More than ever these days it seems everyone is talking about entrepreneurs and new businesses. People you know might even be owners of, or starting, some kind of new venture. While it’s remarkable to live in a time of innovation and creativity, starting a business isn’t as simple as saying you’re going to. In reality there are countless things to do, learn, and master simultaneously if you want to grow your small business, and it can be quite overwhelming!
We’ve definitely felt the same way at moments and today we want to share some of our experience. Here at Big Red Jelly we help small business owners brand, build, and grow by bringing your dreams to life. In this article we provide a list of 10 tips for achieving more as an entrepreneur, let’s get started.
Already Have a Business?
If you already have a business you know it’s hard work to scale it. Every day you don’t have enough time to do everything you need to get done, and you have even less time for the things you would like to get done. So what is most important? How can you prioritize the activities that will have the largest impact? Here we arrive at our first tips:
Tip 1: Set and remember goals that align with your vision
Ask yourself the following questions: Who are we trying to reach? And, How can we do it better? What can we do this week/month to reach those people? Having a solid vision is important, but if you haven’t set goals to direct your team towards that vision then it is simply pushed to the side by the day-to-day press of less-important things to do.
Tip 2: Break-down goals into actionable items
Once you have a goal the next step is to divide it up to be assigned to the corresponding parts of your team. These smaller items have the dual purpose of allowing you to follow up effectively with your team along with being able to focus on immediate action to get immediate results. Once these smaller items are achieved then the larger goals will be as well and the overall vision can be further developed. This concept of smaller items building towards increased forward momentum is known as the Flywheel Effect and is a key ingredient in sustainable scaling.
Tip 3: Master your “elevator pitch” of the superior value you deliver
The concept of an elevator pitch is widely-known, but it is a key characteristic of sustainably growing small businesses. Whether you are looking to hire, searching for investors, or wanting to find strategic partners nailing down an elevator pitch gives you the edge in any professional interaction. Writing an effective elevator pitch consists simply of understanding who your ideal customer is and then expressing in 30-60 seconds:
- Who you are
- Why you can deliver what the customer is searching for
- How what you can deliver is better than what they can find elsewhere
A few other important things to remember are that when you’re sharing an elevator pitch it’s not just about you, it’s a conversation. Telling memorable facts about yourself or the origin of your company can make you stand out in their minds regardless of how many other elevator pitches they might hear.
Tip 4: Always seek to add value to the lives of your customers
If you want your customers to remember you after they buy from you what they experienced with you has to be memorable. Delivering added value is basically going the extra mile and helping the customer in more ways than they might have expected. Instead of texting or calling a customer why not have a video chat? Instead of doing the bare minimum, put a bit more time and effort in to increase the customer’s encounter with you and your services or product.
Starting a Business for the First Time?
If you’re just starting a business then it’s too easy to quickly get overwhelmed by an ocean of unknown words, complex tasks, and ideas that take you in every direction seemingly at once. What are the first steps to laying a foundation to a successful business?
Tip 5: When you have an innovative idea act on it fast
The world we live in these days moves very quickly. If you hope to gain the advantage in any race to make something new, starting immediately leads to the opportunity to learn faster through mistakes and position yourself as #1 in the minds of your ideal audience. However, that doesn’t mean you should forego smart business practices to do so! Taking time to talk to focus groups and poll your buyer personas is an essential part of starting immediately.
Tip 6: Think about everything through the eyes of your ideal customer (IC)
As a business owner you want to solve the problems of someone, that “someone” is your ideal customer. If what you sell could get in front of anyone who would that be? Defining and thinking of your business through the eyes of your IC can make all the difference when strategizing and marketing. Where does your IC hang out on the internet? That is where you should market. Do they have groups where they gather in person? Have a marketing event inviting those groups to come and get to know you. Do they have another problem related to your current business? Come up with a solution and market your new product/service to them. These are just a few of questions that can help you dial in in order to master your ideal audience.
Tip 7: Get the right people on the bus
This concept comes from a very famous book called “Good to Great” by: Jim Collins. The book analyzes how a company can go from good to great, we highly recommend it. During the course of his book Jim mentions several times that just pointing the bus (i.e. your team) in the right direction isn’t sufficient to make real progress. The first irreplaceable step is to make sure you have the right people on the bus, and in the right seats. This might require some position switching, some experimentation, some hiring, or even some firing, but the important part is that it happens. It doesn’t have to happen all at once but the incremental change should start happening immediately. As the right people are given the roles that correspond to their strengths and weaknesses then a company can construct a solid foundation and build toward the skies.
Tip 8: Learn to learn quickly
One thing that any entrepreneur will tell you is how normal it is to fail. Often the best way to start a business is to just start it, regardless of what you have. After trying something, take a step back, review what went as planned and what didn’t, and then try again. Starting businesses is similar to working out, it requires repetition over time to see any real results. Sometimes it can be hard to fail over and over again, but what we’ve seen more than anything is that it’s the attitude that makes up the difference. How do you view failure? Try writing on paper next time what you learned from what didn’t go right, and then promise yourself you’ll do better next time.
Tip 9: Get out of the office and talk to your customers
The feedback that can be obtained from your customers is the most
valuable information any new business owner could have. Knowing what problems your customer has, and how much they are willing to pay is a literal roadmap to success. Another direct benefit of talking to your customers is the opportunity to build loyalty. When they feel cared about then the likelihood increases that they will continue to buy from you, even into the future (this is commonly known as brand equity).
Tip 10: Have a “growth” mindset, not just a “maintain” mindset
Last but not least is to focus not just on staying on top of what you’ve already achieved but to look for opportunities to stretch and to grow. This could translate as proactively contacting customers who usually might be out of your depth, but whose business you desperately want. The results of focusing on impact and not just stability really comes across in interactions with others, and can ultimately lead to better networking opportunities and increased brand awareness because people will remember you as unique.
At the end of the day there are still many more variables to consider when starting a business, but by focusing on the 10 useful tips above you can be guaranteed to find more lasting success whether you’re just starting up or scaling your business. As always here at Big Red Jelly we would love to help your business with any branding, web development, or growth strategy that you find yourself needing. Our mission is your success.
Written by Jaydon Bratsman