Before beginning my own entrepreneurial journey I became obsessed with studying the business world’s high achievers. Why? Because I was convinced there was some ‘trick’ or hidden secrets to their success that without fully understanding I would fail at business. After reading a lot of egotistical books I realized I my theory was both correct and, frankly, also totally wrong!
From reading & studying the behaviors of many hyper successful people I began to notice a trend…most of what they had done, were doing and continue to do was just plain old good common sense. No tricks involved! Nonetheless, I’m not knocking their abilities or successes because following good common sense when you are heavily emotionally attached to your business (your baby) is extremely hard! To stay impartial and objective about your business is nearly impossible but those at the top manage for the most part to do so. This being said, they also know when to fight for their dream, ignore others and pursue their goals because they can truly see the vision where others cannot.
However, when analyzing and contrasting these entrepreneurs’ actions in the beginning stages I began to see another pattern. It wasn’t a trick, nor was it a secret, but more habits and processes that each and every one of them followed when launching their start-ups. Below I have outlined these 7 steps so we soon-to-be effective entrepreneurs can follow them to success too!
1) A good idea & the confidence to try
Of course every entrepreneur has to launch themselves into business with a good idea. Your conception of your product or service is the first vital step. Added to this, it’s having the guts, confidence and self-belief to try. If you have a good idea and you know you’re the man (or woman) for the job then start the ball rolling!
2) Your business is only as good as your research
Before running with this good idea (or spending hundreds, potentially thousands, on bringing it to market) it’s is imperative to have done extensive, non-biased, concrete research. Just because you think your new idea is the next best thing since sliced bread, doesn’t mean anyone else does. Be clear what you are doing, study your target market, conduct the tests & research, and then get ready to develop your business.
3) Marketing that actually works
Now you have a clear understanding of what your business does and who will want to buy your product or service, talk to them! One of the biggest mistakes a start-up can make, and I have done it too, is to market themselves incorrectly. It’s expensive, pointless and can knock your confidence. Just because an advertising opportunity is offered to you, it doesn’t mean you have to take it or that it’s right for your business. The most common reason we fall for ineffective marketing is because it comes along at a cheap rate or is so glitzy it dazzles us into a false security. Don’t be fooled. Understand where your target market engages with advertising and go there. Clarify the advertising opportunity has the correct audience reach, industry experience and an appropriate price. Then set about producing direct, quality marketing that speaks to your potential customers.
4) Keep an eye on the numbers
Watching and understanding your business finances is probably one of the most important aspect of any business, start-up or otherwise. It’s so easy, particularly if you’re not someone who likes maths or numbers, to become distracted by ‘running your business’ and lose sight of your financial situation. Running your business means understanding every aspect and making sure it makes viable sense. Therefore monitor your funds, understand the consequences of your outgoings versus the potential income and keep your eye on the numbers. No one wants to go bust because they don’t like reviewing a few numbers. If you’re really adverse to accounting then hire a professional, they are worth the money if they keep you afloat!
5) Implementation & strategy
Now your good idea is being advertised to the right markets, you understand your break-even point and everything is full steam ahead it’s crucial to have a delivery strategy and quality implementation. If you know where you are going, how, why and you implement a quality service on a daily basis your customer experience will be so satisfying and fulfilling that customers will have to invest in your brand. So many businesses fail, not because their idea wasn’t good enough, but because their implementation comes off as sloppy, weak and not customer focused.
6) Time management & early starts
Along with implementation, you need to have impeccable time management skills. Not just when delivering your product/service to your customers but also when running the engine behind your business so it’s effective and smooth. Every aspect of your business needs to be time managed, scheduled and completed; including those accounts! But how do you fit all this into one day? Do what the most successful people in the world do, get up earlier than anyone else and get cracking! The most effective and successful people rise before 6.30 A.M. to clock those extra hours before their competitor’s even rise. If you want to be successful, learn to love early mornings.
7) Network your way to a better you
Finally, make sure you continuously build your network. We’ve all heard the saying ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ but it’s true. However, I don’t mean that if you don’t know Richard Branson you won’t make it as an entrepreneur. What I believe it means, and have noted from studying so many successful entrepreneurs, is that the most powerful tool anyone has is other people. Networking increases your chances of meeting clients but also other business owners who can support you, give you other great industry connections and advise you. People invest in people, once you make good connections they will advocate for you, help you develop as an entrepreneur and tell you if you’re about to make a huge mistake! The more you surround yourself with proactive, successful and driven people, the faster and better you will become a successful entrepreneur - it’s contagious!
I believe if you follow these 7 steps and try a dose of good common sense too anyone can start creating their successful start-up and begin their entrepreneurial journey with a high!
Joanna Booth is a young entrepreneur in the UK with a great attitude and an excellent blog. Read more from Joanna here: http://mybizupdate.tumblr.com/