Writing a “how to grow your business successfully post” seems to offer a study in redundancy.
If you’re growing your business, you’re successful, yes?
There is great business growth, where you have more customers than you know what to do with, and they are wildly enthusiastic about your brand.
And, there is business growth where you are making do. You earn new customers but you lose old customers. You introduce new products that create interest, but not wild word-of-mouth attention. You aren’t failing, but you are only moving forward step by step.
You need to leap forward.
You need to hear the praise from your customers, all over social media.
You need to be building a strong, long-lasting brand.
You need to be focused on the customers, not the bank account.
There are several ways to go about creating the growth and success you need to build that sustainable brand. Let’s look at a few. You may have participated in these exercises already, or you may be seeing them for the first time.
Regardless, do them. Do them all.
Why? Because Black Friday and Cyber Monday are looming.
Your Ideal Customer Avatar
Who are you selling to?
“I’m looking to reach women who shop at big box stores,” you might say.
Okay. Who is this woman? What does she look like? Where does she live? Does she shop online or does she like bricks and mortar stores? How tall is she? Where did she go to school? Is she married? Why is she shopping at big box stores?
These are just a FEW of the questions you should be asking yourself as you create your customer avatar. The IDEAL customer avatar.
Look for more information on this exercise here. This download will help you hone in on who you’re audience is and why she will buy from you.
Learn To Ship
This is perhaps the hardest lesson for new entrepreneurs. The understanding that you cannot wait for perfection.
At its core it merely means, when the product is ready…ship it. And, perfect is the enemy of good.
Too often we strive for perfection, and end up procrastinating so long, competitors - who were more agile - launched the same or a similar product and pushed us out of the market. They didn’t wait for perfection. They accepted good enough,knowing they could continue to work on perfection.
Where did this idea come from: that "the perfect is the enemy of the good"? We don't know, but similar phrases have been attributed to several philosophers and sages throughout the ages:
Voltaire: “The best is the enemy of the good.”
Confucius: "Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without."
Shakespeare: “Striving to better, oft we mar what's well.”
In no way is this saying you should launch with inferior goods. It means, perhaps you can let that wrinkle stand (who will really see it?), or you can launch in blue instead of six different colors, or you can put your product out now, because it’s useful and necessary though not altogether as pretty as YOU want it to be.
Maybe it’s as pretty as I, your customer, want it to be. Because, I am not looking at pretty, I am looking at usefulness. Go back to your avatar. What does she want?
Stop Trying To Go It Alone
Do you enjoy loneliness? I don’t think so. Human beings are social creatures, by nature. Even those of us who are introverts.
Do you enjoy talking to yourself? Okay, but that won’t move your business forward. At some point, you need to get a second, or third, opinion.
Can you only maintain control of your brand and your business, if you go it alone? Once you create a business and it becomes a brand, and people buy product from you, you must allow control to flow into other’s hands. Your customers own your brand, you do not. So, you are never really alone, are you?
We’re back to the avatar, aren’t we? You cannot grow a business successfully until you understand who you are creating product for!
You can try to go it alone, create your avatar in your spare time, create product because you are filling a niche formerly under-served, and plow ahead with verve and determination. You can insist you don’t need anybody else (in the back of your mind you’re really worried sharing your idea will mean…losing it; you are afraid someone will steal it! Isn’t that right?) but you do.
Recently, I was contacted by an old friend to help brainstorm an idea. I was asked to sign a non-disclosure. This is a document that, once signed, requires my silence in the world. I cannot talk about the new idea, until the person who shared it allows me to.
I signed it. I wasn’t happy about it. What it did was show me that this person didn’t trust me. I had to wonder why I was contacted, if I was not to be trusted?
My advice about not going it alone is to stop worrying about someone stealing your idea. Non disclosures are not the answer.
Be confident that you are unique, your ideas are unique, and if someone does something similar, that’s a compliment. Continue with your idea and bask in the recognition that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
This does require sharing and working with people you trust. You can be a solo-preneur with an advisory board of three or more people who help you stay on track and focused.
Your Advisory Board
You can be the boss, call the shots, and make the decisions, even with help. The goal is to be open to criticism and offers of improvement. Your advisory board, or whatever you want to call these wonderful people who will be with you as you build this new successful business, is as important as your big idea.
Good leaders are good listeners. That’s a fact.
You’re launching a business, or just taking a hobby to bigger profits (that’s a sort of business, but maybe you don’t want to be a business person, you want to stay an entrepreneur), and having other ears to listen to your pitch, and other eyes to evaluate your product, and other lips to give you insight into your progress, makes for growth and success.
Once you take these steps and launch, remember you are a leader in your niche, and someday, maybe soon, someone will come and ask you to be on their advisory board.
Grow your business successfully. Don’t operate on automatic. Be flexible. Be agile. Be creative.
Ask for help when you need it. Email me. I will respond.
Or, leave a comment here. I know you have thoughts about this post. Share them. You never know who might see them and want to learn more about you!