How many businesses have you failed? None? One? Many?
I have failed 5 small businesses in the last 10 years (this blog is not included.. ) so I know a thing or two about how to efficiently kill a business 🙂
I’ve compiled 9 of the best advises that will hopefully save you years and maybe tens of thousands of dollars (or euros if you which). All will be based on public statistics, quotes from successful entrepreneurs as well as a healthy dose of personal experience. If you read until the end, you will also get the infographic version of this post
1- Organize everything
As a business owner, you probably have tons of things to do to grow your business and keep it running smoothly. However, we all have only 24 hours every day so you need to prioritize effectively.
Take note of all your ideas
I tend to have new ideas for things to do in my business popping up into my head so to reduce stress. Taking note of all the ideas you have and things to do is a good place start and YES it’s a good sign that you have a very long master list of things to do. It’s a sign that you are committed to your business. keeping an ideas list will unload your brain and reduce your stress. On the other side you should ask yourself serious questions if your list is too short…
Now that you have your master list, try to extract sub-lists out of it. For instance, if you see that you took many notes in the marketing or customer service category then you can create a new list called (marketing or customer service) to group all the ideas and things to do in that category. I use the FREE app from Evernote.com beacuse makes note taking very easy. It helps you organize all your thoughts, ideas and your entire life if you want. Best of all, your notes are synced to all your devices.
Start with the top 3
Now that you have your lists start with the 3 most important items in every list. It’s ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL to prioritize. You just have to admit that you will not have enough time to do it all. Your best ally here is the Pareto principle: 80% of the results come with 20% of the efforts. Identify the top 20% of the tasks that will give you 80% of the results.
2- Keep an eye on your finances
Many businesses fail because they ran out of cash. I also failed some of my businesses because I managed my cashflow like a bankrupt billionaire…
Our friends at CBinsights analyzed 101 startup post-mortems and the second reason why startups fail is that they ran out of cash 💰
So keep detail records of your finances so you can get an idea of your businesses’ financial health easily. This will help you identify the challenges ahead and plan accordingly. always keep in mind that successful businesses always have detailed records.
3- How are your competitors doing ?
Competition can help you get better at what you are doing. Keep a list of the top 5 competitors that you should care about. Have a look at what they are doing. It might give you some insights if they are doing something right.
On the other hand if they are doing something wrong then it’s a huge opportunity for you. Why? because you will “Learn From Other People’s Mistakes” as Jack Ma the founder of Ali Baba said in one of his best advises. In other words, it’s more useful to learn how to avoid repeating the mistakes that others have made than learning from their successful moves.
That’s a sexy nugget of wisdom!
4-Minimize your risks and maximize your rewards
With every decision that you make you will have the chance to learn a useful insight about your industry and your customers. So the key is to reduce the risk related to any decision you make by executing it on a small-scale first. There is very little chance that a bad decision breaks a business if it is executed on a small scale.
Example: How to find the most effective promotion?
For example, you have two different ideas for the next promotion but you don’t know which one to choose? Great, then start by sending both offers to 1% of your customers (or 50 people at least. Whichever is higher) to see the results. Once you have some results, you can send the winning promotion to the rest of your audience.
5- Be open and creative
Accept the fact that despite your experience, you probably don’t know everything. Give yourself the chance to discover new ideas and learn new approaches to doing business. Keep a growth mindset by asking yourself every day one of these two powerful questions:
What can I do differently today?
How can I improve my business by just 1% today ?
These questions will help you find new ideas that will make your business stand out from the competition.
6- Stay Totally Focused
“Rome was not built in a day” applies very well to businesses as well as to many things in life. Many business owners think that by opening a business they will start making money right away. It takes a lot of time to let people to know you and to make them trust you. To sum up, stay focused on achieving your long-term goals no matter what the temptations and distractions are.
How to do it ?
I ditched my TV set 📺 … yeah, I’m serious!
and I use a few brilliant apps that help me focus by blocking time-wasting apps and reduce smartphone addiction
– Stay focused for firefox and Stay focused for chrome
– Forest App for iOS and Android
7- Sacrifice things that will slow you down
When running a business, you have to work really hard in the beginning. More than what you’d do if you were working for someone else. Every decision that you make during your day can be put in one of two categories:
1- either it will help you grow your business successfully
2- it will slow you down
This includes spending time with your friends, shopping, watching TV, social media, etc. Most of the things that we do during the day will not help us reach our goals.
8- Provide an Outstanding Service
In the end, the one who pays the bills is the customer and many businesses forget this elementary fact. Always remember that you depend on your customers and that’s why you should provide an outstanding service. Did you know that after one negative experience with a company, 51% of customers will never do business with it again?
Here is another good reason to ensure an awesome customer service: 7 out of 10 U.S. consumers say they’ve spent more money to do business with a company that delivers great service.
Some people might say, ok I lost a customer. I will get a new one ! Alas … It is anywhere from 5 to 25 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current one according to Harvard Business Review.
9- Be Consistent
The Secret to creating a successful and sustainable business is Consistency. The late Steve Jobs said in an interview that “about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance“. Here is Another great quote from Thomas Jefferson
“The harder I work, the luckier I get”
Why? for the simple fact that the more we do something the more we get better at it. This gives us more insight and experience over time.
Stay in touch with your customers
Another reason why consistency pays off is that over time you will build a business relationship with your customers and they will trust you.
Would you marry a person from a first date?
probably no… the same applies to business relationships. A customer may see your products, offers and promotions but he won’t buy until he feels that you deserve his money (and trust).
Keep your customers contact details (email, phone number, Messaging apps, etc.) so you can communicate with him and build a lasting business relationship. If you have to remember just ONE THING in this post it would be this.
If you don’t have your clients’ contact details then you don’t own a business.
You work for someone else …
I know many business owners who suddenly went bankrupt simply because they were dependent on a platform that they didn’t control to bring them customers (think Amazon, Google or Etsy). These platforms frequently change their algorithms which adds fluctuations to your visibility and sales. Even worse, you might get restricted because the platform is making a strategy change.
How to acquire your independence ?
Get your customers email addresses and connect with them on Messenger(also known among marketer as: THE next BIG communication channel). There are more than 2.2 Billion people on Facebook and your customers are already there (all Facebook users have by default a Messenger account).
What’s the difference between Messenger and a FB page?
With the recent news feed algorithm changes, FB pages now get MASSIVELY lower reach and engagements at about 4 to 5x less than 2015. Messenger, on the other hand, allows you to get in touch personally with the user. Your message will stand out because it will appear in the inbox and not with the notifications.
For those who were dependent on Facebook, this was maybe a big hit to their business. So the lesson again is to be independent of any platform.
With the Messenger App, you will connect with your users even if they are not actively using FB. Our friends at ModernApp.co analysed more than 100 000 Facebook messages and they found that Messenger gets on average 9-12x more results than email communications.
Best of all, it allows you to get automatically, all the public information that the users have shared: Email, First name, Last name, location, language, gender, etc.
Now, I’m sharing with you a full video training course that will show you how you can leverage Facebook Messenger to get more results and grow your business faster ( a 197$ value).
Get this 197$ course for FREE here!
(FB Messenger link)