What’s the second most important part of being an entrepreneur, after starting your business?
There are various reasons entrepreneurs fail, and avoiding failure as an entrepreneur can be difficult in this economy. However, there are several steps you can take to mitigate your risks and lower your chances of experiencing a business failure.
While there are varying reasons entrepreneurs fail, the most common reason they don’t succeed is that they move too quickly. Don’t rush through the process in anticipation of what’s to come. Take your time. Acting swiftly is not always optimal, especially when you need time to analyze the situation.
Secondly, don’t over analyze yourself into inaction. This is called paralysis by analysis. While you want to consider your best plan of action, you’re not trying to scare yourself into inaction. You need to be prepared for what is to come to avoid as many mistakes as possible.
When starting, do so slowly, one step at a time, so as not to overwhelm you.
Below is a method you can use to avoid failure as an entrepreneur:
Start with intention
You don’t have to be an expert in your new field: you need to have a desire to do whatever it is you’re going to be doing. Even if you feel like you have no idea how to take that first step, reach out on faith and take that initial step. Notice I said step and not leap. You want to take your time and do it correctly the first time.
Intention is Everything
Clarifying your intentions is key to understanding how you need to act, behave, speak, and show up to build the business you desire in your life.
Here is how to align your intentions with your actions:
- What is your purpose at this moment? What do you want to create as a result of taking this action?
- Are your words and actions really in alignment? Are you saying things just to say them or are you actually following through?
- How can you better align your words with actions? Knowing your intentions at this moment, how do you need to shift your actions?
Act intelligently with your first step
Use your network of friends and family to gain insight and establish monetary support to help bring your goal to fruition. Spread the risks and wealth, and it’s a win-win situation for all involved.
Be sure, however, that you’re never taking on more than what you can pay back, in the event your business doesn’t succeed. Remember these are your friends and family you’re conducting business with, and you don’t want any lingering resentment. Maintaining healthy relationships is essential to avoiding failure as an entrepreneur.
Build on this and be open to changes
Now that you’ve taken that first step you feel great, and you’re wondering what to do next. Well, I’ll tell you. Take another step. Each step you take gets you closer to your goal.
Maybe your first step didn’t go quite as planned. That’s okay. Be flexible and willing to accept changing your game plan. Sometimes reality doesn’t match your expectations. That is the way of the world, and entrepreneurs have to be able to reflect on the situation and make the appropriate changes to reach their goals.
Yes, I said it. Repeat with another incremental step. After reflecting on step two, you have learned something from this process. Take what you’ve learned, and apply it again in, yet, the next step. Continue adding steps – one at a time – so as not to overwhelm yourself with taking on too much at once. Just be patient. This process is an ongoing cycle until you have realized your goal of becoming a successful entrepreneur.
Critical skills to succeed in business
Have a marketing plan
To have success in your business, you need a strong marketing plan. It’s easy to get hung up on just one technique, but if you want to get the ball rolling in your business, have a whole host of marketing techniques are your disposal. So if you’re only running Yellow Pages ads, back up with a corresponding newspaper ad.
If you’re currently doing direct mail to acquire new customers, turn the search on its head and start running direct mail campaigns towards your existing customers. You see, your existing customers are the bread and butter of your business. You wouldn’t have a business without them, so keep this fact in mind.
Once you acquire a customer, you want to do as much as possible to extract a lot of value from them. For example, one way to increase the value of your customers is to have them send you referrals. Send out a letter and tell them that they can receive a gift from you if you refer another customer to them. Or, try getting a testimonial from them.
A customer testimonial will do more marketing for you than you ever could for yourself. You see, with a testimonial, you’re letting your customers do the talking for you. Prospects rarely believe what you say, but a second voice from a testimonial could be the one thing that makes your marketing message believable.
With a testimonial, you’re building up your credibility, and it makes it seem like everything you’re saying is true. Hearing your customers tell the world how wonderful you are and how much you have helped them can do volumes for your business.
Another non-intrusive way to make more money in your business is to follow up on your past customers. This is how you will make your real money. It’s kind of hard to imagine that the bulk of your profits will come from the people with whom you’ve built a relationship, but it’s true. So instead of chasing after new customers, focus your attention on the group of people that like and already know you.
So many business owners try to focus on acquiring the next sale from new prospects, but they’re missing out on a profit center right in their backyard. Do yourself a favor and market to your existing customers. You’ll make more money this way, and you’ll be doing yourself a favor because you won’t have to work as hard to get the sale.
I know that you want to see your business grow, and part of this will come from acquiring new customers. But the bottom line is that if you want to truly profit, focus on backend sales first. You’re dealing with people who enjoy your products – so why not invite them back for me? Just my two cents.
Make it a habit to structure most of your marketing around getting your existing customers to buy more. You’ll be stress-free, you’ll make more money, and you’ll live longer. Catch my drift?
Understand the value of lead generation
Do you know how to alleviate some of your marketing pains? I say “pain” because marketing can be a pain in the butt if you don’t know how to do it right. But if you’re like most business owners, you’re in a situation where you aren’t seeing as much business that you would have hoped to see, but instead, you’re receiving dismal results.
It’s a well-known idea that if you continue to do what you’ve been doing, you’ll continue to receive the same results. So if you’re marketing in a way that is giving you dismal results, it’s time to revamp the campaign and try something new. It took me three years to fully understand what I’m telling you – so if you can really “get” what I’m saying, I’m willing to bet that you can reach success faster than I’ve achieved it.
So it’s time to try something different. And what do I mean by something “different”? Well, I’m referring to another form of marketing that can yield you far more results than from what you’re doing now. You see, right now, you’re probably using brand advertising to get your message out to the masses. But if you didn’t already know, this strategy is incredibly ineffective.
How do you expect people to know what your business is all about if you’re solely promoting your business name? Don’t do this. Instead, leave brand advertising to the big companies who have millions to spend on advertising. Do you have millions to do brand advertising? You probably don’t, so don’t try to do this on the limited budget that you have.
Instead, focus on generating a lead and following up on them with your marketing materials. How should you go about generating a lead? Well, the best thing that you can do is to offer something for free. For example, offer a free consultation, a free report, a free video, or even an MP3 download. Offering something for free is the best way to get prospects to respond to your ad and get them into your mailing list.
So what should you do after you have generated the lead? The first thing you should do is to mail out the free offer that you promised them. Then, in the same package, include your full sales presentation and give them multiple ways to order. Next, contact them three times in the first 30 days of meeting them, and after the 30 days are up, continue to mail them once a month for a
This way, your prospect won’t forget who you are, and you can be right in their minds when they’re ready to purchase your product. This is marketing 101, but you probably have never heard of this strategy due to what you’ve been taught in business classes in college.
But don’t be fooled. This is the best way of marketing your products and services, and you can also use the same technique to generate referrals from your existing customers.
Have a plan to increase sales
Are you looking for ways to make more money but at a lesser cost? This is the dream of most business owners, but they fail to understand that it takes work and a lot of sweat to succeed. You see, most small business owners think success in their business will be a cakewalk – but this is not true.
If you want to have a lot of success in your business, you need to know that the most important part of your business that will determine your growth and success is marketing. Marketing is the lifeblood of any business, and without a strong marketing plan, it will be hard to turn a profit in your business.
Now, if you’re in a location where you’re next to an area with a lot of visitors daily, you are sure to get many new customers just from walk-ins alone. But how are you capitalizing on these new customers? Are you putting them into some email newsletter? Are you going to follow up on them via direct mail and postcards? Or will you do nothing? Sadly, most business owners do nothing.
You don’t want this to be your scenario. Whenever you get a new customer into your doors, invite them to sign up for your free weekly newsletter, which contains tips, coupons, and other great deals that they can benefit from. With this started in your business, you’ll have the most success possible because you’re following up on your customers.
You see, you should have a 2-fold plan for earning more new business from your customers. The first thing you will want to do is have an email autoresponder sequence where you can follow up on your customers. This is the lowest cost of free marketing that you can do, and you can get an email autoresponder from a service such as Aweber.com.
The next step in your 2-fold plan is driving customers back into your store. You can do this with email marketing or even with a bit of direct mail marketing. In your direct mail letters, include coupons that they can redeem in your store. Include the price of these items, and make sure that they have something like a “VIP” customer card that they can use to get discounts on their favorite items.
These steps in this 2-step marketing plan will help you become incredibly successful in your business. Now it’s up to you to go out and start implementing these techniques today. The sooner you begin, the sooner you can start being a “hit” in your small business.
Hopefully, you will put these tips into use so that you can start seeing some improvement in your business right away. If you want to make more money now, start with selling to your customer database right away. It will be more than worth it.
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