Why do you think businesses fail? Is it because they don’t know enough, are not smart enough or lack certain skills? Maybe some of these come into play at some point, but I don’t think these are the main reasons. I believe business fail because they focus on the wrong things.
Most of the entrepreneurs I work with have no business training. They typically left their day jobs to follow their passions. Most entrepreneurs know their businesses well from a technical point of view, but they do not understand the business side of things as much – and that is usually where the cracks start to show up. Trust me, I get it! You started your business to do what you love but then you are stuck doing all the business stuff that isn’t as fun. You are not simply making cakes, but you are the bookkeeper, the marketer, the sales person, and 5 other things! It’s no wonder you are spiraling out of control and getting overwhelmed! You got into business to free yourself from your J-O-B and now you have 8 J-O-B’s! What is going on?!
If you want your business to succeed, there are a few things you will need to get clear on.
I am going to tell you something you may not like, but here it goes. Your business is NOT the most important thing in your life. Your life is. That means your relationships, your health, and your finances, need to be in the forefront. Your business is simply a way to serve the life you want! So, start by asking yourself the following questions:
- What do I value most in my life?
- What do I want my life to look like day to day?
- Where do I see my life in the next 10 years?
The answer to these questions, will help you set up a vision for your future and allow you to build your business according to that vision. Without knowing what you want, how can you build anything?
Knowing what you see for yourself and the future is step one. Now we must create a plan that allows that to happen. This plan needs to be strategic and detailed, but this is not a business plan. This plan is different. It is what your business has to do to help you create the life you want. It tells you where your business is going, how you plan to get there and what you need to achieve in order to make this strategy work. It is your roadmap for success that will outline details of where you are headed and a way to measure your progress. Here are a few things you should include:
- How much money do you want to make?
- What problem does your business solve?
- What is your product?
Let me just clarify what I mean when I ask what your product is. Most people will answer this with what they sell. That is not your product. Your product is what your customer feels when they buy from you or meet with you. What someone feels about your business is what you sell, not the actual product. People don’t buy your brand of skin care because it’s the best around. They buy your brand because you made them feel a certain way. As business owners, we must be able to anticipate those feelings and if you can do that, you will create an amazing business.
I hate to say it, but what you want is not important. What your customer wants is. So how do we know what they want? Well, we don’t. But there are things we can do to understand them better. The first thing we need to understand, is that our prospects will come to us with different experiences, perceptions, beliefs and opinions about who we are and what we do. Without even realizing it, their conscious mind has already scoped us out and is taking everything in.
The problem though, is that the conscious mind is not responsible for decision making – the unconscious mind is. If they have had a bad experience with a product such as ours, they have already made their decision to buy or not to buy. Decisions are made instantly and unconsciously before you even met them.
So where does that leave us? Is all lost? Not at all!! It just means you need to do some work and market your message properly. Here are a few things you need to consider:
- Who is your customer and what are they in to?
- What perceptions do they currently have about your business and your industry?
- What are you promising them that no one else is willing to promise them?
Your marketing message needs to be approached from the angle of what your target audience believes. If they believe what you believe, they will buy. Figuring that out though, will take some work, but if you are serious about growing your business and building to last for years to come, you will do the work necessary.
Be yourself, everyone else is taken.
In closing, I want you to remember one thing. There is no one like you. No one has the same experiences, talents or even talks like you so use that to your advantage. All of these things represent your business and using your unique abilities and the strategies above combined, will get you moving in the right direction. Go out, be awesome and build a business that will last you a lifetime.