Businesses don’t succeed by accident.
Yours won’t either.
You can increase your chances for business success by properly evaluating it. It is not something that you do once and forget about it. You have to be ready and willing to evaluate the viability of your business every day.
Successful entrepreneurs are able to look at the big picture to see what is working and what must be improved. If your business will succeed, you have to ask key questions and answer them honestly.
Why are you in business?
This is one of the most important question an entrepreneur must answer. It is a difficult one because it requires maximum honesty. What drives you? When you think about the reasons for starting a business what comes to mind? What were you doing before you started your business that pushed you into entrepreneurship?
Here are some common reasons for starting a business:
- Independence. Do you fee more comfortable building your own business than building someone else’s business?
- Need. Some people make terrible employees. They are always looking for new ways of doing things. They have to cal the shots. They must be in charge. It is tough for them to fall in line.
- Unfulfilled. There is nothing wrong with getting a job, if it makes you happy. There are some people who feel unfulfilled by working for someone else.
- Accident. There are many entrepreneurs who did not start with the intent of starting a business. Some of them had an idea for a product or service and no one else was willing to take on the challenge.
- Unique. You might have such a unique set of skills that you can’t find the right job and you are forced to start your own business.
- Jobs. There is a great deal of pride that comes with creating jobs for people.
- Money. Realistically, there are many people who start a business to get rich. Most entrepreneurs never become rich. If money is your primary motivator, you will most likely fail in business.
How will you compete?
Every business has competition. If you have a business idea, thousands had the same idea before. Many people actually started successful businesses around those ideas. How are you going to compete with them? What makes your business competitive in your niche?
That fact is that from day one in business you have competition.
The question is: How are you going to outperform your competition?
You don’t have to be first to market, but you have to be much better than what is already out there.
Does your product stand out? If your product is only as good as the competition, that is not going to be enough. Your product or service has to be superior to your competition.
Here is how to make your business more competitive:
- Know your competitors better than they know themselves. What you learn from and about your competition will help you succeed in business.
- Understand your customers. Your customers know what they want. Only those businesses that really know their customers deserve their business. What is important to your customers? Is it price? Is it convenience? Is it speed of delivery? The more you know what they want, the more opportunities you have to attract them.
- Your unique selling proposition can differentiate you. What’s yours? Does it really make your business different?
- Before you chase after new customers, make sure your current customers are happy with your service.
- Test new markets. Do this without overextending. When you are ready to grow try a new niche target market.
- Offer additional services. Another great way to grow and be more competitive is by offering additional related services.
- Attract the best talent. One way to do this is by being known as the best employer in your industry.
- Watch for trends. Trends come and go. Those who know how to ride trends succeed.
How will you make money?
There are those who say you must have passion for your business. I agree, but, your business will only succeed if you figure out a way to make money.
Not only that you have to have a business model, but you need the right business model for your business.
There are many potential business models, here are some of the most common ones:
- Advertiser – This website is a good example of an advertiser business model. One of the ways we make money is through sponsored blog posts.
- Commision – Affiliate marketers, real estate agents, mortgage brokers, and business brokers are good examples of the commision model.
- Productization of services
- Direct sales
How will you get customers?
Not only that you have to be able to attract customers, but you have to do so profitably.
Consider the following to create a winning marketing strategy:
- Market research – Learn about who is buying similar products to yours. Who are the customers? Who are your competitors? What is the size of the market?
- Target market – Who are you going to sell to? Are your customers individuals or businesses?
- Solutions – What problems does your product or service solves?
- Competition – What can you do better than your competition?
- Sales – How will you sell your services?
- Word of mouth
- Direct marketing
- Content marketing
- Pricing – Based on your market research what is the target price for your service?
- Budget – How much money can you invest into marketing? It is important to be able to market your services profitably.
- Test – Always test new ways to market. Increase your spending where you are getting good results.
What does your team look like?
Even if you are a solopreneur you are going to need a team behind you. No one person has all the skills necessary to succeed in business. Successful entrepreneurs are master team builders. Your team can be full or part-time employees, freelancers, or consultants.
You have to identify the skills your business needs. Then, you have to hire the right people for the right positions within your business.
Follow the following steps to build a solid business team:
- Create detailed business processes. If you expect your new hires figure out how to excel in their jobs, without detailed instructions, they will disappoint you. Before you hire your first sales person, you should have a detailed set of instructions of how to sell your services. Before you hire your first customer service person, there should be detailed instructions on how to handle customer service issues.
- Define clear job roles. Who does what? Clearly define which team member is responsible for what tasks.
- Use the right platform. If you are working with freelancers, use a platform like freelancer. A platform like that will save you a lot of headaches.
- Set deadlines. Every task should have a deadline. It is the only way to make sure they happen on time.
- Attitude matters. Focus on attitude more than skills. Most skills can be learned or improved, but if the person has the wrong attitude, it will hurt your business.
Success in business is a result of a solid strategy and execution. As an entrepreneur you must constantly think about the possible answers to the above questions.