I’ve been coaching entrepreneurs for over 7 years now, and I’ve learned that there are many things they think they need to be spending time and energy on that actually aren’t that important when they’re trying to launch their business!
I came up with a list of 10 things not to do when you’re in the process of launching your business:
1: Don’t waste time on a business plan
I always see people devoting a lot of time to trying to create a Harvard-level business plan. But what you really should be doing is testing your market and seeing how your audience will respond to your product or service.
For example, If you are selling an e-commerce product, you should test it before spending a ton of money on manufacturing the product. This way, you’ll find out if anyone is interested in your product or if any tweaks need to be made based on market demand.
Instead of making a full-blown plan in the early stages of your business, focus on figuring out these things:
- Who are you and what product/service you are providing?
- Who is your niche audience (age, sex, income level, geographic area, likes, dislikes)?
- What is the biggest problem your audience has that you can solve?
- What is the solution to the problem that you provide?
- What is your organic marketing strategy (to test the product/service)?
- Do you have a plan for generating leads?
- Do you have a plan for nurturing leads?
- How will your product be delivered?
- How will you retain your customers?
- How much money do you need to make to cover expenses?
2: Don’t rush to get investors
If you can launch without investors, I would!
I see so many people get stuck after they have investors because then they can’t pivot quickly when needed. They end up having to have countless meetings to get the approval to make a move, where a solo entrepreneur can pivot on a dime and try something new.
3: Don’t panic if someone launches a similar business
There is plenty of room in the business world for competitors!
You don’t have to be the first in the market to succeed. Oftentimes whoever comes first is actually paving the way and planting the idea of the product or service in customers’ heads, so when you come along, it’s easier to sell your concept.
There are a million marketing companies out there that I could see as “competitors” but I don’t focus on them or stress out about what they’re doing. Instead, I focus on my niche. There’s more than enough business in my local town, let alone the whole US, for all of us to succeed!
4: Don’t start marketing until you have an irresistible and unique offer centered around who you are, who you help, the problem you are solving, and the way you will improve your customers’ lives
It’s also so important to establish a niche target market. If you try to market to everyone, then no one will listen!
Think of Whole Foods. They are an organic grocery store that helps upper-income shoppers find organic, toxin-free food so they can live a healthier life. If Whole Foods came out trying to be another grocery store, they would fail because they had too much competition. They would be going after everyone and reaching no one. Instead, they established a niche market and catered their business around them.
I see people everyday waste money on marketing because they put a generic message out with their logo, instead of a clear message centered around the problem they’re solving in the world. Why would anyone buy? You have to clearly state what your irresistible offer is to your target audience.
5: Don’t ignore your paying customers
It is easy to get wrapped up in constantly getting new customers and adding to your bottom line, however you can’t ignore the ones that are currently paying you! Make sure you have a system in place to nurture these current clients to increase retention and a plan to upsell! The easiest way to increase your bottom line is to increase the cart value of your current customers. What other products/services can you offer them to increase their monthly spend? If you are doing the sales for company, have a plan in place to provide customer service yourself or transfer the client to another employee after the sale. This can easily be done if communicated up front, so you sell and turn them over to your team so you can go sell more and the client gets the attention they need from the person assigned to them. We do this at D2 Branding and it was hard for me at first. I felt like I was the only one that could deal with the client after the sale, but that would take up so much time I couldn’t sell any others. We then implemented the transfer and it has worked out amazingly! Client is happy and gets the attention they deserve and I am able to maximize my time selling!
6: Don’t rely on one big client to hit your revenue goals
It makes you too vulnerable to have big one client as things can easily change, leaving you lost or unable to pay your expenses.
Big clients are great, but you need to have a large client base so when one leaves, it doesn’t greatly affect your bottom line.
7: Never stop learning!
In my world of marketing, things change about every six months. There’s always the hottest new social media platform you need to be aware of or a new trend that’s popped up overnight. You don’t need to change your entire business model every time something new comes out, but you need to research and see what options will fit into what you’re already doing for your clients!
8: Keep politics out of your business
In the crazy political world we live in, I see business owners post their political opinions all the time. Guess what? You probably offended half of your customers who believe differently!
Unless you are a politician, there is no reason to mix politics with business. Don’t let your emotions about politics dictate your actions in business. This makes your employees and customers uncomfortable. There is a time and place for it and business is not it!
9: Don’t forget your WHY!
Why did you launch this business? If it was just to make money, you will burn out. Establish your why and remember why you get out of bed every morning.
My why is to provide for my family. Whether it’s saving up for a nice vacation or paying for college, I work hard to be able to provide those things for my family.
10: Don’t think you can do it all alone!
Most successful business owners have a mentor or a coach! It’s important to have someone who can look at your business from the outside with no emotional attachment and give you solid advice. I have had a coach for years and I also coach businesses to achieve their financial dreams. It doesn’t matter how successful you are, having a coach in your corner is the best way to go.