MICRO-BUSINESS MINI MASTERCLASS
Why do small and micro business owners burn themselves out doing stuff that doesn’t matter? Do they even recognise that they’re doing it?
Starting a business and the early days of running it is very scary. You are it. Everything depends on you and if you don’t do it – well, it’s not going to happen.
The problem is that when you feel that you have a lot to do and everything seems to need doing at once, it can be really difficult to focus on your business priorities – what’s really important. My default position is to focus
- on what I like doing or
- the stuff I find easy
and I’ll bet yours is too. My own personal mantra used to be “I’ll just get this out of the way…” Yeah, right!
So, if you’re honest with yourself you might spend hours on
- refining what you are selling to “get it right” to make it more attractive for someone (anyone?) to buy or
- designing a logo (hours spent focusing on the exact shade of blue) or poking around your website convinced that one extra page will somehow change the world
- running around attending any old networking event because you think you’re being businesslike
The problem is that you’re actually sabotaging your own success.
Yes, it all needs to be done, but as a small business owner you must have focus and clarity – start working smarter, not harder.
You are in business. A business needs five essential things:
- Something to sell = product/service
- Someone to sell to = customers
- Money to change hands between buyer and seller = sales
- The right rate to actually make it a real business – pricing
- To make money = profit
FOCUS AND CLARITY
Ironically, most of us get this right. Very few businesses actually fail because they’re selling the “wrong” thing – it’s usually because they are not selling it at all!
The vital clarity and focus here is to make sure:
- you don’t run off at a tangent and
- you are selling something that people desire and/or it solves someone else’s problem.
Unless there is a need/desire for what you sell, nobody will buy it. However, this is easy enough to check (before you make/produce it) with some basic market research. So if your ABC widget is really poor or you are the only person in the world that needs an ABC widget, then yes, you probably are onto a loser. However, it’s more likely that you need to find
– WHO wants to buy your ABC widget and
– WHERE they are
and this brings me neatly onto customers.
This isn’t about shouting to everybody or networking just to talk to anyone. This is about clarifying and focusing on
– your target market
– where they are
– the best way to get your message across
It’s about marketing to your “hungry crowd” – the people who are going to be interested enough in what you’re selling to buy it. These are the only people you need to aim your marketing at because they are the ones most likely to become customers.
How many times have you heard small business owners saying “I don’t like/am not very good at sales.” WHAT?
If you are not “into” sales you can’t have a business. Business is a commercial activity. Instead, of “not enjoying” sales, clarify and focus on your strengths and develop your skills to get it done. Plus selling is lovely, its about showing and chatting and making sure what you have is right for the person enquiring, not shoving it in their face or down their throat. Put aside the yucky assumptions and start selling in a way that is natural for you.
This is a personal favourite because I had to work so hard at this one! Most small businesses made the same mistakes that I did, based on some bizarre assumptions including:
– He will pay X so that’s what I’ll charge
– I’ll ignore what it costs me to produce/make because something is better than nothing (i.e. I’ll lose money)
The problem is that until you
- know the value of what you’re selling (i.e. know what it costs you to make/produce) and
- value what you’re selling,
you’re going to have a hard time. If necessary (like me) get some help with the figures. Know what your costs and margins are – write them down and rely on them without hesitation or deviation.
Linked in with pricing really because if you get that wrong you won’t make a profit. However, this is where a small business owner needs to create money goals. Most of us work well towards setting targets so you should have an amount in mind that you want to “bring home” next month and for the next twelve months. Now work out what you need to sell to achieve it.
Small businesses never get it easy – there is usually nobody else to rely on and people underestimate the sheer guts it takes to start and operate small or micro businesses. Take a bow, congratulate yourself, but do so with clarity and focus!
If you would like an extra pair of hands with this we’ve go a ‘Focus and Clarity Checklist’ which we’re giving away for free.
Just complete your details to receive it. In the form at the side bar here ……………>