The New Year always brings a new resolve for how business is going to get done. For many, it is also the impetus that results in the decision to finally start a business. Starting a business is hard work, there is no doubt about it. Where newbies misstep the most is in how they don’t build their business before it officially opens.Too often, the focus is on the basic operational set-up before and then surface-level promotion after the business is open.
They ignore what should and could be done well in advance of opening that will reap bottom-line rewards the minute the business is officially open.When a business does it right, they realize a demand almost immediately versus a slow build-up to opportunities long after officially opening the doors. I call this "Think. GO. Ready. SET. Reap!" This approach also holds true for a new offering in an existing company, a new location, or a new market segment you are trying to reach.
1. Think Strategically: If your business has a wide range of potential customers, you still need to target in on which customers are going to be the most likely to do business with you from the get go. If you try to cast your net too wide geographically or demographically, you'll waste a lot of money and time. If you are not deciphering how to make an emotional connection with your market by knowing them intimately and psychographically, your message will be too surface level and won’t resonate with anyone you are trying to reach.
2. Get Out: Get out of your own head. Get out there and meet, greet, connect, and confirm what really matters in what you are trying to build. Too many businesses are started in a total vacuum. This can lead to making costly assumptions. Too many business are started too stealthily. No one is aware of the business even after it has been open a while because no effort was made in advance to generate intrigue, interest and anticipation.
3. Ready Your Operations & Life: There is no way you can anticipate everything that may occur once your business officially opens, but being ready for anything is still key to success. Gain insight from businesses in other areas of the country that you would like to replicate. Chances are, since you are not a direct competitor, these business owners will give you a crash course on lessons learned on the personal and business front. The insights you gain will be immeasurable to your business' launch as well as your sanity.
4. Solutions Equal Thankful: Whatever you are selling, if it isn't solving someone's problem, then it isn't going to stay on their radar or even get on their radar. This is where pain most definitely equals gain. Make sure you have vetted and know what solutions you are truly bringing to the marketplace. When you bring solutions to the table, anyone who refers your business to someone is thankful that you made them look good by knowing where to point that particular person. When you bring solutions to customers, they are thankful because what was an issue is no longer an issue … what was a frustration is no longer a frustration … what was a problem is now resolved. No matter what you offer, being solutions-oriented in how your serve and deliver will equal success.
5. Reap Intelligently: When you realize the inflow of business immediately, it can make some business owners too confident, resulting in poor decisions in the early years. In the first few years, you should be reinvesting profits back into your business to ensure its stability. When profits begin to hit, too many business owners reap them personally with a short-term mentality guiding these decisions. Sure you've put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into finally realizing those profits. Be smart about it.
Starting a business is exhilarating, overwhelming, and all consuming. Guarantee your success by your advanced effort. It will be rewarding a lot sooner for you when you put "Think. GO. Ready. SET. Reap!" into play.
Sherré DeMao is author of the nationally acclaimed books, 50 Marketing Secrets of Growth Companies in Down Economic Times, www.50marketingsecrets.com, and Me, Myself & Inc., www.memyselfandinc.com, Her column seeks to help business owners build and grow sustainable enterprises and businesses with economic value and preference in the marketplace.