Starting up a business is tough. You’re often juggling your current employment with the launch of your business and still trying to find time to spend with your family and to sleep!
The first 12 months of launching is no doubt the toughest but it is also the most important time. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, more than 60 percent of small businesses cease operating within the first three years of starting. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission released a report into corporate insolvencies for 2011-2012 that found 44 percent of businesses suffered poor strategic management, 40 percent had inadequate cash flow or high cash use and 33 percent suffered from trading losses.
So how do you make sure your business does not fall into the trap of failure?
PART 1 – MINDSET
This blog is the first part of the series and will delve into how your mindset plays a MASSIVE role on your success and I’m not just talking about staying positive. It all starts with your mindset and if you can approach your business with the right mindset, all that is left to do is educate, network and implement necessary changes.
I have put together 3 important steps to obtaining the right mindset to attract customers.
1. YOU GET OUT OF IT WHAT YOU PUT IN
Ask yourself, are you actively spending time on your business EVERY DAY? A lot of business owners launch and start to make some money but then take their foot off the pedal to relax and as a result, lose all motivation to push as hard as they were when they first launched. Other business owners don’t spend time on their business every day, yet expect the customers to know they exist as a business and is open for business every day.
You must be actively working on the business every day. The amount of hours you spend per day will obviously depend on the amount of time you can dedicate to your business. Think about it for a minute. The current employment you’re holding onto while you build your business, could that business survive if you only showed up to work a few hours a week without any pattern or consistency? No, any customers that the business did have would leave because there would be no one there to serve them when they need it. The business also wouldn’t attract new customers because there is no marketing to say that the business is open for customers.
So how do you strike a balance so you’re dedicating enough time to your business while still holding other employment?
(a) Dedicate time to social media – you may not be working every day but perception is reality so if you’re posting twice a day on social media, you appear open for business. You can make this easier by planning out the content for your social media posting and blogs. Spend a few hours on your day off every week getting the next week’s content ready so you only need to spend a few minutes each day posting. Fail to prepare and prepare to fail!
(b) Respond to EVERY email and enquiry every day. A great way to stay on top of this is to have your emails available on my phone so you are able to respond when you have a spare moment throughout the day. That means it’s not ‘banked up’ as a massive task for when you get home from work and also gives the perception that you’re open for business.
(c) Delegate where you can! If you don’t have time to write a blog twice a month, pay someone to do it for you. There are plenty of University students you could engage with who are looking for extra income and know how to research. There are also websites such as UpWork which offer services where you can pay someone to do all the research and write a first draft for you. You can also delegate out the management of your social media if you don’t have time to manage it yourself. JadeStart offers this service along with a number of other social media management companies around Australia.
2. DON’T TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER
This one is the key! I hear so many business owners saying “I just couldn’t secure any customers”. I don’t agree with that statement because it has multiple things wrong with it:
(a) you need to polish up on your sales skills. A good salesman knows how to convince you that you need something without being pressured, almost like inception. They remove the obstacles you place in front until you have no reason for saying no. I’m not saying you have to be that good, but basic sales training is a must. Often all that is required is knowing how your product or service can provide a solution to a problem that your target market have.
(b) you’re giving up too easy. Whenever we are faced with an obstacle, do we place our heads in the sand like an ostrich and wait for the obstacle to grow legs and walk away or do we find a way to get around the obstacle? There is an answer for every problem you just have to find it.
Research has shown that the ostrich approach is because we don’t actually understand what stress is. We become stressed because the environment around us is confining and restricting and we are in desperate need of growing past it to feel more comfortable again. Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski describes stressful times as actually times of growth and if we use adversity properly with our business, we can grow our business through adversity.
3. STAY POSITIVE
If you’re applying all of the above, then stay positive. By keeping positive you’re not stressing and you’re able to identify what is and isn’t working with your marketing, presentation of your business and customer relations. Your business WILL succeed if you’re offering a solution to a problem the customer has. You just have to be driven, motivated and humble enough to get the customers for your business.