Making your business dream a reality may be something that you’ve been struggling with. How do you take the leap of faith in yourself and go from employee to potential employer? It takes focus and fortitude and a few other things as well!
If you’ve always dreamed of being an entrepreneur, what’s stopping you? Overcome some of these fears and see whether living the life of an entrepreneur is the life for you!
Making Your Business Dream A Reality
- Face your fears. The fear of failure has stopped many an entrepreneur with a great idea in his or her steps. Be willing to fail — call it an experiment then move on.
- Be focused in your efforts. If you have myriad business ideas, choose the one that speaks to you the loudest and focus on that one. Bring in your other ideas once you’ve mastered the first.
- Start small and lean. You can print business cards at home if necessary. You don’t need a fancy office space. Work from a home office and meet at coffee shops until you can afford your own space — you may find you never need your own space. Create a small product to kick off your endeavor. Add on more options as you grow. You will want a website, but you can even get those for free and many are easy enough for those without much technical knowledge to build themselves. Save your money until you’re making money before you focus on a website with a lot of bells and whistles. If your’e selling product, though you may need a more robust site.
- Use social media to help share your message BUT don’t share a message until you know what it is!
- Look for a “team” or an accountability group. It is nice to have like-minded business people to bounce ideas off of and to help you through rough patches and with whom you can interact and offer insight. Mastermind groups are great for start-up businesses especially when new endeavors can feel so isolating.
Don’t give up on a business idea because you’re afraid. Look for a mentor or a business coach or a mastermind group who can help you formulate your message and get you moving down the road toward business success.
You’ve got a great idea! In fact you may be full of great business ideas but have you ever wondered, “Is your business idea viable?” Many of us can brainstorm a bad idea into something that might sound great, but when you’re an entrepreneur you need to nurture business ideas with legs and let those that don’t seem sustainable or viable sit on a shelf.
Don’t toss out ideas that are too vague or too costly or too time-consuming as they may have their day.
Is Your Business Idea Viable?
Here are some ways to determine whether you’re cultivating a viable business idea:
- You need more than an idea. Once you have an idea for a business, do you have the ability to drill down and make sure the idea can be a potential money maker? Ideas are plentiful, the steps to bring an idea to fruition may not be.
- Let’s face it, you don’t need the next-best-no-one-has-ever-though-of-this-before idea. There may not be any new ideas, but the way in which you execute your idea is what might make it fly.
- Is your idea ahead of its time? Is there a market or a niche available for your idea? Can you piggyback on an idea? You don’t need to reinvent the wheel, your unique personality and idea follow through can be what takes your idea from the thinking stage to the operational phase.
- No matter how good your idea is, you need to have customers, or the ability to find customers, in order to make it fly. Where is your audience? Do you know your demographic? What will make them switch from the brand they’re using now to come to you?
- Don’t force a bad idea. If you’re struggling with an idea. If you have told trusted colleagues about your idea and they’ve taken a step back or have rolled their eyes or made other such negative noises or reactions, it could be justified. You may be trying to force a business idea that simply won’t fly or that is too costly or that the niche is so small and your product is so expensive that you simply can’t make a go of it.
What is your idea process? Do you struggle to take ideas from the thought stage to the implementation phase? We can help!
How can your business stay relevant? You want your business to stay on top, right? Top of mind with current clients. Top of mind with potential new clients. How do you do that when every entrepreneur is working to do the same — stay on top and stay front of mind?
Do you ever worry you’re going to be continually struggling to get to the “top”? What is the summit of success in your mind? If you don’t know when you’ve reached the top you will continue to struggle.
Here are some ways in which we have uncovered which help our team and our clients feel as though their eyes are continually on the prize and that you will also remain true to your business and life purpose.
How Can Your Business Stay Relevant?
- Have faith. If you don’t believe in yourself, why will a client believe in you? Your fears and your worries will bleed into your client conversations. You may be the best in your field, but if you’re not projecting confidence you may not “win.” You need to be your own cheerleader.
- Be fearless. Those who push the hardest are usually those who win the most. You will fail. It’s a fact of life. How you show that you’re fearless is by getting up and trying again. Challenge yourself and you will win.
- Be a decision maker. If you’re not making decisions you are adding to the emotional stress and weight that is on your shoulders. Weigh the pros and cons, if necessary and then move forward. Procrastination is a killer of motivation and fortitude.
- Be ethical. If you’re not ethical, your clients will see that and you will be planting the seed of “if he is not ethical with me, is he being unethical to me?” Don’t waver in your ethics.
- Be healthy. Yes, you need to work a lot of hours, probably, in order to grow your business. If you’re not taking care of yourself and your health, everything you’re striving for will suffer. Get out of the office. Take a walk. Do some jumping jacks. Sitting for hours at a time is detrimental to your health.
How do you “stay on top?” What are you doing to stay relevant? How are you pushing forward to make it to the top?
As an entrepreneur you assume your customers love you. But have you ever wondered, “do your customers hate you?” Hate is a strong word, but your customers may not love you as much as you hoped they would.
Here are some things you might be doing that you think are fine, but you are making your customers angy.
Do Your Customers Hate You?
- You don’t listen to their concerns. You are so busy pushing your products and services on them that you don’t listen to see if that’s what they really need or want.
- You over promise, but you are underdelivering. If you can’t meet a deadline, don’t promise that you can.
- You always know what’s best (read number 1, again). If you’re not involved in the day to day operations of running their operation you don’t know what is best.
- You are not easy to get in touch with. Playing hard to get with a client is not a way to endear yourself to your clients. If you are working with them, be available to them.
- Watch what you say on social media. If you trash talk clients or people on social media, your clients will wonder what you’re saying about them.
Every entrepreneur wants his or her clients to love them, but you have to work to earn and retain that loving feeling. Remember when you were wooing them and convincing them that you were the right person with whom to work? You need to keep working on your relationship if you want it to thrive and be the best for both of you.
Have you experienced a time when your client didn’t love you as much as you imaged he or she did? What did you do to address that? Were you able to rekindle the warm feelings and stay working together or did you pocket that information as a learning experience for future clients and how to work with and treat them?
Are you planting in rocky soil? Have you ever heard that phrase? While it may seem that “planting in rocky soil” would thwart a farmer more than an entrepreneur the metaphor rings true. Growing your business against all odds is the same as planting in rocky soil. You may have started your business in the midst of the recession — talk about against all odds/rocky soil!
Growing Your Business Against All Odds
One reason many entrepreneurs don’t success or reach their potential is that they never stopped to truly understand who their ideal customer was, where to find them and how to properly market to that customer. Meeting a pain point for your customer is the best way in which to thrive in rocky soil. If you’re pushing a product or service to a person or group for whom it’s not a good fit you are expending energy, time and money and not seeing a return on your investment.
I urge you to stop. Take a breath. Focus.
You can’t be everything to everyone. It’s been said that “jacks of all trades are masters of none.” Find your ideal customer/s and market to that group.
There’s “riches in niches” so the saying goes. But don’t niche so small that your pool of potential clients is too small to thrive.
Don’t let a potential customer doubt you. Consider this: You go in to get your hair cut and during the appointment your hairdresser offers to change the oil in your car, clean your pool and arrange your next event. What?! Do you really want this person weilding scissors by your head when they obviously have no focus? Don’t create doubt or distrust in your ability in the minds of others.
Specialize, don’t generalize. Being a generalist does work for some people, but others find that if they specialize they can find more unique clients and make more money because they are experts in their field.
To grow your business against all odds, take some time today to draw a Venn diagram. In the three circles, write down: 1. your area(s) of expertise; 2. what people want; 3. what people will pay for (that is the intersection of where you can make money)
As an entrepreneur, chances are you know where your core strengths lie. After all, you wouldn’t open a CPA firm if you didn’t love numbers and analytics. You wouldn’t strive to be a writer if you didn’t embrace words, grammar and syntax. But do you know your core strengths and do you embrace them in your daily business dealings?
Let’s look at core strengths and see if there are areas in which you may want to focus more… or less.
Do You Know Your Core Strengths?
I believe in order to move forward you need to know where your foundation is, where you’re starting from and what resources you have available.
- Do you have focus? Are you running after every bright, shiny object that falls in your path? Focus is essential to grow your business.
- Do you have specific milestones toward which to strive? If you don’t have milestones you could easily meander off the path of growth. Define your core strengths and build from that foundation.
- Are you launching a new product? What have your customers been asking for? What skillset do you have to launch a new product or service? Are you ready for launch and do you have the support staff you need to accommodate it?
- Are you moving out of your lane? If you have built your business on a core strength are you focusing on that or do you wish to add a new competency to your entrepreneurial endeavors? It’s never a bad idea to diversify, but you do need to know whether you have the core competency to make it a success.
- Are your core strengths the bulk of your profit center? Will any diversification add to that profit center or will you be moving into a different realm than what you’re currently known for? Moving into a different area of expertise isn’t a bad idea, but if you don’t have the financial stability to support a switch, make certain you are solvent enough to support your new experiment.
Are you running on auto pilot and is your business remaining steady but not growing? If it’s the case, drop me an email and let’s talk about how to focus on your core competencies to further your business growth.