It is probably very easy to get swept along with the current trend of becoming “an entrepreneur”. As the UK Prime Minister announced recently, as part of a government supported scheme, “there’s a business in all of us”, the tide of enthusiasm is building a pace, to create some kind of self employed utopia! Having said that, it is also a widely respected philosophy that only new business creation can really get and keep economies out of recession. However, whilst it’s great to have a great business idea, it is not so great if you do not know what to do next..
For many of us with a creative, artist or educational background, having a business mindset can be a completely different language to learn. While some would only argue only learning on the job can truly give you the tools and knowledge you need; it’s a bit like saying “off you go, here’s the keys to my car”, without giving you any guidance on how to drive the thing! With this in mind, here are some business basic that might help you out when you are starting to think about speaking to potential clients or service providers for the first time….
You aint no big shakes, and nor should you ever act like one any way! I have met some right numpties in my time, who think that they have hit the big time – but come across more like a big time Charlie – because of all their provardo!Therefore treat everyone, from Receptionist to the Managing Director, with the same level of respect if you are trying to build lasting relationships with clients.
Within sales professions, Receptionists are commonly known as “gate keepers”; if you cannot get past them, then you will never have any chance of speaking to the decision makers. Secondly, the receptionist, may one day become the decision maker, and a bad impression is just as likely to be remembered as a good impression. Thirdly, we are all born and die equal – don’t forget it…
Play at Ignorance
You only get one chance to start a business, but use that to your advance. Once you become an established business, or even when you have been around for 3-4 months, you cannot keep saying you are new on the market. Whats the advantage to you, you may ask? Well, people are more naturally happy to help and answer questions, when you are setting up, and ‘gate keepers’ more likely to be just a little more responsive. Play at being ignorant, and not understanding something and you are more likely to be given more information than you initially thought. You may never get a better chance.
Research and understand your market place!
Just because you have a good idea, does not mean that good idea will be needed, or wanted in the market place you operate in. I spent the last 3-4 years of my recruitment career, barking on to my bosses that the business model they had rolled out, just did not work in my market place. When I was made redundant, I told HR that they had lost me and not the other way around, because they had never really understood or been prepared to understand that basic business philosophy.
As you are now considering becoming your own boss, or you are your own boss right now, you will have the ability to make decisions and changes immediately. If you idea or plan is not needed and your market research tells you that you need to change, either change your business model or just simply STOP.
What is your USP?
What is a USP? Here are some well-known business USP’s…
“You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less — or it’s free.” Domino’s Pizza
“The sweet you can eat between meals without ruining your appetite” Milky Way
“To our members, we’re the fourth emergency service” Automobile Association
To put it simply, your UNIQUE SELLING POINT should be the one distinguishing aspect of the business that makes it stand out. if you cannot answer this question right now about your own business, get on the case with answering this right now!
Day 1 is actually day 100
This is actually an optimistic target. Day 1, your launch day…..this should not be when your business starts, it is just the day that you tell other people what you have been up to for the last 6 months! Tweak your idea, do your research, write your business plan, look for capital, develop your brand, have a sales strategy, and sort out your legals, way before day 1, and you will be in a much better place and at an advantage straight away!