It took six failed startups before I found and perfected the blueprint that has helped me launch and scale multiple six and seven-figure businesses. Let me burst a widespread myth for you: building a thriving business isn’t just about stumbling upon a great idea and unleashing it into the world. A great business is built upon solid leadership, good management and the ability to learn from your mistakes. The secret is to create a sizeable customer base and hold onto it through thick and thin. Easier said than done?
Let me strip it down to the bare bones for you:
Create A High-Entry Barrier
If you’re fighting for a share in a low entry barrier, high-competition market, you’re already losing the race. What’s a low-entry barrier market? It’s an industry anyone can enter with little cost to bear. This means you’re facing an increasing hoard of competitors and fighting tooth and nail for a shrinking piece of the pie.
Creating a high-entry barrier means going after untapped market potential and creating a different, unique sub-niche of your own. That’s what Alberto Perez, Perlman and Aghion did by creating Zumba. And, that’s what Joe de Sena, the founder of the ultra-successful Spartan Race has done by creating a series of gruelling series of race events that have become a hit with the masses.
Define Your Target Market
Your business concept and your audience flow hand-in-hand. The key to building a successful business is knowing your audience and anticipating their needs. Create a detailed buyer persona. These are your ideal customers. The ones you want to sell to. Find out everything you can about them. Their age bracket, location, yearly income, buying preferences, patterns. You need to understand the unique customer journey they take. Their emotional triggers, psychological needs, wants and fears. Engage with your audience. Ask them questions and look for gaps you can cement. Once you establish a positive feedback loop, you’ll know what approach to take.
Decide Your Traction Channels
Finding your audience is only half the battle. The next half is getting them to notice and buy your product. This means deciding what traction channels to use. If you’ve done your research, you’d know where you target customer base spends most of its time. Whether they flock to Facebook, read blogs, respond to television commercials or emails, you need to build a strategy around channels that will maximize your conversion rates and drive your desired audience to your own product or service.
The initial stage is all about awareness and education. The point is to get a small share of audience to notice and buy your product. Once you’ve got your initial audience, you can scale your campaign and build on it.
Build A Win-Win Community
Building a win-win community is about leaving your ego at the door and giving every employee an equal footing in the company. Instead of filling job descriptions and pigeonholing your team, challenge them and watch them thrive. People enjoy a good challenge. It gives them purpose and helps them belong. Your job is to hire people bursting with potential, give them a north star, and let them chart their own course. As a leader, you can guide them, but encouraging independence promotes a healthy, competitive culture that in return helps the business provide more value to its customers.
Keep Revising Your Sales Funnel
You’ve done it all. You understand your audience, you’ve created a great product and you’re advertising on all the right channels. But, something’s amiss. Your CTR rate is through the roof but the conversion figures are abysmal. Now’s the time to go back to the drawing board. Here’s the thing about running a business. You’ll be going back to square one more times than you can count. You’ll face more setbacks than you can imagine. The good news? It’s part of the process. You’ve got to keep going until you can figure out a solution. Diagnose the problem and keep tweaking your funnel until you’ve created the blueprint that works for you.
Learn From Others
This one’s a no brainer. Find mentors. People who have the acumen and experience to guide you. People who’ve been through this journey, pack a world of knowledge inside their brains and know the solutions to your problems. The right mentor will not just shape your business, he/she will help you become a better person and leader. Learn to network. Seek people in your field, outside your field, people who can give you a different perspective and people who are mavericks. Learn from your competitors and predecessors. And, especially, learn from those who are doing it better than you.