Today I want to talk about something we have all done in our own businesses and that is actually starting a business in the first place.
This follows an email from Martin in the US that says
“Hiya Paul. I am an Elite Member and you are really helping me sort myself out and get ready for starting a business. I will be starting my business in the next few months. I have been employed as a cleaner for the past 6 years and now I want to start my own cleaning company. I know there are probably 100s of things I need to know, but, if you can, what would you say are the 5 most important things you need to know when starting out in business?”
Great question, thanks for that Martin. WOW, just 5 things you need to think about when you start a new business? Can any other business owners narrow it down to just 5? I really struggled. When I started to think about this question I simply couldn’t restrict it to just 5 things, and in fact I had to restrain myself to 10 things!
So, here is my top 10 list of things you simply have to get right for your business to start well …
Number One – Finances
If your finances go pear shaped you don’t have a business at all and could land you in serious trouble. Obviously this subject is vast and you will always need to get professional advice over any matters to do with finances but are a couple of pointers…
Watch your expenses and always remember you are in business to make money … you MUST work for profit. So many new business owners just focus on getting customers in the early days they forget about the most important aspect of running a business , to make money.
Sure in the early days you will almost certainly work for slightly less profit so people can get to realise the value you provide and start the referral train going, but as we say at BSh – Profit is not a dirty word. You MUST be pricing for profit.
Of course, you can’t just look at profits, you also need to consider cash flow too. Cash flow is the amount of usable money you can get your hands on to pay your bills as they become due and cash flow problems is the single biggest reason SME’s go bust. They simply can’t find the money they need to pay their bills as they become due. It doesn’t matter if you have a contract worth £6 million to be paid in full in 16 weeks time … if you haven’t got the ten grand it takes to pay the rent right now you could easily still have to go insolvent.
When you make your sales you have to make sure you keep back enough money so that you can keep up your repayments on your bills as they become due.
Cash flow and profit are essential to your business success so if please spend a whole ton of time researching profit, cash flow, gross profits, your profit and loss statements and all that good stuff to make sure you are totally up to speed with your business finances.
Number Two – Focus
When looking at how you can grow your business, focus on one or two things and focus on doing those one or two things really well. There are constantly new things to try, and with so many different new and exciting toys to try and shiny new object syndrome rearing its ugly head, it is so easy to try 100’s of different ways to grow your business but do none of them well.
This makes your business look sloppy and half baked.
Instead, guide people towards just one or two of your promotional outlets and impress them with your abilities to do those elements really well. If you don’t know which methods to try, always remember the 3M method for marketing. 3m is market message media … you have to know who your market is, you have to know what they want to hear from you and what their pain point is, and you have to know how to reach your target market with your message of value.
Also remember in any advertising campaign or anything that involves spending a large amount of money to start small and always always always test and measure your results.
Number Three – Know Your USP
USP stands for unique selling proposition, but I actually prefer what our American friends call it … the “unique value proposition” because unique value proposition puts the biggest element of your business, VALUE, at the very heart of your business. So, you need to know why prospects should choose you as opposed to all the other alternatives, including the option of doing nothing at all. So, what makes you different from all the other cleaners out there? What VALUE do you really provide to your customers? What can you do to place the value you provide at the very heart of your business.
Number Four – Education
Listening to podcasts like this is a great way to get at least some of the education you need but do keep yourself educated and put time aside every day to read books on selling, sales and marketing, copy writing and much much more. Education is essential to your future growth, and giving you the skills you need to grow your business is at the very heart of everything we do here at The Business Super Heroes.
Number Five – Keep Going
There will be times when the phone is red hot, and times when you have to call your own contact number to make sure it is still connected. That’s life. Just keep going, even when things get tough … just fight through the hard times and enjoy the good times, just do ensure you keep funds back so that you can endure the harder times and still pay your bills as they become due.
Number Six – Find Time to Grow
At BSh we constantly press home the need for what we call Power Focus Sessions – these are 90 minutes every single day of totally laser focused concentration on your business. During this time you don’t check emails, do invoices, check your phone, or any of the normal day to day running of the business. No … during this time you focus purely on growing your business and keeping your customers happy. You can also use this time to develop new ideas or initiatives. What is essential is that you put time aside every single day and use it solely to grow your business.
Number Seven – Get Organised From The Start
Your database can be your best friend or worst enemy. If you start and run your database properly from the start of your business you will start well. Use your database to keep track of your customers and their profiles, how much they pay, how good a customer they are etc. Make sure you keep in regular contact with your best customers and send them newsletters, free promotional products etc
Number Eight – Systems
As soon as you can, develop systems to help you keep on track. Systems are simply just a series of routines that will help you create order in your business. Say for example a prospect asks you to quote, your system could be: get out the customer order pad, complete name and address details and contact number, ask where they heard about you, check to make sure they are not allergic to any products or smells etc etc.
Make sure you work on creating a system that gets exactly the results you want, then write it down and follow it to continue getting the exact perfect results every time. Then if you think of something else you can do for the prospect or customer, simply adapt the system and use that. Systems help ensure a consistency of service that is unbeatable.
Number Nine – AIDA
When advertising remember AIDA which is the correct order of all marketing letters or ads. It stands for Attention Interest Desire Action. Also don’t forget that people don’t care about you. Say how you can help your target market.
Number Ten – Relationship Selling
Be people orientated in your business and build trust. You wont get those vital referrals unless you build a great rapport with your customer. Always try and do the right thing by the customer and sell the customer the perfect goods or services for their needs – of course the customer may want something that is totally unsuitable for their needs and that’s fine too, but at least she will know the product is not what you have advised but she has still gotten what she wanted.
Number Eleven – Do More Than Expected
Give the customer an extra special gift with a large order, or send them a hand written note to thank them for the referral. If your customer has chosen you to do the work over the competition, isn’t just a great thing to do to say thank you?