Imagine the freedom of being your own boss. You can work when and where you want to. You also have the freedom of working at your own pace. This type of freedom comes with entrepreneurship – starting your own business. Starting a business is very difficult. This is because 80% of businesses fail within the first five years. You can follow 10 keys to business success to make sure the business you want to launch succeeds!
Build a foundation by starting out small
Your ultimate goal as an entrepreneur is to build your business into a big conglomerate. You can do this only by starting your business out small. One good way to do this is to identify and define who you are going to sell to before launching your business.
Your business will be very successful if you identify a small niche or specialty market. You should then sell only to people in those markets. The products and services your business sells will be market specific. They will also be well-defined and customized if this is the case. Remember that your small business can not afford to be the ‘jack of all trades’ in your industry.
Concentrate on your core competencies
Your enterprise must have a set of core products and services which it can create and sell well. Concentrate on those and the business operations which support that. The enterprise will always be profitable and successful if you do this.
Only make those products and services which sell
Let’s face it if you could have owned the most amazing horse buggy enterprise in 1920, but it would have failed. This would be because Henry Ford’s revolutionary Model-T would have become popular. There would have been no need for your enterprise’s products and services. Following this logic, make sure your enterprise makes products and services which sell. It will fail if this is not the case.
Remember that the people in your target markets will buy only those products and services which they really need. A general rule of thumb to remember as an owner of a small enterprise is, “Make sure the dog will eat your dog food.” This is a direct quote from a successful venture capitalist Eugene Kleiner.
Set clear and realistic goals for your enterprise
Since a business is a collection of projects which generate products and services, it follows that it will only be successful if it has a set of established and realistic goals which it meets. As an owner of a small enterprise, you need to remember that the only way you can set clear and realistic goals for your enterprise is by writing a well-thought-out business plan. This plan does not need to be lengthy. It just needs to be detailed and explain your company’s vision, mission, objectives, operations, market, competition, industry, and strategic position well. If you do this, you will have a very clear understanding and a picture of the nature and objective of your company, and its position in its industry at any time!
Know the target market(s) well
The people in your target markets are the only ones who are going to buy your enterprise’s products and services. While this may seem to be obvious at first, many an entrepreneur forgets this basic business tenet and tries to sell his or her enterprise’s products to ‘everyone.’ He or she is then surprised when the enterprise fails miserably, but he or she should not be. As the owner of a small enterprise, you must know the people in your target market well. This knowledge goes beyond simply knowing the types of people who exist in these markets. You must know their buying characteristics, their personalities, ‘what makes them tick,’ their demographics, their buying preferences, their psychology, etc…
The best way to understand all of these traits and more is to create a buyer persona. You can have a different buyer persona for each of your target markets. A buyer persona is an imaginary person with the preferences, mindset, psychology, thought patterns, demographics, buying patterns, personalities, and more of the average person in your target markets. Buyer personas are also referred to as profiles. These profiles give you a complete understanding of the nature of your customers. You will be able to design those products and services which are catered to their needs, and which they will actually buy.
Only build one business at a time
As an entrepreneur, you are always searching for and identifying the opportunities in your industries which will help your business grow. You may be tempted to start many businesses at once. However, doing so will be your enterprises’ downfall. This is because you will not be focused on launching a business with clearly defined mission and vision statements, a clearly defined objective, a clearly defined market and marketing plan, and specific products and services which it will sell to people in the target markets. It is only by being focused that you can create custom designed products and services which solve problems which your customers face. When your business does this, you can be certain that your products and services will always sell!
Try not to ‘reinvent the wheel’
This is a well-worn phrase and it refers to target markets. When you launch your enterprise, it may be tempting to try to create new markets. After all, isn’t this innovative and creative, and doesn’t it create a group of people who will be eager to buy your enterprise’s products and services? Well, while this may seem obvious to you, doing so can actually backfire on you and your enterprise in many fatal ways. This is because identifying people who can be grouped into a new market segment(s) is very difficult. Creating products and services which you think these people need is even more so. It is partially because you are trying to ‘guess’ the products and services which they will need instead of knowing which ones they really need. You can know this only if you try to grab a piece of the existing market and cater your products and services to the needs of the people in these markets.
Actually doing business is expensive and time-consuming
When you drafted the financials for your business plan, your expenses and revenues increased logically, linearly, and in tandem with each other. They were also manageable. This is because you used estimated and projected numbers. The reality of business is much different. In real life, it’s possible for revenues to either not increase anywhere near as fast as expenses, or never materialized at all! This can occur because life never happens as planned. Either your customer base is not as strong as you forecasted, or they do not need your company’s products and services as much as you initially thought.
Expenses which you never expected could suddenly materialize. You are always advised to project revenues conservatively and expenses liberally for this reason.
Additionally, starting a business requires a huge investment of time on your part.
Remember to KISS
When you design your sales material, remember to KISS – keep is short and simple. People don’t have the time to read pages of advertising material which describe products and services in depth. This kind of marketing material may actually deter them from buying from that company. Remember that less says more in business and in marketing!
You need to include lots of photos and images in your marketing material because ‘pictures say a thousand words’ in the marketing world!
See your customers as people
Your company could make the greatest products and services in the industry which will automatically and magically solve all of your customers’ problems. You could also launch the most persuasive and effective marketing campaign to promote and sell them. However, all of this is useless if your customers do not feel as though your company views them as real people with real problems. If your company does this, your customers will be very loyal because they will perceive that you actually care about them and they will love you for this.
People do business with those companies which they know, trust, and like. Remember this crucial tenet and your business will succeed even in lean times
While there is no ‘magic bullet’ which is guaranteed to make your business an instant and permanent success, following certain keys will make it more likely that your business will succeed. If you follow the 10 keys to business success discussed in this article, your business is likely to become the industry leader in no time!