Ever thought about how our grand-parents coped with tough-times? It was their mental resilience. Arguably, they were different times, but it does seem society works in 60-70-year cycles. So, here we are, again, facing one of the greatest existential threats to our way of life.
To rise through it, we must develop character and resilience, because, in life, it doesn’t matter what happens to you, it’s how you react to it, that is the key- “stuff” happens. The ability to getting through it all is somehow, try to keep moving forward, towards hope; then our resilience will naturally develop. Remember the Stockdale Paradox?
We WILL get over it! How do I know? When I ask my parents, who survived WWII, they keep reminding me, that this will pass, just like the War. The lesson here is: “nothing is permanent”. What’s good, turns bad, and what’s bad turns, good, and there is no pleasure with pain, the two go hand-in-hand.
We are facing unprecedented times, so the “rule book” has been thrown out, NOW is the time to create the future we have dreamed of for ourselves. For some of us those shackles have been broken, for others, it’s the “Chicken Little” approach. Now is the time to figure what REALLY matters. Those material possessions we have strived for, may not be relevant in the future, as many of us have come to the realisation, that external happiness is an illusion. It must come from within and for many of us, we now have that clarity of thought, (due to the Lockdown); it may be time to reboot. Just like the old Soul II Soul song, “Keep On Movin”, don’t stop!
Are you wondering why most startup businesses seem to fail? Perhaps that they are built on an unstable platform or around an unsustainable basis.
Based on 27 years of my own experiences as an entrepreneur, here are my 15 Golden Rules for startups to avoid some of the greatest pitfalls when starting a business.
Rule #1: Start your business with a REAL purpose in mind: Do something you love and are good at, that people need and you can make money from, then passion will be your driver. The Japanese call it “Ikigai”
Rule #2: Your business MUST create wealth for you and your family. Otherwise, it can ultimately lead to heartache, headache, and opportunity cost.
Rule #3: Don’t JUST focus on making money: Aim to become the best in the world at what you do, then the money will come.
Rule #4: Trust and credibility are cornerstones for a successful business: No trust, no credibility, no business! So, build yourself into an expert!
Rule #5: Listen to your market (carefully): Having the right customer insights can save you a lot of time, effort, and money!
Rule #6: Learn to solve a complex problem: The more complex it is, the more money you can make!
Rule #7: Timing is the MOST important factor in business success, your team is second, then factors such as business model, idea, funding arrangement, etc.
Rule #8: Forget about writing a business plan: Instead spend that time and effort finding a customer, learning to understand their needs, and creating a solution for them. (The plan comes when you have worked out what you are doing).
Rule #9: No money to start? Then you have to “hustle”. Become a “deal maker”, broker, or help someone solve his or her problem.
Rule #10: Learn the rules of the “Industry Game”: Who are the major players and your competitors in your industry, who are the ones to watch out for, and who are the “400-pound Gorillas?” Then go develop a profitable niche. Who knows? They may need you one day!
Rule #11: Learn to form alliances and partnerships: having trust and credibility is a starting point, but having something to offer them, (such as a way to make or save money), will be the decisive factor.
Rule #12: “Traditional” marketing does not work for Startups as: “nobody cares about your business”. Instead, find someone that will, by providing them a solution to their problem.
Rule #13: Learn to delight your customers: Give them a reason to talk about your business (in a good way of course): by under-promising and delivering above their expectations.
Rule #14: Get to market as soon as possible: Don’t wait for your product or service to be “perfect”. Customers aren’t looking for perfection, but rather function; 80% is near enough. Launch your product, get their feedback, and improve along the way.
Rule #15: Always begin with the “exit” in mind: Understanding how you will “exit” the business will ultimately determine your path and long-term strategies.
I hope that has given you some insight into the challenges of starting a business as an entrepreneur.
The main takeaway is: start with a purpose and get to market as quickly as possible; 80% is near enough (as long as it works and is not crappy), the customer’s feedback will steer you in the right direction. So, listen, learn, and repeat until you are able to reach excellence!
Every Cloud has a silver lining and now is the time to transform your life and innovate your business for a “Post” Corona Virus world. Those that doing this are well on their way to become the new industry leaders. Being able to move forward despite the challenges is a sign of resilience, problem-solving, and creativity, which are the hallmarks of being a successful entrepreneur.
Whilst some of us are feeding on the doom-and-gloom surprisingly, there are many operators that are getting on with the business of creating a post-COVID transformation.
The world has changed fundamentally and I believe 2020 will be remembered as “BC” (“Before Corona Virus”) and “PC” (“Post-Corona Virus”) periods. Like the events of 9/11, this pandemic has given us a new “lens” to view the world through. I can see us in the future asking each other: “what were you doing BC” or “what have you been doing PC?”
On a personal level, this pandemic has made us re-evaluate the greater meaning of our lives, and success will no longer be defined under the same terms as BC.
The lockdown has become a great opportunity for fresh thinking and a “re-evaluation” of our core values and definition of “success”. It has also redirected our priorities towards more meaningful interactions with our loved ones or following our passions and dreams.
As a business coach, many of my clients and colleagues I have spoken to, are quietly forging ahead and innovating their businesses to overcome the challenges they are facing. Many have done this by leveraging the opportunities created with the rapidly accelerating digital transformation that is currently occurring globally.
For businesses that have been able to innovate, they are now preparing to “pounce” in the PC world. The case in point are the local restaurants that were doing takeaways and deliveries under the lockdown. Now, with the latest easing of restrictions in Victoria, (where two different groups of people are now able to meet, for example at parks), some of these restaurants have been quickly pivot to deliver gourmet food picnic hampers. As the good weather arrives in Melbourne, and people flock outside, this could bring a little ray of sunshine for these struggling businesses.
For some, this pandemic has caused a lot of hardship, whilst for others, it has given us a taste, (albeit a short one), of a “utopian” model, (in Australia at least), of what life could be like if we all slowed down and if we were all paid a universal basic income (with the generous government handouts). It has provided many of us with an opportunity to not only spend more time with our families but also given us the time and opportunity to develop personally by acquiring new skills or following passions, which we previously never had the time for.
However, for those of us who have been lucky enough to experience this “utopian bubble”, it will soon burst leaving us to face up to the new economic reality of looming hardships. Let’s hope it’s a soft-landing for us all.
Whilst we have the opportunity under lockdown, we should take this time to transform our lives not only for the PC world but make it “future COVID-proof”, should there be another pandemic in the future. Just whittling away our time on the couch, watching Netflix, binging on food and alcohol, and waiting for all this to end to return to “life-as-usual” is a wasted opportunity because there never will be such a scenario ever again. The world has changed forever!
We will discover that some things that were important in the BC world will simply no longer be relevant in the PC world, and if you haven’t re-invented yourself, then you will have missed a unique opportunity to develop resilience.
Lockdown has also given us an opportunity to learn to just “be”, and explore our own headspace and learn to love our own company and to learn to “let go” and go with the “flow”, because as we have seen with anti-lockdown protests in Melbourne recently, resistance is futile. All it does is heighten our anxieties, or worse, exacerbate personal disorders or induce mental illnesses such as depression, paranoia, and psychosis.
So, then what is the PC world going to look like? Well, your guess is as good as mine, however, there are “macro” shifts occurring, but on a personal level, this pandemic has given us an opportunity to reflect on the new reality we really want for ourselves and our loved ones, hopefully, one that is filled with love, purpose, and passion and then build it.
On the “macro” level, some of these shifts include the transition from globalisation to localisation, creating many opportunities for manufacturing and supply chains. (The government has already made some funding announcements on this). There will be a shift towards more self-reliance, things like growing our own vegetables and home cooking, as well as a move towards repairing things and making do with what we have. There will also be a more frugal approach to consumerism, with a more “need”-based approach to purchasing instead of continually following the latest fads, as we’ve come to realise there are a lot of material things we can do without. Experiences will be more localised, (in the short-term), as we rebuild our trust in international travel again.
Our domestic realities will be more sheltered and isolated, as we keep building our sanctuaries, castles, and fortresses. As recently experienced, there will be a boom in homewares, whitegoods, entertainment systems, and also the Internet of Things (IoT), with the hope of making our lives easier and safer. However, this may be short-lived as the “bubble” bursts.
Under this lockdown, some of us have adjusted well, whilst others have engaged in a Dystopian view, but we have to remember that: “it is not what happens to us in life, but how we react to it that makes the difference”. As we’ve experienced, “stuff” happens, but our mental frames, combined with our intrinsic resilience will determine if we can get through this pandemic mentally unscathed or not.
For businesses, now is the time to innovate, and those that haven’t will most likely find themselves irrelevant in the PC world. Surprisingly, there are some that are thriving and there are some even admitting it’s been a fantastic year of opportunity and character development for them, given the catastrophe.
The pandemic has given us an opportunity to think about the reality we really want, and the need to work towards creating a society we really want for ourselves, one based on the things that REALLY matter, beyond the mediocrity that has subdued us. Now is the time to break those bonds, rip those chains that have been holding us back and prepare to pounce for the coming New World.
So, what sort of life do you really want for yourself in the PC? Will it be back to normal for you? Where does your happiness lie and has it changed over the last six months? I would love to hear your feedback on this.
Tobi Nagy- Educator and Founder of the BCF Coaching Academy.
Today I’d like to teach you about the three most important start up marketing tools you need to get and keep new customers.
- In person: It’s essential you meet with customers/clients in person whenever possible. This shows you respect them and take the time to work with your clients to give personal attention to each of them.
- Follow up letter: Always take a moment to send a follow up letter about what you talked about, new agreements or partnerships made and to thank them for taking the time to meet with you. Likewise, you should always send thank you letters or small gifts to partners you find success with.
- Phone call: Use a telephone call to follow up with them to talk again about the matters you talked about in your meeting and offer any assistance you can to help their business run smoothly and more successfully.
None of these will work if you don’t have a quality product/service to back you up!
Here are the key steps for putting together your start-up marketing tools:
- Research potential customers, buyers, competitors and their preferred methods of distribution.
- Talk to potential customers. Take a hard look at your product from a customer’s perspective and see what it needs to be successful.
- Follow up with your 3-step process from above.
- Develop systems for contact follow through, quality control standards and customer service.
- Develop post-sale follow up system to keep lines of communication open is customers and build on your current relationship which increases future purchases.
“Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs” Peter Drucker, management consultant
Here’s another one I love from an icon:
“If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.” Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motor Company
This lesson has offered you the tools to put together a start-up marketing plan that can be used over and over again to help your customer base and business grow in a manageable way. The tools offered in our FREE test drive offer these very same things.
Today you’re going to learn how to find a target market of potential customers so you aren’t wasting precious resources on blitz marketing. So, the two questions you have to ask yourself are:
- What do people really want to buy from me?
- What related products are they already buying?
Once you figure this out you will know who is more predisposed to purchase your products/services. Then, you find other businesses with the same customer base who you can customer share with. Come up with an incentive and great arrangement to encourage both of your customer bases to shop at both of your stores.
The basic concept is this:
You want to find existing businesses who have the customer profile that you are looking for to market your products/services to.
Then strike up a relationship with those business owners to work out an incentive for customers to purchase from both businesses.
As a result, you have an audience to market to and they generate an added value from their current base.
So, how do you figure this out? There is a great formula from Jay Abraham you can follow with great success.
LV = (P x F) x N – MC
Here’s what it all means:
- LV is the life time value of a customer
- P is the average profit margin from each sale
- F is the number of times a customer buys each year
- N is the number of years customers stay with you
- MC is the marketing cost per customer (total costs/number of customers)
Once you know how much you need to spend to attract a new customer, you will know how much of an incentive you can offer to a business to help attract new customers.
So, here’s your step-by-step process:
- Find companies who already have the customer base you are looking for.
- Negotiate an incentive for them to share that customer base with you.
- Focus your marketing resources to this group of predisposed customers.
If you need help working through this process, check out our FREE test drive for the most comprehensive system of marketing tools and resources.