here is a formula to being successful in business. Most fail because they don’t follow the fundamentals of this tried and true methodology. Part of that learning is avoiding the five biggest mistakes business owners make. If you want to ensure fast and continued success in business, here are five keys to your ongoing success.
#1 If you try to be everything to everyone, you’ll usually just attract no one…
You’ve got to focus your energy on those you can really help. There are two things you need to be absolutely clear on.
First, as you would have heard many times before, it is vitally important to define your audience – who is your ideal customer/ client? Maybe you are struggling trying to figure that out. It’s OK – most of us do! Here is one easy way to work it out. Imagine you have way too many clients, like ten times more than you can possibly handle – OK, just play along with me. Now imagine you need to get rid of 90% of them. Those you would keep equal your ideal client.
Second, you have to be really, really clear on the specific problem you solve for this ‘ideal client’. When you are clear on these two things, you can focus your marketing, sales and product/service on their needs. Your marketing now has a chance of getting their attention. General or broad base marketing tends to get no one’s attention. It needs to speak to a defined audience, not to everyone. This is one of the biggest mistakes that sends good businesses to the wall.
Now here’s the thing: You can have multiple ‘ideal clients’ and multiple ‘specific problems’. Just ensure each marketing campaign focuses on only one of each. That’s the key.
#2 Where are your ideal prospects?
(Hint: Most of them are not even thinking of coming into your place of business.)
Even if you have a prime location on a busy street, generally people will still want to check you out online before getting in the car.
The point to remember here is that it’s convenient for people to access the internet from wherever they are so having a very good online shopfront is essential. You may not need to sell your products/services online (although for most that is usually a good idea) but you still need online visibility.
Remember that when someone looks you up online, they’re likely to come across your competitors as well. How do you measure up? Will you be the most attractive option? Or will your competitors’ online presence overpower your ideal prospect and render your marketing efforts worthless?
Make sure you have a good, powerful online presence regardless of whether your business is online or not.
#3 Are you ‘broke’ and don’t even know it… It happens more often than you think!
Don’t laugh! There are many businesses that went broke before they knew it.
Right now do you know what’s in your bank account within a few dollars? What is your new customer acquisition cost? Do you know your conversion rate? Your average transaction value? Your average profit margins? Do you know any of these figures?
The less of these you know, the more precarious a situation you put yourself in. You don’t need to know every number associated with your business, but you must know the five to six major key numbers.
The key point here is that you need to know the major numbers that determine the health of your business – at all times!
#4 Hiring desperately usually only leads to frustration and re-hiring
Too many business owners wait until it’s almost too late to hire a new team member. When they are desperate they can recruit recklessly. It’s a sure way to fail. Why? Because you usually get the wrong person; pay more than you should; or, just end up with someone who isn’t a good fit. Instead, plan ahead. The ideal time to hire someone is when you can afford half their salary. By hiring smartly, the investment should benefit your business thus making the other half affordable.
Most wait until they can afford 110% of their salary, which is often far too late. When you wait until you have too many clients to handle before realising you need to hire someone – that’s too late, isn’t it? The stress and the desperation builds and you’ll have a tendency to take anyone. Breathe in, relax, plan ahead and take your time. Prepare ahead to hire the best person for the position and ensure that you create an environment that would make them want to stay. This reduces your stress and the stress of your new team member. Planning ahead means you are focused on building your business and making it happen, rather than reacting and hoping it will work out.
Remember, hope is not a strategy.
#5 Did you know you are hard-wired to fail at business? That is unless you do this one thing…
It’s natural but deadly to business. We are hard-wired to do this one thing, this one-thing can kill your business. We are naturally disposed to think like business owners but that’s the problem.
The secret is, to think like your prospect. Not only think, but to feel from your ideal customer’s perspective right down to knowing their reaction to certain words. Most business owners say they think from their prospects’ perspective but the reality is that it’s only a fleeting thought here and there.
In these times the problem is that we are bombarded with information and messages 24/7. With access to the internet, virtually all the time via phones and computers – there are just way too many messages for any one person to handle.
Our brain is pretty cool. It filters out all the unnecessary messages. For example, maybe my daughter has sprained her ankle and I am trying to find something to fix it. My brain is focused on finding that solution. If I see a message that says “How to fix a sprained ankle fast!” – that would likely get my attention.
Imagine if that same business said: “We help you stay healthy”. It’s the same company, but they wanted to be broad and capture everyone in their marketing. This message would be filtered out. It didn’t trigger the emotional response needed. It didn’t use the key words I had in my head.
Now do you see how powerful it is to really think like your prospect? Only then can you tailor your marketing to speak to your ideal prospect directly and intimately. You want them to react, by saying to themselves something like; “That person gets me, they really understand what I want. I need to speak to them and now!” That’s powerful, but you can only do it when you’re deeply focused on your ideal prospect. Re-wire your brain, think like your prospect and stop thinking like a business owner. It will help ensure your continued success.