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Top 3 mistakes when starting a business – Part 2

by Alison Bradford

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This is part 2 in my series of blog posts on the top 3  mistakes when starting a business.

If you missed part 1, you can catch up here

Creating a JOB not a business

I completely understand how this happens.

You decided to start your business.

You picked something you enjoy doing and are good at.

Only now you find yourself working really hard but still not bringing in enough money to make it all worthwhile.

You seem to spend hours on admin and at your computer catching up in the evenings. But you’re not getting enough new customers and making enough sales.

You’ve fallen into the trap of creating a job, not a business. Unfortunately without a sustainable business you won’t be able to afford to stay in your new ‘job’.

You’ve focused on what you do rather than setting up a business.

It’s not enough to be good at what you do if you’re missing the key elements of running a business.

You need to recognise that as a business owner you will need to learn new skills, wear several different hats and be willing to outsource the things you can’t do.

Are any of these departments missing from your business?

Marketing

All businesses need a Marketing department and yours is no exception – except this time it’s you.

You need to have a Marketing plan and make time to actually implement this plan, keeping an eye on your pipeline and how you are bringing new customers to your business and keeping old ones buying from you.

Marketing is one of the skills you need to learn fast when setting up a business.

You may get by initially from existing contacts and people you know but at some point this will dry up.

Where are your next customers coming from?

Sales

Following straight on from Marketing is sales – once you’ve got  a pipeline of potential customers from your Marketing, how do you feel about closing that sale?

Unless your from a sales background, it’s quite normal to feel a bit icky about selling.

But you have to get over it to convert those potential customers into parting with their cash.

The good news is that you can learn to feel a lot more confident with selling and finding a style that fits with you to do this. Practice also helps!

What can you do to convert more people into buying from you? Who can you call? Who can you email? Are you putting clear calls to action on your Marketing material and making it easy for people to buy?

Finance

How well do you understand your top level numbers? What are your costs, income and customer numbers this month?

These are the key levers that you need to stay close to and tweak as needed to move your business towards profit.

This doesn’t need to be really detailed – just a high level summary that you keep updated so that you know at a glance how your business is performing.

So, are any of these departments missing from your business?

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Alison Bradford

Alison Bradford is a business coach who works with smart, ambitious business owners to get clarity about how they can grow their business and increase profit. Sign up here to learn 6 easy ways you can boost profit in your business today.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Carl Croft July 13, 2013 at 7:34 am

Very true – Michael Gerber (EMyth) suggests mapping out the departments of your business on individual cards. You may hold them all initially, but at least you can plan to delegate them, or certain tasks as your business develops.

And for those who are not comfortable with selling, I’d really recommend Daniel H Pink’s book – To Sell is Human. Fascinating take on most people actually being excellent sales people!

Reply

Alison Bradford July 15, 2013 at 12:07 pm

Thanks Carl – and I agree that these are both great books that you recommend. Michael Gerber’s E-Myth should be a must read for business owners.

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Cath Hall December 2, 2012 at 12:35 am

Alison, you are always right! good job we had our meeting as I was going down that road. Marketing is not within my comfort zone but thanks to you I am working at it

Reply

Alison Bradford December 3, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Hi Cath, I’m always trying to tell my husband that 😉 Pleased that you enjoyed this article and I hope that you enjoy and get some value from some of the other articles on here too.

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Melissa Plimmer September 3, 2012 at 9:05 pm

Fantastic again, wish I read these before I started!!

Reply

Alison Bradford September 4, 2012 at 10:41 am

Thanks Melissa. Hopefully I’ll catch some people early on in their business journey when they read this!

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