We’ve all seen the promises from “gurus” of earning many thousands of dollars a day/week/ month by simply following their system (and we’ve gotten those robocalls, too). We’ve heard all the stories that sound too good to be true. For every legitimate offer for help building a business, there are dozens of sketchy, “black hat” shortcuts that promise grand riches, but in reality only deliver heart ache and frustration.
My first advice: Skip all those promises that are too good to be true. Now look at all the companies that you admire and take note of how long they’ve been in business. Are they successful? Do you dream of reaching that level of success? Do you have the skills and determination to be that successful?
Of course, we also hear stories of businesses closing their doors; some after just a few years and others after much longer runs. But if you spend your time NOW mapping out your business idea and setting a firm foundation on which to grow, you’ll set yourself up for success instead of failure.
Let’s explore just a few questions to get you thinking in the right direction.
1. Do you have a viable business idea? Basically, have you done your market research to determine if there’s a need for your services? If you have skills and natural talent, you can find your niche and be successful. Businesses based on trends or fad products have a harder time sustaining themselves because fads disappear and trends change, which can leave you closing up shop rather quickly.
2. Do you have start-up money or need investors? Opening a service-based business is rather simple and doesn’t require much upfront investment but you also need to think about the “big picture” or your long term goals. Will you need to upgrade your equipment? Will you need state-of-the-art equipment or a simple computer upgrade? Do you plan to employ locals or will you outsource tasks to independent contractors? Do you have all your business paperwork filed correctly?
3. Do you have a professional online presence? What does your website look like? If you haven’t started it yet, hooray! Hire a talented web designer who can add flair so it doesn’t look like a DIY website. Look at all your social media profiles. Do they look similar, with current headshot photo and brand colors? Do your posts talk about your business and field of expertise or are you chatting with your college buddies? Look objectively at your social media and do an overhaul so your posts and images all convey a professional, expert image.
4. Do you have a marketing plan? Yes, planning is a vital part of running a successful business. You shouldn’t look at your computer screen and wonder what to do next. You shouldn’t have to depend on the kindness of your friends and family to continuously send you business. YOU need a plan for finding those prospects and knowing what will attract them to you.
If you have the desire to succeed, you can certainly make it happen. Focus on creating a stable foundation for your business and continuously tweak your marketing plan to attract prospects.