How to Build Your Business from Nothing to Something Great

Building a business takes passion, guts, and zeal.  You can’t just sit back and wait for something good to happen you must go out there and make it happen.  By the way, it does not matter how much money you have in the bank.  This might sound counterintuitive, but having too much can be a hindrance.

The reason is simple, having too much money causes you to take it for granted and this can lead to disaster.  Instead, you want to be frugal.  Agonizing over every dollar you spend to make sure it is the right decision.  With that in mind, here is a quick rundown of the tips you need to keep in mind when growing your business from nothing to something great.

Start with the Customer

Most businesses get into trouble because they have lost sight of what their customers want and how the business fulfills that need better than anyone else.  This might sound simple, but you would be surprised how many business owners cannot answer this question.  What problem do you solve for your customers?  Doing so forces you to step back and think about your business from the perspective of your customers.

 

It also helps you to see where the potential blind spots lie.  Maybe it is the threat of a new competitor or it could be a flaw in your own product or service.  Either way, you want to start with your customers if you want to grow to be something great.

Have a Goal, and Know How to Get There

For many small businesses, the goal is to just keep the lights on.  Granted survival is important but we should aspire to something more.  If not, then you run the risk of adopting a ‘foxhole’ mentality and this could be detrimental in the long run.

Instead, set a 1,000-day goal for your business.  Don’t choose something too easy, but at the same time, you will want to break down the steps required to reach this goal.  These will become your signposts along the way giving you an idea of you are off course in some way.

Now, this is not meant to be a six-month strategy setting exercise – you’re a small business, not General Electric.  Just identify two or three long-term goals and then break down the actionable steps you need to take to reach those goals on a yearly, quarterly, and monthly basis.  By putting this on paper, you will have a roadmap to lead you along the way.

Get Social

This not only means with your online presence but also in how you build your business offline as well.  Let’s face it building a business is as much about maintaining relationships with current customers as it is about finding new customers.

Online, you want to make sure that everything you do can be plugged into larger social networks.  It doesn’t matter if you make wedding cakes or build treehouses, allow your customers and their friends the chance to see, and comment, on what you are doing.

Offline, you want to focus on building business by referral.  This means teaming up with other business owners, getting involved in your local community and in organizations such as BNI, as well as reaching out to key influencers.  Referrals is a cost-effective way to reach a larger audience – just remember, you need to give to get.

No Better Time Than Now

Don’t wait to get the perfect product or service.  Granted you want your business to do good work, but sometimes you need to start with good enough and then work on making it better as you go.

Doing so will help you to get started without burning money along the way.  In addition, it can help you to make money as you go.  Also, you can use each iteration to get feedback from your customers in real time.

Going back to my first point this will force you to understand what your customers are looking for.  You might be surprised as customer feedback might take you in a completely different direction.  So, remember there is no better time than now.  Get your product ready and get it to market as you can always make it better along the way.

There you have it; these simple tips will help you to build your business from nothing to something without burning thousands of dollars on unnecessary costs.

10 comments

  1. Love this! I’ve built a successful flipping business, but I struggled with fear and disbelief for a while before I got going. It’s a matter of believing in yourself and working as hard as it takes to get to where you want to be. The time is now; the reward is the FIRE. 🙂

  2. I definitely need to set some new goals with my business. At times I treat it as a hobby but I definitely need to buckle down if I want to get serious. Thanks for the great reminder and I’m going to put together some goals this weekend 🙂

  3. I was listening to a really good speech by Steve Blank (professor at stanford teaching entrepreneurship). I totally agree with his point.
    He’s saying that yes, the whole “give your customer thing” is correct, but only with regards to more traditional industries.
    If you’re in a highly innovative industry, customer research isn’t that useful because the customer doesn’t now what he wants! In the words of Henry Ford, “if I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said ‘a faster horse'”.

    • Laurie says:

      Love that, Troy!!! So much truth to that. Many times innovators’ visions are far above what a customer has even thought of.

      • And with the internet economy entering into a more mature stage, the simpler and easier business opportunities have mostly been taken. I think the future will depend on one building a highly innovating company, which means that he’ll need to imagine products that others can’t.

        • Laurie says:

          Could be. It’ll be interesting to see what the future holds regarding small businesses. Biz ownership is definitely on the rise.

  4. I love the ‘good enough product’ theory! It’s easy to get distracted by creating the perfect product, and not realize nothing’s ever going to be perfect if you don’t launch it and see what others think about it too!

    I’ve never actually tried to build a business from scratch before, but seeing so many positive influences around me made me feel confident to give it a try. I know it’s difficult, but I also know it’s worth it!

    • Laurie says:

      Adriana, you should try it!! It may take a few tries to find the right thing and do it well, but I’m confident that you can. After several tried and failed businesses, I’ve finally built a successful blogging/freelance writing business, and it is wonderful!

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