Starting or growing a business today is a great opportunity. I hear a lot of dismay from customers and friends at the state of our down economy. One thing is for sure: things are not the way they used to be, and they are not going back.
Richard Florida has an insightful and foretelling book called The Great Reset. He examines impacts of geography and urban centers from the past industrial age and the transformative forces in the new economy for the information age. Technology has enabled mobility. We are fully on the journey as an information-based society. The kinds of opportunities which exist across the board for entrepreneurs, microbrands and small businesses are more accessible today than in times past. I would encourage you to order the book and soak it in.
I have found the hardest part of taking advantage of opportunities is starting. It’s a decision motivated by desire and commitment. In my work with other entrepreneurs, there is a pathway which has been valuable to frame launching and starting new ventures.
Here are some ways to start or grow your business today:
- Pick your market carefully. You have the same amount of time as everyone else. The game of business is transforming your time into money. The highest return opportunities are in businesses with “scale” and “magnitude.” Scale refers to the number of iterations for making a sale. A fast food chain is a “high scale” business. There are a lot of transactions in a day. Certain software products are like this as well. Magnitude is about the price point. Professional services are high magnitude businesses. Each transaction is a high dollar cost. Low scale and magnitude is not a good business opportunity. Try things, but pick wisely. Your time and passion go into what you ultimately pick.
- Get a real customer with a real problem. This is the best way to start a business. You are close to many problems. Keep your eyes open and work with a real customer. Getting customers is the number one priority of your business. If you are tinkering with things that don’t matter yet, like elaborate systems noone has bought, then stop yourself. Focus on getting customers. Your first customers will teach you what your offering should be. If you are fast, then pave the road ahead of them and keep their experience delightful. You will end up with an offering that you can later package.
- Package your offering. After your customers teach you what is valuable, focus on refining how you present, win and service your next customers. Ensure your systems for the sales meeting, the proposal, the order and the delivery process do nothing short of delight.
- Automate and personalize. Build systems which are repeatable. Automate where it makes sense, and leave flexibility for a personal experience. If you provide consulting, then ensure there are communications systems to help you be responsive. However, you may also want to keep the personal touch and context around the projects you work on by sending timely notes.
These are a few important strategies for entrepreneurial success. The hard work is in the details and the care of each touchpoint in the customer experience. It is not a straight path. Otherwise, everyone would do it. Think of it as cracking a code which has a reward at the end of it if you picked a great market.
I have a book which I am working on called Build Something that you can sign up for here. We live in great times, and if we can change ourselves to see the opportunities and take advantage of them, then freedom, wealth and enjoyment as well as perseverance allow us to pursue our dreams.
What would you like to build?