Minimize your learning curve and increase your chance of success by following these tips.
If you’re reading this, it means you’ve either started your own business or you’re considering making the leap into entrepreneurship. Either way, I think some congratulations are in order. No, you shouldn’t start patting yourself on the back too early (especially with how finicky the world of startups is), but you should feel excited that you’re taking that next all-important step.
The fact of the matter is 90 percent of startups will eventually fail, which means you’ve got a thin margin for success. Too many times I’ve seen young, brash entrepreneurs stumble through the beginning stages of their business and never make it any further. In this article, I’m going to identify a few ways you can make sure that you get your business running on the right foot!
4. Find middle ground between what you want to sell and what you will sell
Here’s a little bit of tough love: The product that you’ve come to love, that you think will be a hit on the market and you can’t wait to build a business around probably stinks.
Okay, maybe that’s a little too tough. But you’ve got to think critically about what your business is selling. Consider that American families, on average, consistently buy the same 150 items, which comprises about 85 percent of their household necessities. That means introducing your product and then convincing people to buy it is probably harder than ever.
Hopefully, you’ve already done a ton of market research and have listened to the numbers. If the market can’t, or won’t, support your product, then consider a pivot to something that has the potential to go huge. If you’re thinking about elbowing your way into an already crowded product category, I just hope that your product is the best in its class.
3. Market early and like crazy
Whether you’re opening an online retail space, a traditional brick-and-mortar or are omnichanneling, chances are you should be marketing like crazy. Maybe you thought you’d get lucky with a listserv and some email blasts, but I’m here to tell you that you’re going to have to get more creative than that.
Increasingly, millennials (who have a $65 billion buying power) and even Generation Z are expecting a higher level of interaction from brands. So you’re going to have to be incredibly active on social media as well as continuing to hold onto those more time-honored digital marketing tactics.
It can all seem overwhelming when you’re dealing with launch (or post launch) and just want to focus on your business. That’s why I always suggest that a business hire a digital marketing companybefore launch. You want to take off like a rocket once your retail space is up and running with no customer left behind!
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HR professionals know it. Former business managers or CEOs probably know it, too. But those of you who are just starting out probably would never consider that turnover is a business killer.
Maybe you doubt this. You’ve worked plenty of places that have seen turnover and they survived. Sure, a few people jumping ship here and there won’t sink an established company, but turnover can cost upwards of $20 to 30k for each employee lost. If you’re a new business and you lose, say, three or four employees just after launch, it’s going to show in the profits (or lack thereof).
That’s why it’s so important to surround yourself with people who are in it for the long haul. If you’re a small business, chances are you don’t have an HR department, and if you’re new to being a boss, you might not yet have an idea of how to hire for the right “motivational fit.” Worry not, because there are plenty of articles out there that can help you understand how to make the best hiring decisions for your company.
1. Avoid burnout
For most of the entrepreneurs I know, this step is the hardest. For months or even years, you’re working to make this dream you had into a reality, and it’s so easy to allow your own health to fall by the wayside.
The term “burnout” has, unfortunately, become extremely prevalent in our society, because we don’t know when to shut off and unwind. In fact, 13 percent of U.S. adults reported that they had trouble unwinding on the weekends, and 14 percent reported that they knew someone who had been diagnosed with burnout. So take some time for yourself, go for a walk, get more exercise, take a mental health day or do like the French and don’t answer work emails after a certain hour.
Starting your own business is difficult and nothing is guaranteed, but if you take the necessary time and precautions, you can increase your chances of success.
Eric Samson is the co-founder and CEO of Group 8A, a boutique digital marketing agency. With over a decade of digital marketing and entrepreneurship experience, Eric has a wealth of first hand knowledge and insight that he enjoys sharing through his writing.
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