When many entrepreneurs begin their new venture, they often believe that things are going to just “sort” of happen.  You know, we’ll come up with some financial projects for our business plan, find a location, open for business, customers will love us and we’ll grow like gangbusters.  Right?

Unfortunately, the startling reality for many new businesses is that the “grow like gangbusters” phase often takes a lot longer than you originally projected.  Why?  Well, sometimes new entrepreneurs go into business with incorrect assumptions.  These can range from the amount of funds needed to start the company to the lift they expect from their marketing campaigns or just the amount of initial/repeat business they will get.

This is why we often advise those bight-eyed and bushy tailed entrepreneurs that come and see us for a consultation that they need to “double down” on their numbers.  No matter how good their assumptions are, they will need to double the amount of money, time and effort they originally thought they would need if they are going to be successful.  We then also tell them that they need to focus on the following:

Marketing.  Build it and they will come.  Well…only if customers have a need which you can satisfy, know where to find you and can see that you have benefits that your competitors don’t.  In order to communicate all of the above to your new would be customers; you better make sure you have a marketing plan.  And sorry, word of mouth is not a marketing plan.  It is a component of your marketing plan, and in all honesty it’s one of the “weaker” ones as you are “hoping” that your customers will go out and sing your praises to everyone they meet.  Instead, come up with 6-10 mechanisms that you will use to promote your company/product and actively work on them each day.  They don’t have to be expensive, but you do need a plan and a number of marketing vehicles if you seriously want to survive the startup phase.

Sales.  Marketing brings the people to your establishment.  Sales then conveys what you have to offer and why the customer should purchase it.  Without marketing you have no sales.  Without sales, you have no work to perform or products to make or services to provide.  Thus always remember this; no matter what you “do” in your business, that is actually the tertiary stage of operations.  You are a marketer FIRST, a sales person SECOND and then (and only then) are you a baker, nail technician, bookkeeper, dance instructor, socialite, etc.

Good customer service.  We’ve spoke about this topic at length, but it needs to be emphasized.  If you want customers to come back, make sure you offer good service.  You can be the best at what you do and offer the best product, but if the customer has a bad experience, you can kiss their repeat business goodbye.

Shoot for the moon.  Sometimes us humans really want to be failures but at other times we are just afraid to succeed.  Honestly, sometimes we are petrified by what would happen if things actually went well.  What if I got that job in California?  Then I’d have to uproot my family and move to take it.  What if our business grew at 500% next year?  Man, we’d have to hire people and I’d be really busy.  I kind of like things they way they are.  Maybe I just won’t try to grow “that” much next year.  Well let us clue you in on something; it’s actually fun to deal with some of those problems.  So don’t sell yourself short.  Don’t be afraid if your wildest dream comes true.  Shoot for the moon and deal with the “problems” once you have them, not before you get them.  Trust us; we think you’ll be happy with the result.