So you have surfed the web, read hundreds of articles, and searched hundreds of websites. Perhaps you’ve printed out the information from “How to Build a New Business in 10 Easy Steps” and you feel as if you can effectively build a new business. Maybe you’ve secured some money from your grandmother and your uncle. There’s a space set up in the garage and you’ve cleared your ‘after work’ schedule. But, wait… Building a business from the ground up is a lot like becoming a parent. There are things coming your way you never saw coming, that no one told you about and that there is no training for.
Clearly Know and Love Your Product
What are you selling? Don’t say that you are ‘giving’ or that you are ‘measuring’ or you are ‘solving’. If you are building a business you are selling something. There has to be a product and you need to be super passionate about THAT product. Maybe you are selling data, or the clarification of that data, or the interpretation of data. It doesn’t matter what you are selling, just be clear that you are selling.
Maybe you are a selling an experience. If people are going to come and DO something with you, the product is the experience. You may be training horses and inviting people to come and be a part of that. While there is much expense and love and sweat that goes into training a horse – the product is the experience. Where will your customer park? What will they do while they are there? What will they take away with them that is tangible or memorable?
No matter your product, ensure that it will not be more expensive for you to provide than the cost you plan to charge. This is not charity – this is a business.
Building a Business Takes Passion
Once you are clear about what you are selling, be passionate about that product. You are going to live with this product, up close and personal. So, you had better love that product! The product is going to have parts of it that you don’t like or that are hard for you. Learn to love those parts as well.
Sometimes, people build a business around something they are passionate about. Let’s take for example flowers. The love flowers but don’t see the product – bouquets of flowers for sale. Therefore, they are disappointed when they are trapped in a cold room arranging flowers in ways that the customer has demanded, for much less money than they dreamed of making. In this case, they failed to see the product they were selling, bouquets of flowers. They failed to be passionate about arranging and selling bouquets.
Perhaps they were passionate about gardening and growing flowers, but not arranging flowers. Arranging flowers into made-to-order bouquets is different than gardening, and their business suffered because of this oversight. Being clear about what you are selling and being enthusiastic about that product is part of the gift of entrepreneurship. This cannot be said enough: the lack of passion for where the money comes from is what causes the death of many new businesses every year.
Have a Plan, Execute the Plan
Your next step is one that will never end. You are never ‘done’ building a business plan. Your business plan should be in a binder on the shelf right in front of you. It should be on the desk right at your fingertips. In this plan, you have identified the product, the selling strategy, the funding arrangements, the perceived outcomes, and the actual outcomes. It may be re-written every year, every quarter, or every month.
One of the hallmarks of a small business is that it can nimbly change and transform should it need to easily and quickly. You haven’t invested in brick and mortar or large investments – so change can happen. You are looking at your business and the plan every day. What needs to be more? What needs to be less? Are their revenue streams that you had not counted on? Is your chosen product obsolete? Be ready for change, it is the only constant in this world.
Commit to Your Plan
While the plan needs to be nimble enough to change, you also need to be committed to the plan. On paper, this plan worked. Therefore, you need to be sure to implement the plan. If your plan was to be sure to put an edible flower on each outgoing plate – DO IT! If you brush that off and forget to pick a supply in the morning, what made your small, organic, unique business is suddenly not unique. You are no longer standing out in a crowded field of farm-to-table restaurants.
Don’t sabotage yourself. You budgeted for a certain amount of time to be spent on giving feedback to people commenting on your blog. So, whether you feel like you can pull yourself away from the data and the marketing or not doesn’t matter. Your plan called for customer satisfaction and attention, but now your potential customers don’t have that personal attention. If you plan for it, do it. Chances are, it is part of what makes your product your own.
Failure Is Not Deadly, It Is Learning
Remember, many small businesses fail. Hopefully, it will not end your business, but failure during certain parts of your business plan is part of the learning process. Your plan is always moving, changing and growing with the markets. What is popular? How much do things cost? What is trending? These are the questions you will be asking yourself and your employees.
Contact us at V12 Marketing Strategies to see what we have to offer to help you implement a smart business plan for your business. We have tools to help you!