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10 Things to Think About Before Starting Your First Business
Getting involved in a business you have little knowledge of
“If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable.” -Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Being a first-time entrepreneur is never an excuse when starting your own business. You need to equip yourself with profound knowledge and investigate about what you want to establish. Research! Zero knowledge about the products and services you want to offer will surely result to failure. Take advantage of living in a digital age where you can fish out anything from the Web.
Choose a product or service that you like personally or if you like to offer something new, make sure you have used or experienced it yourself.
Finally, find a mentor, a businessman with years of experience, and never hesitate to ask about the best business models and strategies.
Relying on a fortune-teller in predicting the future of your business
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”-Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Stop daydreaming and accept the fact that we simply cannot predict the future. Nobody is certain about what is to happen tomorrow, the next day, next month, next year, or next season. Your favorite psychics and the books famous astrologers have written are not 100% reliable.
Starting a business requires a lot of risk management strategies. You have to plan ahead. Do not get over confident when you feel that your business is earning in the first few months. Success does not end there. Expect misfortunes such as economic downturn, change of trends, and tough competitions that can drag your business to where it came from—back to the bottom.
Business is a game of chess. Learn how to defend your brand by thinking seriously first before making a move. Set up back-up plans, find better strategies, and plot periodical goals that you should achieve every week or every month.
Find no excuse for not organizing plans from A to Z, you know there are 26 letters in the English alphabet.
Hiring someone who does not fit the job
“People are definitely a company's greatest asset. It doesn't make any difference whether the product is cars or cosmetics. A company is only as good as the people it keeps.” -Mary Kay Ash
As much as possible, look for someone who has a positive attitude towards the job. Your employee will be the first promoter of your brand, next to yourself, so make sure that he could carry that responsibility in and outside the working place.
It is true that your staff reflects the kind of product or service your business provides as they are your number one advocates who can testify to the customers how useful, how good, how delicious, how valuable, or how reliable the product or service is.
Moreover, hire someone who has a positive outlook in life, someone who can still manage to smile even when undergoing stressful situations at work. Fitting the job is not only measured by a person's professional experiences and technical skills but also by being someone who can positively influence the people around him.
Not participating in community activities
“If you don't drive your business, you will be driven out of business.” -B. C. Forbes
You may have the cheapest and tastiest burger in town but if only a few knows about it, success will be a very long road to go. Thus, marketing your product is one of the top priorities in business.
One of the most effective methods in endorsing your new product or service is becoming visible in your local community. Join simple school events or town activities where you can become a minor sponsor or set up a small decorated booth. You can give free stuffs to people passing by, run special sales, or offer free services and promos. Connect with your local customers and make them remember your brand by spreading informative materials, such as flyers and discount coupons.
Not talking to strangers
“Personal relationships are always the key to good business. You can buy networking; you can't buy friendships.” -Lindsay Fox
A good entrepreneur is a good communicator. However, this doesn't mean that you need to be a fluent public speaker who always gives long speeches in front of a big crowd, You simply need to be someone who is willing to reach out to new circles by expanding your personal network.
You may use your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other social media accounts but remember that nothing beats the old-fashioned way of joining a friend’s barbecue party, tagging along group dates, or attending a neighbor’s wedding to get acquainted with different people.
Make yourself visible and approachable but don’t get too excited, boasting your tastiest burger. Make friends first and eventually they will discover who you are and learn about your business.
Not listening to other people
“Take good care of your employees, and they’ll take good care of your customers, and the customers will come back.”-J. Willard Marriott
No man, as they say, is an island. Yes, you make the final decisions, but your ideas aren't always the best. Learn when to stop talking and when to start listening. Hear out your working team's suggestions because building a strong communication and relationship with them is the foundation of a good business.
Give your staff a chance to ask questions and give honest comments regarding their working environment. Choose a time in a week where they can talk about their day to day experiences and convince them to think of better ways to achieve the goals of your organization. In return, be honest to your staff and do not be afraid to admit mistakes. Learn to listen even to the smallest idea and make sure to leave a compliment or a simple “thank you”.
Telling customers they are not always right
“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” -Sam Walton
Get ready for impatient, irate, and choosy customers. If you're too lucky then you don't have to worry about them but that only applies in movies. You can't please everybody and that is also true in business. Always prepare yourself and your staff for arrogant shoppers, people who are having a bad day, and folks who just want to act intimidating.
To handle an angry customer, you must be patient. Instead of adding fuel to the fire, extinguish it by staying calm and being responsive to his needs. Whether who is right or wrong, it is important to stay humble and choose the customer over your pride. Learn how to apologize when you make a mistake and how to disagree when you are right in the kindest way as possible.
Leaving everything to your staff
“Rank does not confer privilege or give power. It imposes responsibility.” -Peter Drucker
You may not realize it but your behavior is always being monitored by your employees. Therefore, as an owner and manager, it is truly important that you become a good role model by practicing what you preach.
Lead by example. Most of the time, you've got to act as a part of the team and not as the head of an empire. Avoid giving simple chores, like stirring your own coffee, that you can easily do by yourself.
Setting up a positive atmosphere is your responsibility. Be cheerful and carry that positive aura until it reaches your staff and customers. Use your power for the benefit of the whole organization, not for your own pride and ego.
Going for cheaper and visually attractive products
“Your customers are judging every aspect of every transaction and rating everything, from friendliness of people to ease of doing business to quality of product to service after the sale.” -Jeffrey Gitomer
To adapt in today's competitive world, many companies have diverted to selling cheaper items because more customers tend to buy cheaper products or go for less expensive services. However, what is usually being overlooked here is the value of quality.
Selling cheap pairs of shoes may draw a lot of customers at first but will those customers come back for more? Cheaper items may attract a crowd but quality will always be the top factor in gaining market advantage. Brands of higher quality are not easily forgotten by consumers. They may try the cheaper ones but they will always come back for the best.
It is also important that you are confident with your product or service so it will be easier for you to endorse them to others.
Believing in the word INNOVATION
“Changes call for innovation, and innovation leads to progress.” -Li Keqiang
As seasons change, trends and people also change. Change is the only constant thing in this world and you cannot change that. Befriend this reality and you will surely be ahead of others.
Find new ways to promote your business and be versatile when it comes to the changes in the market. Create new products or develop the existing ones according to the changing needs of consumers. Don’t just think outside of the box, everybody’s already doing that. Think outside of the wrapper as well.
Investigate and gather suggestions from different types of people for you to come up with fresh ideas. Add creativity and twists to your business because originality truly matters.