You have decided to hang your shingle out and start your own business. You are so excited, you ordered business cards and stationary, maybe even put up your first website. Then you placed your first ad on the internet or your local newspaper and you waited for your customers to beat down the door. And in a perfect world that is exactly what would happen. But we don’t live in a perfect world and if you continue to sit there and wait for your customers to show up, you will be out of business in no time. Set yourself up for success and don’t commit the three mistakes most new start ups do.
1. Failing to structure your day to keep you in action. And you are saying ,”I am starting this business so I can be in control of my time.” I am telling you that if you don’t start out working a full day and putting the structure in place you will never have a consistent income. What do I mean by structure? Schedule your day and create good habits early on. Most importantly you must have time everyday that you are prospecting for new business and in the beginning the more hours spent prospecting the more successful your business. Prospecting can look different for many businesses but for most it means creating opportunities for you to have a conversation with someone in your target market. If the thought of prospecting makes you ill, remember it is a vital part of a successful business and you may want to reconsider self employment.
2. Not putting systems in place. Systems for everything in your business. Especially your sales and marketing, but also customer service, follow-up and delivery of your service or product. It is impossible to measure how effective you are in a certain area of your business and tweak the system if you don’t have a system established. I know your thinking well it is just me and I know what to do. If you put a step by step system in place and document it, then you can measure the results and make adjustments in the step that is not generating the results you want. A system also prevents you from recreating everytime you must do something, which means you can save yourself time and energy.
3. Target market or not. I have watched many new business owners refuse to get really focused on the ideal target market. Their fear that they will miss some business by being too targeted has actually cost them tremendously. It is very difficult to create a great marketing message that attracts clients when your message is too broad. Would you like to be a very small fish in the ocean or a very big fish in a pond? Believe me you will attract must more business when you are clear about and focused on your target market.
Run your business like a business. Focus on prospecting often (what else do you have to do) to a very defined target market;. And always measure your results and make adjustments when warranted. Follow those simply rules and you will prosper.
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