Are you in the situation where you have taken the plunge and started your own business; but after the initial flurry of marketing your new website, presenting your new service (or products) to your network, and setting up your marketing programme; that sales aren’t coming as quickly as you’d like?
Perhaps in your enthusiasm to get underway, you may have missed a few key steps in testing your business idea or in setting up your operational systems? It’s never too late, or too early, to undertake a review to re-validate your business model…
Consider the below:
Is your business idea unique enough? It’s not enough to think of something that no-one else is doing – you also need to have identified your specific target market, know what (and if…) they are willing to pay, and that there are enough of your target market to make your business idea viable. Does your business idea have some longevity? Fashions and trends come and go very quickly – will your target market still want your product if trends and/or technology moves significantly into a new direction?
Have you identified the short term goals and activities that will help you reach your long term business vision? Most businesses start with an idea of what they want their business to look like longer term; however they may not have done a business plan that describes the activities needed to meet their short and medium term goals, that well executed, will deliver on their business vision. The business planning process should also identify any potential stumbling blocks with appropriate plans developed to mitigate these as well.
Have you got your branding and marketing fully aligned to your target market? What appeals most to your target market? Your service or product will need to provide specific benefits to respond to your target market needs or issues. Have you costed your products or services to ensure you both make a profit and the price is well positioned in the market? Are you using the right media mix in your advertising programme to ensure it reaches your target market? If your website is your primary marketing tool – are you sure it is fully search engine optimised?
Are there opportunities to collaborate with other business owners who might offer services or products aligned with your own? Your lack of critical mass might be holding you back in the eyes of your client – offering a ‘solution package’ might be seen as more attractive, and give you a wider reach than could otherwise be obtained by yourself alone. Research similar or aligned services and products in your area to see who’s doing what and how they are marketing themselves. Explore opportunities for collaboration by attending selected business networking events or cold-calling to test interest.
Do you lack efficient administration systems? If you are spending too much time on administration and not enough time on marketing, then you may need to upgrade your administration systems. Automate or contract out where possible. Seek to future proof some systems by buying a low level version that with the addition of new modules it can accommodate your business growth with minimal disruption. Get professional advice when you need it – and preferably before small problems become bigger problems. Good accountancy, tax and legal advice is a must to ensure your business growth is optimised with least cost.
Finally, consider including a Business Coach or Mentor on your team to provide you with an independent viewpoint, guidance and support.
If you want some help to talk through your business growth issues, then give me a call!