ll meet will understand what you are going through and they will help you, inspire you and tell you something you didn’t know before. They are your greatest asset.