Starting a business is something everyone should try at least once in their lifetime. It’s fast, it’s furious, and it’ll give us all something fun to talk about in the interview waiting room when it all goes wrong and we have to work somewhere else.
But is there a way to avoid losing your business and drawing a line under things before you ever even really got going? Let’s look at some business planning tips…
Focus on Brand Awareness
Prior to spending every waking moment focusing on sales, you need to focus on brand awareness (before we continue, feel free to check out this information on ‘What is brand awareness?’).
Too often, entrepreneurs chase a lead that sees them supplying goods or services to a particular client (or hoping to win the contract, at least). Weeks and sometimes months can be spent on tailoring the business to complete the jigsaw for this one specific client. This is not a time for that. This is the time to get your priorities straight. Brand awareness is the key that unlocks future business. A portfolio of previous work helps, but without a solid direction forming the backbone of your USP, it can be hard to build trust.
Your brand needs to be memorable and clean cut. People will remember how they felt when dealing with your company. Respect is earned. So go earn it with brand awareness.
Be Logical – Business is a Science
“Go with your gut”, “Believe in yourself”, “Listen to your inner voice” – these are three ways to guarantee a 99% failure rate and a 1% surprise success rate. The annoying thing is, the biggest gambles in business are usually taken by the 1% of people who actually make it. Their story can give us all the impression that if we just shoot for the stars the worst that can happen is we land softly on the clouds.
Don’t listen to any of it. Business is hard work. Business is a science. To that end, aim to apply the scientific method in all business decisions. First, observe the market. Second, make a judgment on what you have observed. Next, think of a way to test if your judgment was correct and to see if you can make money. If it turns out you were wrong, go back to step one. Learn to make decisions that make sense.
Results May Vary (unless they’re data-driven)
Drilling down further into the whole ‘business as a science’ advice, you need to back your decisions with data. If you’ve entered the business world after watching a movie like the ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ and you think a few snap decisions can turn the kind of profit that leads to yachts and home helipads, well, you could be forgiven, because that’s how everyone felt watching that movie. But that’s Hollywood’s take on one man’s story that was no doubt a lot harder than they made it look. In reality, you need hard data to back your decisions.
Clients don’t want to hear your excuses. They want a clinical examination of where things went wrong and how you plan to fix it. Your data game needs to be on point. And if it is, who knows, you might just get some sleep in year one!