If you read from here until eternity about how best to set up a successful business, you’d come out at the other end with a very large pile of books, and a pretty confused state of mind.
You’d also probably be so full of conflicting pieces of advice, you’d be as clueless as you were when you first started out.
The problem with advice on entrepreneurship is that business models are usually unique.
An individual makes a success of an idea, and then capitalizes on that success by publishing a guide about how it can be replicated. Usually by this point, the market has evolved, consumers are looking for something different, and the unique set of principles governing the initial idea will no longer yield any profit.
Given this, if you are like every other online business owner out there and a bit strapped for time right now, I thought I’d distil what I’ve learned in to five simple things.
These are the lessons I have learned about succeeding online, in one straightforward, clear list…
Your business is, has always been, and will always be all about your customers. Without them, all you have is a nice site and no revenue. Unless you maintain absolute customer focus in every single thing that you do, from product or service design through to marketing and the service itself, your online venture will not work. Nurture your customers, think with their perspective, design and innovate with them in mind, and your business will thrive.
If you are currently reading this blog post on a screen with pixels missing, or have to wait for half an hour every morning to log on to your network, or if your mouse is playing up and giving you repetitive strain injury, it’s time to invest in decent hardware. Similarly, if you are spending too much time on your invoicing, or struggling to get your wi-fi to work, it’s critical to upgrade, refine and enhance what you have. Just as a joiner will work better with great tools, or a dancer performs better with the right shoes, so you need to make sure you have the kit you need to work efficiently online without frustration. Streamline your office environment, and great work will follow.
When you first start to work from home, space seems like the last thing you hanker after. The days seem too quiet and you miss the bustle of a busy office. However, as your business grows and your customers start to engage, it seems like you have a crowd of people at your side every time you log on. People clamor for attention, vying to get responses to queries, chat with you, e-mail you…and that’s just in the virtual world. Your kids may want to see the emoticons on your laptop. Your spouse may be popping in to vacuum or have a conversation about where you’re going on Friday night…and your ability to achieve plummets. Clear space above all else, to support you to work at optimum and deliver great results.
Successful business ownership demands routine. It may sound boring, but without a clear plan every single day which tells you what you should be doing, when, you’ll easily get distracted and lose focus. Things won’t get done, you’ll miss deadlines, forget to do everyday tasks and let crucial jobs slip. While this is the least glamorous aspect of your role, it’s arguably the most important. Work out your long-term plan, and then work out what everyday tasks you need to undertake to make it become a reality. Your business will thank you for it!
I’m not talking about software programs here, but rather that dogged, steadfast determination to achieve something with your business every single day. That feeling when you wake up that compels you to do what needs to be done, and then makes you analyze your achievements before you go to sleep every night. It’s this constant determination, dedication and application that will reap rewards for you in the long-term, setting you apart from your competitors and gradually turning your online venture in to a truly formidable enterprise.
So, there you have it.
The top five things every successful business owner needs to make their dreams turn in to reality, and see the fruits of their labor come in to being.
I reckon I may have saved you a few hundred dollars in self-help books right there. You can pay me when you apply the five principles, and see your business thrive!