To start or grow your own business you need more than just a good idea. Indeed, what every successful entrepreneur understands is that you fundamentally need 3 things to run and grow a business. These are:
1. A great idea and the ability to deliver your idea as a product/service
Every business starts with a good idea that needs to be researched to ensure you understand who your target customer is, what their need is and that your idea fulfils that need. Finally you need to be sure that you are not too late to market and that there aren’t already many competitors providing the same service as you (or if there are, know that the market is biggest enough to support another player).
2. The knowledge and time to run a business
Now you have point 1 figured out you have to acquire the knowledge to run your business. That includes setting up systems for invoicing, HR, capacity management, timesheets and so on. It includes allocating enough time to focus on writing and delivering a business vision and strategy – anticipating the opportunities and icebergs before you hit one!
3. The ability to focus on the future and deliver a constant stream of new customers
So now you have a great idea and the business systems to run your business you need to focus on the 3rd essential area: how are you going to find a constant stream of new customers? If you want to avoid the peaks (too much business, no time to do anything but deliver customer work) and troughs (no clients, laying awake at night worrying where you get your next customer from) then you need to allocate a significant amount of regular time to generate future business. This includes a marketing plan, a sales strategy and a customer retention plan.
In my experience 2 and 3 are often overlooked or done poorly. This leads to:
- Bottle necks in delivery of client work
- The inability to grow your business beyond a certain size (clients often tell me they have ‘hit a brick wall’, which they cannot get over no matter what they have tried)
- Either super busy or not enough work – which leads to poor decision making (e.g. discounting work in order to win a client or taking the wrong kind of work on that becomes loss making)
- Dependence on a very small client list
- Demotivated staff that feel they are not valued
- Lower than average retention rates
- A sense of ‘1 step forward and 1 back’
So if you want to avoid these pitfalls then ensure you focus equal amounts of time and energy on each of the above 3 crucial business areas. Get in touch if you would like to discuss or get some support and don’t forget my useful library of blog articles..