How to launch a successful business
Launching a new business isn't easy. Even if you're priming with enthusiasm and passion, you still need to find those first customers.
Plus, you have so many different things to manage while figuring out exactly what your business is and who it's going to best serve.
But this certainly doesn't mean you should throw in the towel or even be despondent.
By taking a smart and measured approach in the right areas, you'll avoid many of the common new SME pitfalls and give yourself a great chance of success.
New business do and dont's to put at the top of your checklist
Write down your strengths and weaknesses
Success starts with being honest about where you stand. Take time to research your own business through the eyes of your audience, and in comparison to the competition.
Write down in specific language what your business does for your audience, what it's good at, and where the problems or shortcomings are.
When you can answer all these questions right from start, you'll be more confident about making the big and small decisions that come your way.
Have a 30-second lift pitch
What's the most common question asked of every business owner? "What does your business do?"
This is especially common if your business name doesn't give it away (Sydney Emergency Plumbers), or you're not in a well understood industry (Sydney Data Scientists).
Of course, it's not just people at BBQs, family gatherings and dinner parties asking. Potential clients and partners at networking events, meetings, share-offices and more want a short, clear and beneficial answer.
This is where the idea of a pitch that you can give between floors in an elevator came in.
So, work on a couple of sentences that sum up what you do, who you help and why they use you. One day they could be the most important business words that ever come out of your mouth.
Don't get buried in the small stuff
Day-to-day work vs business development -it's a tough balance when you're starting out. The danger is that if you're always head down in the details, micro managing everything you lose focus on where you want the business to be heading, and what you need to do to get there.
If you find yourself drowning in detail, look at getting part timers or freelancers to help. The price of paying someone else to look after the small projects will be offset by the bigger wins you have when you're out there growing the business.
Don't ignore your existing customers for new ones
In case this sounds a little contradictory to the last point, we don't mean that it's a good idea to neglect your current customers. The exact opposite, in fact.
In the early days of business, wowing newly won customers should be the number one strategy to reaching sustainable growth. These people are going to be your greatest advocates.
If you look after them well, they'll tell others about you, and defend you from naysayers. It's priceless marketing and advertising you can't afford to lose.
While it's important to be growing the business and looking for new clients, you need to provide your existing customers with remarkable service. Some of that may come directly from you. The day- to-day elements can be taken care of by the people you get in to help out.
Share feedback across the business
We hear the term 'transparent' thrown around a lot in business these days. And while it's easy to promise to be an open organisation, not that many small, medium or large businesses can say they live up to the mantra.
While it's not always practical to let customers know everything that's going on in your business, it's so important that you keep staff in the know about customers and their experiences
You can do this easily through:
- sending staff feedback survey results
- making sure that everyone in your business reads the best and worst customer feedback
- allowing employees to talk with and meet customers to understand how best to assist them
- giving everyone in the business the power to respond to reviews online.
Prioritising these strategies - along with important decisions around marketing, finance, products and staff management - will make starting your new business a smoother, less stressful process. And it will go a long way to ensuring your exciting new venture lasts and thrives.
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