So, you are thinking about taking the leap and starting your own business, congratulations. It is a big step to take a dream, make it a reality and be proud to say you own your own business. Just before we start to plan our first trip away, new house or that dream car, let’s look at a few statistics that will put things into perspective.
Around 20% of businesses fail within their first year, and 60% in their first three. There are several factors that contribute to small business failure. These include lack of funding, an ineffective management team, a flawed infrastructure or business model, or a failure to market their products or services. Most business start-ups fail because nobody actually uses or wants what they are selling.
You may be good at what you do, but if you think can do everything, you are limiting yourself even before you even have sold your first product. When I first started, I had incredible drive and passion, but did not understand anything about accounting, marketing diversification, branding, sales funnels, market research or how to add more value than anyone else. All everyone said to me was, “you won’t make it past your second year”. Fifteen years later, I am standing strong in my field of expertise, because I was resourceful enough to find the resources to complete the task.
Here are a couple of tips that have helped me grow my business and not become another statistic.
When I ask you to think of a soft drink, running shoe, computer, car or search engine. I can guess your answers. Coca Cola, Nike, Apple, Mercedes and Google. Wouldn’t it be great if when people thought of a product or service, they thought of you. Branding is so important, especially today, as there is so much marketing material bombarding us that we turn off. What gets people’s attending these days is branding with a purpose. As Simon Sinek stated, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”.
Your goal is not to do business with everybody that needs what you have. Your goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe. You are looking for people that will want to say, “I am a proud member of ……” or “I own……” or “I just purchased……”. If they can encourage another person to follow their advice, then they feel more satisfied that what they purchased, whether it be starting martial arts, buying a new car or going on that holiday, was a well-informed choice and the right decision.
What we did to sell the product is not to focus on what the product is and how great it is but what inspired this person to choose you over the competition. Everything in your business needs to be branded with a purpose in mind, especially your marketing material and website needs to align itself with your WHY.
When you get started in our business you are possibly focused on word of mouth. Your family and friends like your product and tell their family and friends to buy from you. This is great and your business is growing, but it will reach a level where it will be sustainable, but not growth producing. It is like having a stool with only one leg and balancing your business. You need stability, like a seven-legged stool, so if a few legs break, you will still be able to stay balanced. What I am saying is that you need multiple streams of enquiries.
Do you have a Facebook or Instagram account where you could advertise your products? Do you have signage on your car (mobile billboard) with simple information including your brand, mobile number and website? Is your name of your business a reflection of what you do? Do you have a marketing funnel? Do you have an opt in box where you give away something to get their contact details? Do you offer more value than your customers (focusing on the customer experience?) How many clicks does it take to get to the payment page and what encouragement are you offering potential customers to keep clicking? The list goes on, but I will share one example from my martial arts business that might help explain one of my successful ideas.
I bought banners from overseas (2.5M x 1M) full colour with a great photo for $13 each. The wording is simple. At the top is says, “Learn Martial Arts”. In the middle I have a photo and mobile number. On the bottom I have a website address that is simple to read and remember. You can have multiple domains which all can be redirected back to your main page.
Once they look at my website, I use a remarketing tool that keeps me in their sights (banner ads), for the next two weeks, as they search the web for other martial arts organisations and their own interest. I also have what is called “proof factor”. It is the little box that pops up down the bottom of all pages. What is show is the last lot enquiries you have had for the past months and helping people feel confident in buying something other people are interested in and it costs nothing.
When they return and leave an enquiry, I send them an email sequence with a welcome letter & video introducing myself and my business and encouraging them to have a trial lesson. They also will receive a six-part video series, over the next four weeks, that helps them with the basic techniques of taekwondo. The customer can opt out at any time. It was my way of being with them on their martial arts journey, as I can’t attend all 37 United Taekwondo locations.
I now have their details and call them myself and help them find the most suitable location to start taekwondo. Once they arrive at the centre they are welcomed, given some basic instructions, given a white belt to feel a part of the class and when they complete their first lesson, I (or one of my instructors) give them a signed copy of my book as a way of saying thank you for trialling with us.
Now think about your business and the journey of your customer and workout how it can be memorable and how you can add more value than any other business.
I hope that my advice has got you thinking. As a business owner I have always been taught that what holds any business back is the mindset of the business owner. If you feel that you lack the mindset to take your business to the next level here is one more suggestion. I listen to Tony Robbins, Mel Robbins and Simon Sinek via YouTube. I purchased a YouTube account for $12/month and when I am training at the gym, walking or gardening, I am listening to their advice on business, people and products. What I am doing is building and maintaining an unstoppable mindset.
I wish you all the best in your endeavours. Just remember to surround yourself with incredible people, ask the right questions and you will find the answers.
“All it takes is one person to believe in you for you to achieve your dreams”