10-steps to New Business Success|
These days the prospect of starting out in a new business is a very inviting one, the opportunities are endless, your potential earnings could be huge, and with the options available to start an Internet business from your bedroom the choice often seems like a Ďno brainerí
Are you looking to start a new business?
Have you already begun?
Maybe you have a job already and are looking for something different, maybe working Ďforí someone doesnít quite fit with you or maybe you have had this idea that you just want to see pan out?
Everyday hundreds of people decide to start in business on their own, they come from different backgrounds, they have differing levels of experience (ranging from none upwards), and whatever your background or skill level it is important not to get carried away with the end game and forget the key factors necessary in making your new business a success.
Not all start-up businesses are Internet businesses but 99% of them will have a website and an internet focus.
That is why we have published the Grow Personal Development 10-steps to New Business Success, follow this and you wonít go far wrong.
Learn from everything
You have probably heard of the learning curve, itís a well known saying both in and out of school. Well, the learning curve isnít just a phrase, itís actually something that can be illustrated on a graph.,
**picture learning curve**
The learning curve demonstrates that the more experience you get, the more you learn; so the more time you spend doing a particular thing, the greater the benefit this has on your understanding of it.
Learning is something that we are all doing constantly, and our rate of learning increases with new situations.
Say for instance you are learning to use Google Adwords, one of the best ways to achieve a good search engine position quickly, otherwise known as pay-per-click, this is the cost that you bare for the sponsored listing. Google Adwords involves a lot of trial and error mixed with scientific study, in order to attain a good position in the sponsored listing, and minimise your costs for being there. Because Google Adwords costs you money, this can be quite an expensive learning curve, so you need to pay attention.
**For more information on how to run Google Adwords click here**
So, imagine that all the time you are running your trial and error you are not learning, and every time you are not learning it is costing you money, it wonít take you long to figure out that this is not a good way to do things.
Learning helps you to know what to do in future situations, and as a New Business Owner it is important that you donít waste valuable experiences by not learning from them, this way when you come across the situation in the future, or decide to tackle Google Adwords again, you have prior learning to fall back on.
We have a saying here at Grow, ĎA mistake is not a mistake unless itís happened twiceí.
This means that when you do something that you think is wrong, always treat it as a learning experience, it wasnít wrong and so donít beat yourself up, it was a lesson.
Only if you do the same thing over and over is it a mistake, and you havenít learned anything from the experience.
Learning saves you time and money in the long-run, treat every single thing in your business as a learning experience, especially the times when things go wrong, these are the most valuable lessons of all.
Manage your relationships (both internal and external co. supplier)
In business you will have customers, and you will likely have suppliers. Managing the relationships between your business and theirs is a key to your success, and you are all dependent on each other for your own and each others success. As your business grows your relationships will be small parts of the big whole of your business and if you can develop strong trusting relationships from the start, you will generate customer and supplier loyalty that will fare well for you in the future.
If a supplier lets you down, try to understand and put in place measures to stop it happening again, put yourself in their shoes and imagine how you would feel if you had let down one of your customers. If the problem persists, find another supplier, which is your prerogative, try not to unleash rage on them, it will not get you anywhere.
Try to maximise your relationship with customers, find ways of giving them better service, try to encourage referrals, offer loyalty points. Getting a new customer takes much more time and energy than keeping an existing customer does.
Remember your customers and suppliers can be both internal as well as external. When you have people working with you who rely on you or you rely on them, there develops an internal customer and internal supplier relationship, managing these is just as important as managing those relationships outside of your business.
Without these relationships, you have no business.
Keep control of your cash flow
Have you ever heard the saying ĎCash flow is Kingí?
Cash Flow is the physical money you have running through your business, it is money available for you to use at any given time, when required. Negative Cash Flow is the exact opposite, it is a deficit of cash that you need at any given time.
The reason we use the term Cash Flow is King is that without cash, your business cannot operate for very long, and struggles to stay afloat. In the modern world of credit and debit many businesses offer terms, these may be 30 days or sometimes 60days. This means that if you are the customer you buy the goods and pay either 30 or 60 days later, if you are the supplier then you supply the goods and you are paid 30 or 60 days later.
If you have a situation where your supplier gives you goods on 30 days, and you supply to your customer on 60 days terms, then you will have to pay for the goods 30 days before you get paid Ė this would cause negative cash flow and is dangerous. If you are given goods that you pay for on 60 days, yet your customer pays you on 30 days, then you have a positive cash flow situation on this transaction.
Of course most businesses have more than one supplier and one customer, and this is where effective cash flow management comes in to play, making sure you have the cash at hand to pay the bills as they fall due.
Cash Flow Management is the single most important financial factor in running a business and so the more situations you can create that generate cash quickly, but you pay at the same time or later, the more chance of success your business will have.
Donít try to do too much at once
One of the main reasons small businesses donít last is because they try to grow too quickly, they try to take on too much at anyone time and they effectively burn-out.
Spreading yourself too thin can be the key to failure, by trying to do too much at once you not only risk letting customers down with poor service but you also risk your own health that can be damaged through stress.
Respect the size of your organisation and your resources, if you canít do something then be honest and say so, donít try to bite off more than you can chew.
A popular belief in business is that you should appear to be much larger than you are, and certainly as a one-man-band you should appear to be a Ďweí. These days it is very common to find businesses run by a sole individual, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. By bigging yourself up to be bigger than you are you may think you are doing yourself a favour, in reality you are raising the expectations of the other party and you stand to set yourself up for a fall, because they will be expecting more than you will probably be able to deliver.
Be honest, offer a good service and you will be able to grow your business at a comfortable and most importantly a sustainable rate.
Stay ahead of your competition
When you start-up it is very easy to become totally absorbed in your product and managing your relationships and the other things that need your control. Very often we forget about what other people are doing.
You can bet as soon as your business goes to market, the other businesses out there of a similar size and capability that are worth their salt will be aware of you and your services. As soon as you begin generating customers, your competitors will become aware of you, you may have taken a customer from a competitor or won a tender.
Your competitors are as hungry for success as you are, they may even be more hungry, spending hours watching what you do, matching your services and they may even put you down.
It is important that you act with dignity, putting someone else down never makes you look good, let your customers decide for themselves who they want to work with, and they will want to work with you if you offer good service, competitive pricing and delivery and do this in a professional upfront manner, at all times.
Try to keep an eye on the services that your competition offer and try to match them or go better, if you see something working well then you offer it, but add your own slant to it Ė add additional value.
Add value where you can
Keeping a customer is so much easier than getting a new customer, and the more that you can add value to your product or service the better chance you have of retaining your customers and earning more money out of them too.
Good customer service and understanding the needs of your clients is not rocket science and it can be the difference between low and high customer turnover, this is basic value adding.
Look to offer additional products and services to your clients, for fractionally higher prices, make them feel special and you will not only retain them but they will also spread the word. Offering things like related products, gift wrapping, free postage over a certain spend are all ways of adding value to your service.
One of the best ways to pick up new clients is through referrals, and this will only happen if your customers have gained good value from your service. A customer gained through referral did not cost you anything more than offering sterling service to your existing client base.
The more inventive you can be the more your customers will see good value and the better chance you have of retaining them and staying one step ahead of the competition.
Use your intuition
You know your business, you know why you started in business and this will give you a high level of intuition about what is right and wrong for your business, so use it.
Trust your instincts and go with your gut feeling, you have invested time and money into this project, in your heart of hearts you will know what the best thing to do is, you will certainly know what not to do, if you listen to your inner voice.
You are in a situation where someone you donít trust wants a large amount of credit for only a small amount of time, but you know that if you fail to recover the money then you will not be able to pay the supplier and that is bad news for your business, what do you do? This really is not a risk worth taking, under any circumstances, but you donít trust this person and that comes from a gut feeling, so you can be happy in your decision not to proceed, but offer a deal that minimises your risk completely.
We are all born with an inner guide, or guardian angel and it can be easy to ignore it, following your desire or greed or thoughts, when if you had only listened and followed your heart you would have reached a more acceptable conclusion in the end.
Set short, medium and long term goals
Goal setting is vital in life, and in business because it helps to give you a sense of direction and can improve your sense of purpose.
Why not check out the Discover Your Life Purpose exercise.
Having goals enables you to take the time to think about where you want to be and where you want the business to be in the future. By setting goals to take into account the short term, the medium term and the long term you are able to break down your high aspirations into smaller parts. Separating your goals like this helps to turn your mountain into a molehill. When starting your business you will have high large goals and dreams, by breaking this mountain into smaller milestones, you each stage will become more visibly achievable.
Actually visualising, seeing yourself in particular situations, helps you to achieve your goals more easily. In your minds eye you have been there before, effectively you are training your subconscious mind to recognise where you want to be and by practicing visualisation your subconscious will help you make the right decisions at the right times in the direction of your goal.
Until you can see yourself in a situation, believing that you are worthy of that goal, then the goal will remain a dream.
Setting your business goals is no different from setting your personal goals. Visit Grow Personal Development Goal Setting,
It is a common myth that contracts are needed in business, for almost everything, for employees, distribution agreements, supply contracts, liability contracts, the list goes on.
Though contracts can be important and do protect both parties, as a small and new business it is wise not to pin too great an importance on them.
All a contract does is layout the criteria to which the relationship will work, it formalises business. Contracts tend to involve other parties, particularly if they go into dispute, and typically involve expenditure that could include legal fees, as this where contracts can become prohibitive to the small business owner.
Gone are the days when businessmanís agreements were common place, in this highly competitive world businesses have to watch their own backs. If you are offered a contract ensure you study it carefully, play through all possible scenarios to see where you would stand in each eventuality.
Remember that whether you have a contract or not, contracts can be broken and if they are broken by you then it will likely cost you, if it is broken by the other party then it may also cost you in legally defending your contractual rights.
Contracts should be taken on their own merits, and before signing one make sure you understand all of the implications of the arrangement, do your homework.
Protect your brand at all times
You brand (your name, distinguishing features and image) is something that you should guard and protect at all times, and not just from an intellectual property point of view.
Though Intellectual Property (that is the rights to use the branding) is vitally important and you should always be aware of companies trying to pass themselves off (get benefit from comparing themselves to you in some way), protecting the intangible aspect of the brand is vitally important. By this we mean those aspects that make up your reputation, in a sense it is the good-will of your business.
By maintaining a good reputation for doing good, fair business and for looking after your customers at all levels, you will increase the value of your business in an intangible but very real way.
Conversely, if you start to get a bad reputation through poor service, overly-expensive service or failure to add value, then you will negatively affect your brand, and though the effects will be intangible in terms of your reputation, the effect on your business could be very real indeed, and will take the form of a loss in customers.
Imaging a situation where you have been contracted to do some work for someone. The job is small and will not earn much revenue but you treat it with a comparable level of importance as you would a long contract that paid well. Afterwards, what do you think that particular client would have to say about you? It would be very positive, they would tell their friends and colleagues and you may benefit from additional orders because you offered good service, soon you name would be synonymous with a company that has a great reputation for quality and service.
Now, imagine if you took the job on, but soon realised that the amount of effort was not worth the reward, you kept putting the job off until the customer had contacted you so many times that you just wanted them off your back. Due to other commitments you rushed the job, the end quality was not to your usual high standard. What do you think that clients is going to think about you, what will they say to their friends and colleagues?
Poor service can be damaging to your brand and your reputation, instead of gaining a reputation for quality and service you get a reputation for poor quality and poor service, people begin to associate your brand with shoddy workmanship.
As a small business your brand is key to your growth and protecting your reputation is of paramount importance.
If you found this article useful and you would like more information on the 10-steps to New Business Success, why not purchase our eBook of the same name.
10-Steps to New Business Success eBook
Includes an Introduction by top UK Entrepreneur
Detailed information that will guarantee you success at each stage of the 10 steps
Real-life examples of succeeding with the 10 steps